Table and Floor Lamp Guide

Why use a floor Lamp?

Why use a table lamp?

Lamp shades & Styles

Lamp shades and light direction

Sizes of Floor Lamps

Table and floor Lamps by room

Switches on lamps

Floor lamp types


Quick tips

Floor lamps not only act as a light source in a room but can create interest in empty spaces in addition to furniture. Due to their size, floor lamps are a great decorative lighting solution that can be used as both ambient and task lighting like reading lights in living rooms or armchair nooks. Empty, out of the way corners are ideal spots for floor lamps to introduce another layer of lighting.

Table lamps add ambience and practicality to rooms. Commonly used on side tables in the bedroom or on desks in a study or office, these lamps can add layers and illumination to small spaces.

Table and floor lamps often feature a lamp shade. These can be made from a multitude of materials ranging from fabric, metal and even rope. Lamp shades are found in a variety of shapes, depending on the functionality of the light. The typical lampshade has a cone shape that has a narrow upper opening and a wider lower opening. The upper opening directs light upwards towards a ceiling whilst the lower opening distributes a wider range of light.

Modern floor and table lamps feature glass shades and reflectors that amplify light and can also give an even spread of illumination. Task lighting lamps often feature a single directional lamp that can be adjusted to direct light to a specific area.

When it comes to table lamps, material, design and finish options are not just limited to shades, but covers the base as well. This results in unique and stylish combinations and a multitude of design choices that can be theme specific or eclectic.

Tip: lamp shades placed on tables should not overlap the table edges or be very much higher than the table itself. A shade that is no wider than the shortest side of the table is best. This allows for a well-proportioned look.

Below are the most commonly found table and floor lamp shades, and light distribution varies with each shape.

Drum Shade

Produces an average spread of illumination from both the top and the bottom of the cylindrical shade.

Empire and Coolie Shade

The light distributed from these shades is emitted mostly from the bottom with a little amount released from the top.

Bell Shade

Provides a narrow amount of balanced light from the top and a very wide distribution of light from the bottom.

The dimensions of the space should influence the size of your floor lamp. The right scale for a floor lamp looks well-proportioned and easily blends into a room.


These are reading floor lamps that sit close and next to low armchairs, sofas couches or seats.

They serve a practical purpose providing focused light for tasks. For added functionality, some floor lamps can be tilted or come with a flexible arm.

Generally, an average floor lamp has a shade that is at eye level when standing.

These are your commonly found floor lamps that can be used to supplement ambient lighting or bring extra flair and visual appeal to a room.

Tall floor lamps provide a decorative and practical lighting solution, directing light towards the ceiling and downwards to a specific area.

Some tall floor lamps almost reach two metres in height. These floor lamps can look out of proportion in low ceiling spaces. While the spread of light widens with height, they are best placed in larger rooms.


Bedrooms need several kinds of light. Light sources that are bright enough to illuminate the entire space are essential, but other sources of lighting are also needed. Table lamps make fantastic mood lighting, perfect for winding down before bed. They also provide practical light solutions as reading lights on bedside tables or as floor lamps in a reading corner of a bedroom. Table or floor lamps can also enhance and complement the interior style of your bedroom.

Tip: a bedside table lamp shade should not be higher than the eye line of someone sitting on a bed. As a guide, the bottom of the shade should be at chin level when sitting up in bed. This will help achieve optimal lighting with enough light for reading while reducing the brighter aspects of the lamp directly shining into your eyes.

Dining Room

Whilst pendants and chandeliers are often used to illuminate a dining room table, a table or floor lamp can highlight corners and decorative areas of the room. This makes the space more inviting and appealing with more warmth and an added layer of lighting. Table and floor lamps in dining rooms should not be used as the focal point but more as an aesthetic tool.

Living Room

The living room represents comfort and relaxation in the home. These rooms are often large and illuminating the entire space can be a difficult task. Table lamps can be placed on console tables and side tables to achieve a subtle lighting solution that is also practical. Floor lamps can provide a reading light in corners and beside comfy armchairs.

Tip: use the same rule for table lamps in your living room as your bedroom. Keep the shade at eye level of someone sitting on a couch or sofa.


Lamps can be utilised in hallways to add ambient light in the evening or provide illumination for an entry hallway or a room entry. Console tables are the perfect home for table lamps, especially in an entry hallway. You can also place a tall floor lamp in a hallway corner or as a welcome light near the front door.

Brightness depends on desired use. Colour temperature (Kelvin) and lumen counts allow you to choose the optimal lighting output for your room. To create a warm ambient feel, for instance with a bedside table lamp or living room lamp, choose a lower Kelvin rating (less than 2000K) and a lower Lumen count. For a bright illumination, choose higher numbers in both Kelvins and Lumens

The fact that table and floor lamps can easily be plugged in make them ideal DIY lighting solutions for your home.

For added convenience table and floor lamps have an on an off-toggle function.

These include inline cord switches, on the lampholder within the shade, push switches on the plug-in power cord and floor foot switches.


Often used on side tables, serving tables or console tables, these lamps are popular in classically styled homes. They are known for their thinner design with a narrow lamp stand and smaller shade.


These are used to create ambience and draw attention to something in your space. They can fill in empty spaces in the home and serve as a purposeful lighting addition. They come in varied shapes and sizes ranging from quirky designs to traditional functional table lamps.


Think of an inverted lampshade that directs light upwards. These lamps get their name from the olden day torch lamp which was simply a candle on a stand.

Smart Lamp

This new type of lamp lets you turn the light on and off and dim the brightness with the use of an WIFI enabled smartphone app.


A functional and decorative lamp that is made up of a single base with a curved and arched arm. These are tall lamps that can be used as reading lights in a reading nook or where other lighting types cannot reach.


The most common floor lamp type made up of a base, straight arm and shaded lampholder. This classic style often comes with a fabric shade and provides ambient illumination.


Like a traditional floor lamp but consisting of a bowl, U-shaped shade that casts like upwards and out.


Consists of three lamp legs and a shade. These are decorative and functional with the ability to fit into many décor styles from modern to coastal.


Traditional floor lamps cannot be manoeuvred to reach a desired place. Adjustable floor lamps can let you adjust the height and angle of the light to achieve a more flexible illumination, especially when used for task lighting.

• Tuck lamp cords behind console tables or under furniture to make your space look clutter free.

• What are you using the lamp for? Always consider functionality as this will often determine the type and/or style of lamp.

• Proportion should be considered; do not place a large table lamp on a small ornate side table.

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