So you need extra light in a room, but you don't have a flat surface to put another lamp on? Never fear! Floor lamps are a great solution in this situation.
A floor lamp is a tall, self-supporting lamp that has a base sitting on the floor while the pole holds one or many light fixtures at or near the top. You may remember seeing one in a friend's or relative's living room, office, or bedroom at some point. These lamps can add a lot more than light to your space, too. Depending on the design of the lamp and the materials it's made out of you can really influence the overall look of the room. The placement of the lamp can also change up the feel of any space it's in.
If you're looking for tips and tricks for making the most out of your floor lamp, you're in luck! I've got all the details on how to choose and use a floor lamp to really brighten your space.
Choosing the Type of Floor Lamp
The first thing you need to consider once you've decided to add a floor lamp to your decor is what type you want. There are many different looks that can have different impacts, so you want to be sure you've got it right. Here are seven different types of lamps for you to decide from.
1. Traditional or Club Lamp
A club lamp is simple yet classic. A tall pole in the middle holds a single bulb that's covered by a bell shade. This type of lamp is great for area lighting. The design of the club lamp's shade directs light down and out, making a good circle of bright light in one spot.
This type of floor lamp is pretty versatile. Different materials and shades can make a club lamp fit nearly any design style. If you want something that can produce a lot of light yet still be subtle in style, this may be the lamp for you.
To find the Regency Hill floor lamp pictured above on Amazon, click here.
2. Torchiere Lamp
A torchiere lamp is very similar to a club lamp. It has a solid base and a tall pole that holds a single light source. However, where the club lamp has a shade that directs light down, the torchiere directs light up. This lamp is subtle and fades into the background easily while providing a good general light source. The upturned shade makes light hit the ceiling where it's reflected back out into the room.
Because the top of the lamp is turned upward and is most often has a metal or glass shade, these lamps can easily tip. Make sure the base of the lamp you have chosen is heavy and solid to keep it from fall due to bumps and jostles. If it's not completely stable but you still decide to purchase it, consider placing it in a corner or another out of the way spot to protect it.
To find the lamp pictured above on Amazon, click here.
3. Tower Lamp
A tower lamp is a great choice for some ambiance lighting. These sculpture-like lamps create soft, subtle light that can be difficult to see if you were wanting to do something like reading, for example. They are good for allowing you to see the toy your toddler left on the floor, though.
As an added bonus, when you aren't using the lamp, a tower lamp can be a beautiful artistic addition to your room's decor. Tower lamps come in many different styles, from Asian paper lanterns to sleek contemporary look.
To find the lamp shown above on Amazon, click here.
4. Downbridge or Task Lamp
A downbridge, or task, lamp keeps with the base-and-pole design, but instead of the light source being at the top of the pole it's instead on an arm that stretches out from the pole. This allows the lamp to direct light into one specific area, like a desk or over a reading chair.
It's similar in function to a table lamp but doesn't take up valuable surface space. The slim design also helps to keep it from being bulky and taking up too much floor space. Instead, it's easily tucked into a corner or behind a chair.
To find this task lamp on Amazon, click here.
5. Candelabra Lamp
If you're looking for something a little (or a lot) more elegant than the floor lamps already discussed, consider a candelabra. These lamps borrow crystal pendants or shades made from organza or another light-reflecting material from chandeliers.
These lamps can be glittering creations, like the lamp above, or they can be simple industrial style lamps that have one single exposed bulb. A defining feature of any candelabra lamp though is the bulb. They use bulbs that mimic a candle's flame, and when purchasing a candelabra lamp it's important to consider the price and availability of bulb replacements as well.
To find this candelabra floor lamp on Amazon, click here.
6. Arching Floor Lamps
An arching floor lamp is similar to a downbridge lamp in that they both create a focused light. Where the downbridge has an arm that contains the light source extending from the main pole, however, an arching lamp's center pole stretches up and bends over to hang above a seat or desk. So if you're looking for something for a reading nook, seriously consider this lamp type.
To find the arching floor lamp pictured above on Amazon, click here.
7. Tree Lamp
A tree lamp is a floor lamp that has multiple light sources extending from a single pole. Like the lamp above they can all be attached directly to the center pole. However, tree lamps can also borrow from arching and downbridge lamps and have arms branching from the center pole. The light shades can vary between torchiere and club lighting depending on what kind of lighting you want in your room.
These lamps are a great way to manipulate the light in a room easily. Many tree lamps will allow you to bend and twist the lights to direct them exactly where you want them to go. This allows for focused lighting, general lighting, or area lighting as you need it.
To find the tree lamp above on Amazon, click here.
Floor Lamp Design Style
Okay, now that you know what type of floor lamp will work best in your room we're getting to the fun part: design style. Just to recap, a design style is a collection of colors, textures, and materials as well as elements of furniture such as shapes and line structure. In other words, it's what makes the look you love.
Choosing a design style (or styles) also gives you a general set of rules to stick to when decorating. Rather than a chaotic hodge-podge of various items, you'll have a smooth and cohesive design that feels inviting and relaxing.
There's a ton of styles out there to pick from. So many, in fact, that if I tried to go into them all we'd be here way past both of our bedtimes. Instead, I'm going to stick to describing the six of the top design styles of the moment for you to be inspired by.
Before I get started, though, let me point out that you aren't locked into only one style. Mixing and matching different looks gives a room great visual interest and character. So don't be afraid to go for that industrial lamp when your room has a more contemporary look.
1. Modern Style
Simple design, clean strong lines, and artistic looks are definitely winners when using modern style. Modern floor lamps are going to lean heavily towards being more focused on function over the look of the lamp, like the one above. Reflective materials such as metal or glass are also a favorite feature for this style.
To find this modern floor lamp on Amazon, click here.
2. Rustic or Country Style
Rustic style is all about natural elements, fibers, and colors. Wood or faux wood bases and poles are great looks for a rustic floor lamp as well as warm brown, black, or bronze. Simple looks are also great for the rustic style, and if you can find something that has a vintage vibe to it like the lamp above, you've definitely found a great lamp for this design.
To find the rustic lamp pictured above, click here.
3. Minimalist Style
Less is more is a big part of the minimalist design style. You want pieces that are high quality and functional while keeping to neutral colors and sleek structure. Clean, open spaces are key to this design style, so choose a floor lamp that's slim and doesn't overwhelm the space it's in.
To find the minimalist lamp above on Amazon, click here.
4. Shabby Chic
Shabby chic is a great design style that prizes worn pieces and vintage treasures for a comfortable, well-loved look. Soft colors, new pieces mixed with older, and feminine accents are all staples for this style.
When looking for a shabby chic lamp, choose something that has an antiqued finish, like the base of the lamp above. This hits both the worn and vintage looks you want. Tassels, lace, ruffles, florals, bows, and feathers are great finishing touches on shades that stick to soft pastel color schemes.
To find the lamp above on Amazon, click here.
5. Boho Design Style
Boho design is as unconventional as the individuals that started it. Travelers, actors, and writers created boho design with warm jewel tones and metallics that stood out against earthy base colors. Objects and patterns from around the world are staples in boho styled rooms.
Floor lamps that incorporate these elements can be big statement pieces. A lamp like the one above that uses Morrocan globes in a tree lamp variety is a great choice for boho looks.
To find the boho floor lamp above on Amazon, click here.
6. Industrial Design Style
Industrial designs borrow elements from old factories and warehouses. Wide shades, cage lights, pulleys, and pipes are all favorites in this style. Using different types of wood and metal throughout your room or home is a great way to incorporate industrial style, as is exposed brick and concrete.
This lamp is made from blackened bronze, a favorite industrial look, and features both a pulley system to create the downbridge lamp type. It also uses a wide metal shade that's an echo from the old warehouses.
To find this lamp on Amazon, click here.
How Tall Should Your Floor Lamp Be?
Now that you know exactly what type and style of lamp you want, let's talk about the nitty-gritty details. Choosing a lamp that's tall enough is a pretty important feature, right? Putting a two-foot lamp on the floor and calling it a floor lamp won't exactly cut it. But how tall should it be? Five feet? Six feet? Ten?
Honestly, the height of a floor lamp is dependent on what it's next to. While a good general range for a floor lamp is 58-64 inches high, check it against the couch or chair that you have it near. The light on your lamp should be at or right above eye level when you sit in the seat of the couch or chair. This ensures plenty of light for the person sitting so they can see to read, write, or anything else they choose.
Where to Place Floor Lamps
Deciding where to put a floor lamp can be a bit of a headache. Placing it beside a couch or chair seems like an obvious choice, but are you locked into that? The short answer is no. It's your house, your room, your lamp. You can put it where you want it. There are a few things to consider as you choose your spot, though.
Where to Place Floor Lamps in the Living Room?
The living room is where most floor lamps are typically found, so let's discuss that first. The main thing is to make sure the lamp and its cord are sufficiently out of the way of any foot traffic. It may look good, but if you trip over it every time you walk in the room you'll grow to hate it quickly. Especially if you or someone else ends up getting hurt because of it.
Next, consider where you want the light to go. Do you want it just on the reading chair? Or maybe you want it as a general light to leave on at night for anyone making a trip to the fridge. You could even have a tree lamp in a central location then direct the different lights to each spot you want to be brightened. A few tricks to direct light are:
- Towards the center of the room by placing floor lamps in one or more corners of the room.
- Position lamps on either side of a couch or fireplace to create a focus for the room.
- Use a floor lamp beside or directly under an art piece to draw attention to it.
- Put a floor lamp beside a reading chair with the bottom of the shade at eye level to reduce eye strain.
- A floor lamp between two chairs can create a warm and inviting area for a conversation.
Task lighting is fairly obvious as far as placement: you place the lamp beside the work area. Accent lighting, however, can be placed anywhere in the room depending on what you think looks best. Don't worry too much about where you place your floor lamp, though. The best thing about these lamps is that they're easily moved and repositioned in a room.
Can You Place a Floor Lamp Next to the TV?
Don't be afraid to use a lamp around your tv. Placing a lamp beside or behind your tv may actually help to soften the contrast caused by the bright light from the screen and keep you from straining your eyes.
Do be mindful, however, that if you're watching a movie or show with darker lighting in the scenes a bright light may make it difficult to see. To help combat this, choose a torchiere lamp or one with a similar shade that directs light away from the screen. You could also use a tree lamp that allows you to adjust the light direction.
Can You Place a Floor Lamp by a Window?
Placing a lamp near a window can be a great choice. If you normally get a lot of light through the window during the day, placing a lamp beside the window keeps the lighting in the room the same during the night.
In a room that doesn't have a lot of natural light, having a lamp at or near a window can give the illusion that you do. Having a lamp close to the window can also draw the eye to it when it's lit. So if you've got a great view outside but because of a porch ceiling, it stays dark in that section of the room, put a floor lamp beside the window. It will light that portion of the room and draw attention to the landscape outside.
Should Floor Lamps Match?
Matching your floor lamps is an easy way to create cohesion and unity throughout a room. But it's not necessary to do so. Let's look at a couple of places you absolutely should match them, and an example of when you don't have to.
You do need to match your floor lamps when:
- Bracketing Furniture: If you're using a pair of lamps on either side of a couch or fireplace, you definitely want to make sure they match. Mixing two different lamps will look unbalanced and it won't create that solid focus that you want when using lamps this way.
- In a Small Room: Using matching lamps in a smaller space can reduce the cluttered look you may accidentally create if you have two different lamps. Matching lamps create a unified look, which is important when decorating in a smaller area.
You don't have to match your floor lamps when:
- Decorating Open Floor Plans: When decorating in an open floor plan, you can use matching floor lamps, but it's not as recommended as when you are working in a smaller or more closed off space. You do need to keep the overall look the same, however. Don't mix a rustic lamp with a lamp that's boho style, for example. You want to keep your decor in the same design style throughout rather than switching up from area to area to create a unified and cohesive look that's inviting and relaxing rather one that's chaotic and sporadic.
Picking the Perfect Floor Lamp
Choosing a floor lamp likely won't make or break your design, but it can be a sore point if you choose something completely wrong for the function or design style that you have in the room. Make sure you consider what you want to use the lamp for and what the overall look of the room is before purchasing. Also, be mindful of what you want the lamp to highlight in the room when you place it. A few considerations later and you'll have a great lamp that's both stylish and functional.
You might also want to check other lamp designs here:
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24 Minimalist Floor Lamps You Should Check Out
Thank you for an informative and thorough article. Very much appreciated!