Lighting - Choosing the Right Lamp

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Lamps are an important part of every room. Obviously, they serve a functional purpose but they also provide a jewel in your decor. So be sure to include them and place them around your room to disperse the light effectively. When designing your room, lamps provide a great opportunity to make a bold statement, add a pop of color or even some sparkle with a metallic or glass finish. There are a few things to consider when choosing a lamp. Consider these guidelines next time you are searching for the right lamp.

1. Eye Level – For a nightstand or end table, the bottom of the shade should be right at eye level when you’re sitting next to it. This height keeps the light from blaring directly into your eyes. It also allows the light to illuminate items below, especially reading materials. Sit on your bed or your sofa and measure where eye-level is for you. Then, measure the height of your table and plan accordingly. 

2. Lamp Height – Your lampshade should be about 2/3 the height of your lamp base. The lamp’s harp and bulb socket should not be visible. If you can see them, then you either need a taller lampshade or a smaller harp. 

3. Lamp Width – Measure the width of your table and find a lamp that is no more than half that. You don’t want a lamp that is too narrow or a lamp shade that is hanging over the edge. A lampshade that’s about twice the width/diameter of your lamp base (at it’s widest point) is typically a good size. Another helpful tip is that the bottom diameter of your lampshade should be within about 2″ of the height of your lamp base (measured from the bottom of the lamp to the bulb socket).

4. Light – Consider how you will use your lamp. Is it for a specific task or just for ambient light? Once you determine the lamp's purpose or function, choosing the right lamp will be so much easier. Make sure that light illuminates the area it is needed. Choose a bright enough bulb or even consider a three way bulb for versatility.

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Some of these guidelines are specific to table lamps, but don't forget to use floor lamps too. They provide a way to add lighting when tables aren't in an area or aren't large enough for a light. They also provide some height to your space. Have fun and choose lamps that you really love!