When choosing a lamp, think about what you are using it for. Different types of lamps have different functions. You'll also want to make sure the lamp is in proportion with your room and furniture. A small lamp on a small nightstand will be far more visually appealing than a large lamp on the same piece of furniture. To choose a lamp with flair, take into consideration the style of the room you are placing it in as lamps are available in various styles.
ACCENT: An accent lamp is usually less than 20" and is great if you want to highlight a certain object or area in a room.
DESK/TASK: Lamps which are also less than 20" and are perfect for lighting a specific work area.
TABLE: A table lamp measures between 25" and 32" and is great for general purpose lighting.
BUFFET: A buffet lamp which can range from 27" to 32" is also a nice addition to any table.
FLOOR: Perfect for dark corners there are different styles. These lamps usually measure 5 feet or more.
TORCHIERE: The most common floor lamp is the torchiere which stands approximately 6 feet tall and is usually more ornate than your basic floor lamp.
WALL SCONCE: Perfect for adding some light to a hallway or stairway.
TRADITIONAL: Perfect if you like to stick to basics.
CONTEMPORARY: For those with more modern tastes.
MIX amp; MATCH: If you regularly like to change the look and mood of the room, you'll find plenty of lamps that work with various lamp shades.
NOVELTY: Woodsy? Nautical? Show your interest with lamps.
SHADES: The best thing about lamps is that when you get tired of them all you have to do is change the shade to give them a stylish makeover. When adding a new shade, take into consideration the measurements of the lamp. Shades should be at least as wide as the widest point of the lamp body and at eye level, the bottom of the shade should cover the bottom of the socket. You'll find that the shade has three dimensions - bottom diameter (width across the bottom of the shade), top diameter (width across the top of the shade) and the third measurement represents the shade's slant height (distance between the top and the bottom of the shade). Keep in mind that an oversized shade may cause a lamp to easily tip over.
Once you have all the measurements of the shade jotted down, you'll find a wide variety of toppers to suit your taste. Besides coming in a range of colors, you'll also find shades in a variety of shapes, fabrics and textures. It's easy to go from a basic faux leather or linen shade to a textured fabric or beaded one. As for the shape of your shade, you can go from bell to cone to square to rectangular, whatever your heart desires.
LIGHTBULBS: When it comes to bulbs you can't be dim-witted unless you want the shock of your life. Make sure to note the wattage rating of a light fixture and never exceed this number. The higher the wattage of a lightbulb means the higher the output of light and heat.
Keep in mind there are different types of bulbs and make sure to purchase the right one for your lamp.
- Medium base bulbs are your standard incandescent bulbs that vary from 15 to 150 watts. These bulbs produce a soft yellow-white light.
- Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL) differ in shape, size and electrical contact. These bulbs are small and have bent tubes with all the electrical contacts at one end. They can be used in a standard medium-base socket. CFLs use less electricity than incandescent bulbs and produce a light that is closer to real sunlight.
- Halogen bulbs give off a bright white light and have a longer life. Always use a clean rag to handle a halogen bulb as oils from your hand can reduce the life span of the bulb.
- Fluorescent bulbs offer a true light, last much longer and are more energy efficient
FITTERS: Take into consideration the fitter when buying a lamp. The most common fitter is a harp. Believe it or not harps aren't always melodic instruments, when it comes to lamps they are the metal frame that holds the shade over the base of the lamp and can be used to raise or lower the shade. Other fitters include the clip fitter where the fitter clips directly to the bulb and the uno fitter which screws on to the socket.
SWITCHES: There is also a variety of switches out there. Which one you choose depends on the lamp and what works best for you. Keep an eye out for simple on/off switches which can be rotary, push or rocker, three-way switches, pull chains, dimmer switches which can take lighting from very low to bright, or an in-line switch which is located right on the cord.