Here are a few other things to consider when buying a lamp.
Love the lamp, but don’t care for the shade?
Top it off with a different shade. Lamp shades are available in a huge array of shapes, sizes and fabrics. Want to show off your style some more? Check out shades in different shapes such as bell-shaped, empire, square, rectangular, drum-shaped and cut-cornered.
And don’t forget the wide variety of styles and fabrics. Lamp shades are available in: hardback, knife pleat, soft pleat, softback, screen print, and mica styles to name a few and come in a variety of materials: faux leather, parchment, as well as fabrics such as shantung, raw silk, cotton and linen.
When you go shopping, remember measurements. A shade that is too big for a lamp may tip it over so keep the following in mind.
- 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.
- When you look at shades, you’ll find three dimensions. A bottom diameter (width across the bottom of the shade), top diameter (width across the top of the shade) and the third measurement for the shade’s slant height (distance between the top and the bottom of the shade).
So you’ve found the lamp base and shade you want, what kind of light bulb do you need?
When you buy a lamp, it will indicate the acceptable light bulb wattage that can be used with it. This can usually be found on a label on the socket. It’s important to use the right bulb and to never exceed the maximum wattage recommended. The higher the wattage of a light bulb is the higher the output of light and heat. Always keep a light bulb in the socket as a lamp plugged in without a bulb is a shock risk. And whenever replacing a bulb, unplug or turn off the lamp and let the old bulb cool before replacing with a new one.
|Incandescent (Medium Base Bulb)
||Produces a soft yellow-white light.
||This inexpensive, dimmable bulb has been the standard up until recently, and is being slowly phased out for more energy efficient bulbs.
A disadvantage of an incandescent bulb is that the energy is transferred into heat instead of light, which wastes energy and makes the bulb hot to the touch.
|Compact Fluorescent Bulb (CFL)
||Produces a warm, white light.
||CFL bulbs can be used in a standard incandescent socket.
CFL bulbs are more energy efficient and have a longer life than incandescent bulbs. However, they are more expensive than incandescent bulbs.
||Produces a bright, white light and gives off more light than your average incandescent.
||Halogen bulbs have a long life, good beam control and are dimmable.
The disadvantages of halogen bulbs are that they are more expensive than incandescent bulbs and are extremely hot to the touch.
When handling a halogen bulb, use a clean cloth. Oils from your hand can reduce the life span of the bulb.
||Bulbs come in different colors and can provide light from a basic warm white to black.
||Fluorescent lights use less energy and lasts longer than incandescent bulbs.
||Use soft white/warm LED bulbs for living areas, and bright white LED bulbs for bathrooms and hallways.
||LED lights are available in different shapes and sizes. They use less energy and last much longer than incandescent bulbs, but are more expensive.
As far as the wattage that your lamp requires, keep in mind the contrast between the brightness of a task area and that of the ambient lighting. Try your best to obtain a happy middle ground or eyestrain and eye fatigue can occur.
While incandescent bulbs have been widely used, they are now being phased out with more energy-efficient CFL bulbs. These bulbs use less wattage, and they also produce more light. When replacing your incandescent bulbs with CFL bulbs, refer to the chart below.
|Incandescent Light Bulb Wattage
||CFL Light Bulb Wattage
||9 – 13
||13 – 18
||18 - 22
||23 - 30
||30 - 55
A good rule of thumb to follow when it comes to replacing bulbs is the CFL bulb’s wattage will be approximately ¼ of the incandescent bulb’s wattage.
There are a few more components to a lamp you should be familiar with.
The Harp, Finial, Spider and Fitter all play a part in keeping your shade in place.
- Not just a musical instrument, a harp is the metal frame of a lamp that holds your shade over the base of the lamp.
- That’s finial not finale even though it’s still an end, the top end of your lamp. The decorative end not only looks great but keeps the shade in place.
- Nothing scary here. A lamp’s spider is the arms that attached to the top rim of the shade. This holds the lampshade fitter in place.
- A fitter is the part of the lamp that holds the shade in place securely. There are clip fitters that clip directly to the bulb, Uno fitters that simply screw onto the socket of your lamp, and the washer fitter that works with the spider, harp and finial to keep things secured.
Do you have a switch preference for turning your lamp on and off?
You even have a choice when it comes to turning your lamp on and off. Switches depend on the lamp and what works best for you. There are simple on/off switches that can be rotary, push or rocker. You’ll also find lamps with three-way switches on the socket, pull chains or an in-line switch right on the cord. Also look for dimmer switches which can take your lighting from very low to bright.