Design and Decor

How To Choose Lamps For Living Room

How to choose lamps for living room is your guide on how to pick the right lamps for your living room. Having the right lighting is an important element in every home because it is not just light that you need to complete a certain task but it is also light that can influence the mood of every room. Utilizing the right type of lamps can help you to create the perfect look for your living room that not only provides functionality but also provide a decorative piece to complement your home decor,

Consider your room’s decor or style when choosing a lamp because lamps come in a wide variety of styles ranging from vintage to contemporary styles. For example, if you have a traditional or vintage style home, choose lamps that have ornate details, decorative curves and with bronze, brass or wood finishes.

Lamps that have very clean lines, bold colors or shapes and no fancy curves or details are lamps that are best suited for contemporary style homes. Or you can pick one accent color from your living room’s color scheme and look for a lamp with a base or shade that has the same color.

Lamps are a fixture that produce artificial light consisting of an electric bulb, shade and holder or a lamp base. They come in different sizes and in a variety of designs ranging from vintage, traditional to contemporary design styles. These can add a beautiful touch of interest to your living room when you pick lamps that work well with your home design style.

Since there are so many designs to choose from, choosing the right lamps can be a bit challenging. I will share with you things that you need to know so you will end up with the lamps that will work well based on your needs and design.


How To Choose The Right Size Lamps For Your Living Room?


1. Consider The Size Of Your Living Room And The Height Of The Table It Will Sit On

When buying a lamp for your living room, consider the overall size of the space, the size of the area where you are planning to put your floor lamp and the size of the end table where you want to place your table lamp. If you have a large room with high ceilings, a small lamp or floor lamp will look out of balance or look out of proportion in comparison to the size of the room. For 8 foot ceilings, it is recommended to choose table lamps with a height between 26 to 33 inches while for large living rooms with high ceilings the range is between 31 to 36 inch high lamps.

A good rule of thumb when purchasing lamps for your living room is to choose table lamps with a height when combined to the height of the end table for a total sum of between 58 to 64 inches. This means that if you have a shorter end table, you will need to have a tall lamp to meet the recommended height requirement of 58 to 64 inches. The reason behind having uniform lamp heights which includes a lamp on top of the end table and a floor lamp is that you want the eye to move around the room smoothly.

2. Measure The Depth And Width Of The End Table Top

Tabletop dimensions must be taken into consideration. You really do not want to end up with lampshades wider than the end table top. This is especially important if your table is on the narrow side. Choose the lampshade bottom with dimensions equal or less than the narrowest dimension of your end table top.

3. Choose Lamps With The Right Shape, Color And Material For Your Living Room

how to choose lamps for living room

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The lampshade material and color have a direct effect on the amount of light emitted. Choose black or non-transparent lampshades if you like to create a dramatic effect that comes from having concentrated light. Lighter colors like white or ivory emits a good amount of light and give a nice contrast to any wall.

For Shape, conical or bell-shaped lampshades are typically used for traditional style lamps, while drum shades are popular for modern style lamps.

4. Pick The Color And Style Of Your Lamp Based On Your Living Room’s Color Scheme

Pick one color as an accent color from your living room’s color scheme. Then look for a lamp with the style that matches your living room style with the base or shade that has the same color. You may also consider metal finishes such as nickel, bronze, or brass as an alternative option, if it happens that you cannot find the lamp with the exact color, style, size and price that you had originally planned.

how to choose lamps for living room

The picture above is our first home using teal color as an accent color. My original plan was to have lamps with a teal base but unfortunately, I was not able to find lamps with the teal base color, style and price that I wanted. As a result of of that, I ended up matching may floor lamp and table lamps with brass finishes which was the same as our end table finishes.

5. Complementing Table And Lamp

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The style of lamp should complement the style of your end table or your sofa or chair. This is especially true for table lamps. Its beauty will be highly dependent on the beauty of the table on where it rests. Color, style and character of the table should be considered when choosing a table lamp. For example, if your table is on the smaller side and has a “glam” style and you pair it with a masculine and larger lamp, you will create an odd looking pair. If you pair a table lamp with a dark color with a dark table, the lamp may vanish. Therefore, it is important to match the lamp style based on the overall look and design of your end table.

6. Know The Amount Of Light You Need

If your table lamp is functioning as an ambient or general lighting, choose a lamp that can hold a 100 to 150 watt bulb. If you are leaning toward having more narrow lampshades, use a 60 watt bulb maximum to prevent the lampshade from getting too hot or hot enough to burn. Decide on the type of lighting you would like to have.

  • Incandescent bulbs give a warm light and cast a favorable light on everyone and everything. However, they give a dash of yellow to any paint color.
  • CFL (Compact Fluorescent Bulbs) are much more energy efficient bulbs and add a hint of blue. However, they are not dimmable. Because of its design, they are an ideal bulb for lamps and fixtures where you cannot see them.
  • LED bulbs – Very energy efficient light bulb and comes in a variety of color temperatures from warm to a cool and neutral light. If you want your lamp to be a bright light, select LED lights that are 4000 to 4500 Kelvin.

7. Use Layers Of Lights

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Do not rely solely on your tamps to illuminate the entire space, especially if you have a larger room. Filling up your space with multiple end tables and table lamps will make your space look cluttered and crowded. Utilizing different sources of light through layered lighting is a great way to have a well-lit living room. Therefore, it is important to incorporate various types of lighting in your living room such as ambient or overhead lighting, task lighting and accent lighting to add depth or to set a mood aside from illuminating the entire room.

Ambient Or Overhead Lighting

These are as well known as general lights that will help you to illuminate the entire space. They’re designed to distribute light evenly throughout the entire room separate from special lighting such as accent and task lighting in specific parts of a room.

Task Lighting Task 

Task lighting illuminates a particular spot or function such as kitchen counters, living room chairs and a home office desk where food preparation or reading will take place and where office jobs will be completed respectively. Pendant lights, under-cabinet lights and reading lights are under the task lighting category.

Accent Or Spot Lighting

If you want to highlight bookcases, artwork, or plants use accent lighting such as recessed and track lighting with adjustable fittings. They will give you the ability to focus the light even on small items or areas.

When planning to use different types of light fixtures, commonly referred to as layers of light in the living room, ambient lighting should be planned first, then followed by task and accent lighting. Chandelier and recessed lighting are the best light fixtures to use as ambient or general lighting. You can then combine with table lamps, floor lamps and wall sconces to illuminate the corner of a room or to highlight the beauty of a decorative piece in your living room or to create an intimate space.


Do Living Room Lamps Need To Match?

The common question when it comes to choosing lamps is do all lamps need to be matched? Lamps do not need to match but they should have unifying design elements that complement each design such as similar proportions and coloring and therefore create a cohesive look. This is especially necessary if you have an open floor plan where the living room, dining room and kitchen are all positioned in one large space. All of these rooms, living room, dining room and kitchen, should have a consistent theme to flow well.

Actually, one of the best ways to create a one of a kind look is to mix and match lamps in your living room. Consider lighting as one of the finishing touches to complete the look and style that you would like to achieve.

Below are the different ways that interior designers use to mix and match lamps to create balance, interest, and make a statement while providing a cohesive look in the whole room.

One Standout Color Can Unify A Room

Use colors near the color wheel or a set of three colors next to each other on the color wheel which is also known as an analogous color scheme. One of the advantages of using an analogous color scheme is the fact that it is a source of color harmony in design. Plus, it will always look good together because color trends are destined to come and go. They are very eye appealing.

Use A Triadic Scheme For Bold Design

If you want to use more than one color, consider using the Triadic Scheme which utilizes three colors on the color wheel that are evenly set apart like green, orange and violet. Choose one color from the three colors as a dominating color and use the remaining two colors as accent colors. This will help you to avoid having clashing lamp colors and you will end up with something stylish and an amazing design.

Incorporating Different Types Of Lamp

Incorporating different types of lamp or lamps made of different materials can be successfully achieved if they are made within the same time period. For example, if you have a mid-century home where the furniture pieces are made from different materials but came from the same time period. This can also apply to lamps. Wooden lamps can work well together with metal lamps provided that they have the same or similar color palette.

Choose Lamps With Different Sizes And Shapes To Creates Beautiful Interest In Your Living Room

how to choose lamps for living room

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Utilize lamps with different sizes and shapes but that are made of the same materials and have the same color and fabric shades. This will surely be aesthetically appealing and create interest in your space and yet all provide a cohesive and balanced look.

Mix And Match Finishes With Careful Thought

A good rule of thumb when mixing different finishes is to use no more than four finishes per space. This is actually difficult to achieve. It is advisable to carefully look around and take the time to look into how to achieve a cohesive look using different types of finishes. Magazines, Instagram and Pinterest are great platforms to look around and learn the different techniques and ideas to pull this look together.


What Are The Most Popular Styles Of  Living Room Lamps To Choose From?

It is important to pick the lamps that match with the rest of your home decor. Below is a list of the most popular styles of lamps that are available on the market and where to use them. It will help you to buy the right lamps for your living room.how to choose lamps for living room

  1. Buffet Lamps – These style of lamps are usually thin and a taller version of a table lamp. They are designed to be placed on a buffet table to illuminate the food set on the buffet table. However, they can also be used to illuminate the other part of the house. One of the benefits of using these buffet lamps is that they take up less space because of their slender shape which also makes it an ideal lamp for a home office desk. Since they are designed to highlight the food on the buffet table, its height is tall enough to make it an ideal lamp for a dining table. The lamp shade will be out of the way from your arms and food containers while eating
  2.  Arc Lamps These are the type of floor lamps that have a slender body and have a long arc-shaped arm with a shade and are best used for corners where light can arch over a table or sofa. One of the benefits of using this lamp style is because it takes up very little space and can easily fit in a dark corner. It can also function as task lighting due to its arch shape and as accent lighting because of its unique and decorative shape.how to choose lamps for living room
  3. Torchiere Floor Lamps – The style of these floor lamps are tall with upward-facing shades that can function as ambient or accent lighting. This style is one of the popular and classic lamp styles.One of the most popular torchiere floor lamps is the stained-glass type which is also known as the “Tiffany-style” torchiere. It will work well with your elegant style. If you just moved into a home where the living room does not come with ceiling light fixtures, consider the use of torchiere floor lamps. They provide a good amount of lighting compared with the regular floor lamps because of their upward shade that reflects the light off the ceiling and walls.how to choose lamps for living room
  4. Tripod Lamps – These types of lamps are also known as three-legged base lamps which create a very stable and sturdy base or support. The unique shape and elegant look of polished hardware adds an architectural element to any space aside from providing a good amount of lighting. These are ideal lamps for a living room or a bedroom that needs some extra lighting. However, this style may not be suitable for smaller rooms as it requires a great amount of space.how to choose lamps for living room
  5. Swing Arm Lamps – These types of lamps come with different shapes and sizes and depending on the size and shape, they can be used as task lamps, desk lamps, floor lamps or table lamps. What’s so great about this style is that the swing arm can be moved and can be adjusted based on your specific needs. For example, if you want to have close up lighting for a certain task, you can easily move the arm just to illuminate a certain spot.how to choose lamps for living room
  6. Gooseneck Lamps – Gooseneck lamps have a flexible neck and a fixed metal neck with a traditional curve. A gooseneck with a flexible neck can be adjusted to various positions while gooseneck with a fixed metal neck comes with a traditional curve that works well with a traditional style home.how to choose lamps for living room
  7. Tree Lamps – Tree lamps typically come with a central stand with various lights branching off like tree branches. The branches can usually be adjusted giving you the ability to move the light in different directions. Some tree lamps will allow you to turn on a single branch if you prefer, which makes this lamp useful in any room because it has the ability to brighten up both large and small spaces. Aside from that it comes with various designs and decorative elements which provide a decorative piece to any room These are one of the many reasons why this style of lamps is one of the most popular styles of lamps.

What Are The Different Types Of Lamps To Choose For A Living Room?

  1. Table Lamps – Table lamps are typically used as a reading light or a bedside lamp and usually placed on top of the end table while others use table lamps as part of the room decor because they add personality to any room. The best place for table lamps in your living room are next to the sofa or chair on top of any end tables and function as end table lamps. If you want your table lamps to be accent lamps the best place for them is near to where your guests will be relaxing.
  2. Floor Lamps – Floor lamps are both decorative and functional pieces in a living room because they are typically placed next to large furniture. If your living room does not have a focal point, floor lamps can definitely add interest and depth to empty spaces and can complement or blend well with the room’s design style. They are usually placed in the corner of a room or in an area where it prevents the floor lamps from tipping over or from breaking. Measure the area that you would like to place your floor lamps and make sure to buy a floor lamp with dimensions that will fit in the space that you are working with. Floor lamps will usually take up a good amount of space.
  3. Desk Lamps – Desk lamps are pretty similar to table lamps but they are designed to direct light to a small area to help you see what you are doing. They usually come with the feature of a gooseneck arm to allow you to move it as you need. This however, will not provide enough light to illuminate the entire room as it is only designed to light up a specific spot or area. Therefore, they’re often used to create an efficient and effective workspace.

I hope that my guide on how to choose lamps for living room will help you to know what color and style of lamps that will work well with your living room decor.


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