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Floor Lamp Buyers Guide

While ambience lighting is great, it can be just too dim for some people’s preference. Floor lamps are a wonderful way to lighten up your life while adding character to your decor.

It might be challenging as there are countless styles and variations to choose from. In this guide, we provide a run-down of the different styles, options and designs to choose from when looking to purchase your new floor lamp.

Different Types of Floor Lamps

Torchiere

The Torchiere is an elegant way to add to the ambience of any room. They have heavy bases with a tall pole attached and a shade on top. The shades are usually placed upside down and direct light upwards, diffusing it through the room. These tend to be very elegant designs and are known for having Tiffany-style stained glass shades, or other stylish and creative shades.

Tripod Floor Lamp

These stylish lamps have a tripod base, much like a camera tripod, with three legs. They are a great addition for adding light to any room. There are many different design features to choose from, like wood legs or a mid-century modern design. Another great feature common to tripod lamps is the ability to adjust the height of the lamp.

Multi-Light Floor Lamp

Multi-Light floor lamps, as the name suggests, feature multiple lights in one lamp but typically, you will see three to five lights, adding a large amount of light to any room. Depending on the lamp, there will be either one switch for all the lights or perhaps a switch for each light. In addition, some models give you the ability to direct each individual light in the desired direction. These are perfect for large rooms that need a lot of illumination.

Tower Floor Lamp

Taking a cue from the east, these lamps have become wildly popular lately; you could almost mistake these for a piece of glowing art. They feature a traditional pole design, but with a long shade made of paper, cloth or wood formed usually by a wire frame. These are great accent pieces but aren’t suggested for task lighting.

Arc Floor Lamp

If you need to be able to direct your light, an arc floor lamp is a great option to fulfil your needs while adding to your decor. They have a super heavy base with a long arm that arcs over the desired area, providing light overheard where needed.

Swing Arm Floor Lamp

If you need some light in a specific spot, the swing arm floor lamp is a great choice to fulfil your lighting needs. With a pole design on top of a heavy base and a bendable and foldable arm, this lamp allows you to direct the light where it is needed. This is a great option for those with crowded tables that don’t have space for a table lamp, or for use while sitting on a couch or in a chair.

Club Lamp

A club lamp is a traditional style of floor lamp; it has a base with a column and shade on top. It can be decorative or utilitarian and there are endless variations of poles, or columns and shades to choose from to fit what you are looking for.

Styles of Floor Lamps

Mid-century Modern

This iconic design style first appeared in the mid-20th century from designers such as Frank Lloyd Wright. It is noted for its clean, simplistic but functional lines and design elements with a preference for warm wood.

Scandinavian

This style has made a huge comeback and it’s not all Ikea. This lamp style is all about minimalism with a bit of flair.

Country

A staple in the design community, country never goes out of style. No matter where you call home, each area has their own variation of a country-style floor lamp. Generally, though, country can be recognized by their vintage feeling and muted colours.

Mission Shaker

The mission shaker style became popular in the 19th century with the Arts and Crafts movement. Geometric figures and lines are mixed with bold colouring, polished brass and stained glass to create great artistic furniture.

Tiffany

Iconic Tiffany glass will always be a mark of high-style decor. Louis Comfort Tiffany began the Tiffany Glass Company in the 19th century, creating beautiful and expensive pieces of stained glass art for high society.

These days, original Tiffany pieces cost from thousands to millions of dollars. While it may be impossible for the common consumer to get an original piece, there are plenty of Tiffany-inspired pieces that are much more affordable.

Industrial

This style of decor has become wildly popular as of late. Taking a cue from millions of factories throughout time, the industrial style is marked by the rough and unfinished feel of a piece. You will often see cage-like designed shades with a raw bulb at its centre. The use of polished metals and unpolished woods are also hallmarks.

Contemporary

The contemporary style refers to half the 20th century to modern day. Like mid-century modern and Scandinavian styles, this style is also marked by clean lines and minimalism. However, it incorporates more flair and darker hues. You will often notice the use of blacks and golds along with flairs of designs here and there.

Bohemian

The Bohemian style is a lot of fun while keeping in mind a style of living, not only decorating. Boho style tends to incorporate different patterns, feels and colours. Different artistic elements and a feeling of vintage combined with different cultures create a truly unique decor.

Shades

Shape

When picking the shape of your shade, keep in mind the style and construct of your lamp. Round curved shades are traditional and go well with pretty much any style. Rectangular or square shades will work best with models that have a more contemporary, mid-century modern, or Scandinavian design.

Size

When you decide on a lamp, make sure you note of the height and diameter, as well as the space you are working with. There are three things to keep in mind when choosing your lamp and shade

  1. Make sure the shade covers the bulb and socket and looks good on the base.
  2. Choose a shade that is about thirty to forty percent of the size of your base.
  3. Make sure your shade isn’t wider than your base and is at least three inches away from your light bulb.

Follow these rules and you will have a well-proportioned lamp setup that will be safe and looks good.

Weight

It is also important to keep in mind the weight of your proposed lamp shade. Make sure the base of your floor lamp is heavy enough to counteract the weight of your lampshade. Stained glass shades, like Tiffany shades, are quite heavy and if the base of your piece isn’t heavy enough to balance the shade, the lamp will fall over.

Material

Your lampshade material will impact not only your design aesthetic but also the functionality of the piece you purchase. Keep in mind that the more opaque it is, the less light will show through. If you are seeking more functionality, go with a more transparent material to allow more light to shine through.

Colour

As with the material of the shade, the colour will impact how much illumination your lamp will give off. Lighter colours will obviously allow more light through than darker ones. Also, the colour of the base materials vary greatly and can fit into any decor pattern you are looking for.

Base Materials

Wood

Wood is a classic material that can be used for virtually every design style. Carved wood is a staple in mid-century modern and Scandinavian designs, while the more rustic designs are great with country styles. Wood is dependable, sturdy and has a variety of different hues and looks.

Metal

Who can deny the beauty of shined chrome? Metal is a classic material to set off any decor. With the different types and hues of metal available, there is sure to be a metal base out there for any type of decor.

Ceramic

Ceramic bases are most often used with table lamps, but if you would like a heavy, sculpture-like floor lamp, then look no further. Ceramic is sturdy and can be sculpted into a variety of designs for a number of styles.

Things to Consider

Function

Remember the purpose of your lamp; if you are needing bright light, then make sure to get a shade that is a light colour and a higher wattage to help facilitate that. Also, the type of floor lamp will determine how much functionality your piece has. Keep in mind torchieres are more for ambient lighting, while swing arm lamps help perform tasks better.

Size

Also keep in mind the weight, height and width of the floor lamp. Making sure that the lamp fits into the desired space nicely and the shade is proportionate to the base will help make sure that your purchase was successful.

Care and Cleaning

To keep your new floor lamp looking and functioning its best it’s important to clean and care for your new piece of decor.

Safety

One of the most common ways for a lamp to end up in the trash is to not follow simple safety rules. Make sure that any electrical cords are tucked away from high traffic areas so that they cannot be tripped over, thus pulling the lamp over.

Keep your lamp away from curtains and other fabrics to reduce the likelihood of fabric fires, as well.  Always be aware and conservative of the wattage of light bulbs you use in your lamps; generally, keep it under 300 watts.

Cleaning

When you purchase your new floor lamp, read the manufacturer’s directions regarding cleaning and maintenance. Dust the lamp with a clean and dry cloth and vacuum the shade regularly with a low suction or brush attachment. If you have a glass shade, then use a dry and clean cloth to wipe the shade down.

Conclusion

Buying your new floor lamp is exciting and it’s always fun to add a new piece to your home decor. But don’t get overwhelmed by all the choices on the market, consider all factors first and make an informed decision that will fit into your home decor and needs.