I’m a strong believer that lighting should always always do double duty in your home. Light is a necessity, but filling your home with no-nonsense, forgettable task lighting is doing your dec0r a real disservice. While some generic, bargain bin table lamps or floor lamps, for example, might blend in to the background, that’s exactly the problem. A good table lamp isn’t one that falls short of being an eyesore, it’s one that enhances the look and feel of your room, and can even act as a focal point or signature piece in your decor. The selection of designer table lamps available these days is effectively infinite. Designers, lighting manufacturers, and even producers of fine home decor all have their own offerings, and it can be a little difficult to sift through them to find the right one for your personal style. That said, there are a few things to look for.
One of the easiest ways to find a table lamp that will really make a statement is to look at the color. There are two ways to go here: one is to find a table lamp like this Porterdale Tiffany Table Lamp from Dimond Lighting with a multi-colored body or shade. The colors should be similar or at least complimentary, and most if not all of the colors should be carried out through the rest of the room. Ideally, you want to have some fabric and paint swatches on hand when you choose this type of table lamp, because if the colors mesh well, that single piece can give your whole space a sense of harmony and unity.
If you aren’t big on subtle blending, the other option is to go with a lamp more like this Alva Table Lamp that’s a single bold color head to toe. This is especially effective in rooms that are otherwise relatively neutral (as they act as a dramatic focal point), or in rooms that are more or less monochromatic, either in the same color or a contrasting shade.
But table lamps don’t have to come in a bold color to be eye catching. This Ceramic Table Lamp is ultimately just a silver table lamp with the silver lamp shade, but the hammered metallic texture on the ceramic body plays an excellent counterpoint to the simple, rugged textile texture of the lamp shade, and the two together make for a visually interesting focal point by contrast. When looking for a lamp where texture is the main feature, look for 2-3 contrasting textures in a simple color scheme to really draw the eye.
For a more opulent space, look for a table lamp like this Avonmore Table Lamp with a relatively simple body but a lampshade made of an intricately patterned material. The texture doesn’t necessarily have to match your furniture, but table lamps with upholstery-esque lampshades can be especially pretty in a very fabric-heavy space. Be aware of the thickness of any shade you buy, though, and what effect it will have on the color, quality, and quantity of light the lamp produces. Just like you don’t want to get a functional lamp that doesn’t look pretty, even the prettiest lamp is a waste of space if it doesn’t produce enough light, and very thick shades can significantly dampen even bright bulbs.
I’m also going to lump wood in as an example of a natural texture. Whether the space you’re lighting is a rustic log cabin or a modern glass-and-metal loft, a piece of wood can really beautify your space. Something simple like this Burns Valley Table Lamp showcases both wood and simple, elegant craftsmanship, though for a more rustic look you might want to try out a lamp made out of a piece of natural driftwood, or even a solid, bark-covered log.
Sometimes, a pretty table lamp is one that’s purely interesting to look at, and often that means that it has a base that comes in an interesting or unique shape. The design can be simple, like the stem of this Athens Table Lamp, but because it’s unique (and more complicated than a simple ceramic vessel), even if it’s paired with a completely average lampshade, the shape will be eye catching and just enough out of the ordinary to enhance the look of your room. There are hundreds or thousands of designer table lamps out there with simple but interestingly shaped bases – way too many to mention here – and designs run the gamut fro simple tree branch silhouettes to complicated, layered modern patterns, but a shaped lamp is an excellent way to insert an interesting, statuesque piece into your room without having to worry too much about coordinating colors or textures.
Theme Table Lamps
Finally, some table lamps are designed with a very specific staging in mind. This Cork Topped table lamp from HGTV Lighting, for example, is the perfect pair for a sandy seaside or island theme. Lamps like this are almost more like props than anything, acting as a set piece for a very specific design that just happens to have a lighting fixture attached to it.
Similarly, some theme table lamps evoke hobbies rather than scenery. This Ethan Vintage Tripod Lamp is a pitch perfect miniature theater lantern, and makes an excellent pair for a home theater, TV room, or even an artists loft – perfect for anyone who loves the theater, works behind a spotlight, or hopes to find themselves in front of one. Table lamps like this are available in a whole variety of interests – from maritime inspired to steampunk-chic, with just a little work you can find a designer table lamp to accentuate your personality as well as your decor.
While designer table lamps might take a little bigger bite out of your budget than one you might find at your average mega-store, they really are worth the splurge. Whether you want a bold pop of color or a lamp built into a stack of books, there’s a lamp out there to give your space just the right amount of personal flair. What are you looking for in a table lamp? Do you love to play with design, or are you just looking for something nice to put on your end table?