Table Lamp Ideas: Choose the Best Table Lamp for Your Room

Published By: Shades Of Light

Date Published:

Last Updated: December 15, 2021

Industrial Gold and Beige Table Lamp

Are you looking for a DIY lighting design idea that will refresh the style and feel of your room? Replacing an old table lamp is a great way to begin a gradual room upgrade! Unlike other new light fixtures, which may require additional wiring and electrical expertise for installation, plug-in table lamps are easy to install and can be moved around your home as you plan out your perfect look. Table lamps also provide practical light for daily task areas, from your study’s desk to your bedside table. Explore our table lamp guide for advice on how to find quality table lamps that match your daily routine and elevate your room design.

Where to Put a Table Lamp: Advice By Room

Table lamps most often serve as task lights for illuminating seated activities. Therefore, a good rule of thumb for placing table lamps in rooms throughout your home is to think about where your family, friends, and guests will spend the most time sitting. Here are a few areas of the home we recommend thinking about when you’re in the market for a new table lamp.

Living Room Table Lamps

Table lamps add warmth to a living room, whether you’re relaxing with your family or entertaining guests. Small accent lamps can fit into unsuspecting corners of the room, like on bookcases or decorative trays, and solid color table lamps can bring a fun pop of color to sofa end tables.

How many table lamps you need in your living room depends on the other lighting sources in your room. If table lamps are the only source of lighting in your room, you may need up to five lamps in a standard 12×20 foot living room. If your living room is lit overhead using a chandelier, ceiling light, or ceiling fan with lights, you can add two-to-three lamps to side tables or other accent tables to balance out the level of illumination.

Modern Living Room Table Lamp

The Modern Cylinder Ceramic Table Lamp in navy is a stately living room lamp choice

Office Table Lamps & Study Desk Lamps

These days, more of us are completing our work from home more than ever before. Whether you’re teleworking or helping your kids with school work, having a defined office space can help you and your family stay on task and achieve your goals. When deciding on the right desk lamp for your home office or study, it’s important to remember that the average table lamp will light 40-50 square feet or about half of the room. For home offices without much natural light, you may want to consider coordinating your desk lamp with another lighting source, like a semi-flush ceiling light for greater overall illumination, or a floor lamp to light the opposite side of the room.

Mid-Century Modern Metal Desk Lamp

The Angled Desk Lamp is a mid-century modern lamp with a metal shade and USB port for charging


Dining Room Table Lamps: Buffet & Candlestick Lamps

When you think of dining room lights, you may first think of the central light fixture suspended over the dining table. It’s true, dining room chandeliers and pendants typically provide the brightest light for your dining room; but dining room table lamps offer an extra layer of illumination and the lamp’s body can coordinate with the style of your centerpiece fixture.

Buffet lamps—sometimes called candlestick lamps—are the most popular style of table lamp for a dining area, as they provide task lighting for guests who get up to serve themselves from a buffet-style spread. This style of lamp tends to have a taller, narrower profile compared to traditional table lamps. However, even if your meal is not a self-serve affair, having an extra tone of warm, intimate light can help to set the atmosphere of your formal seated meal.

Pair of Gold Candlestick Dining Room Lamps

A pair of Sphere Candlestick Lamps in gold add contemporary style to a dining room buffet

Bedside Table Reading Lamps

Lowering the light in your bedroom in the hours before sleeping can help to transition you into your bedtime routine. Whether you enjoy reading, journaling, meditating, or watching TV before you turn in for the night, a bedside table lamp is a must-have to illuminate your pre-sleep activities.

Bedside table lamps are also practical choice for safe movement through the bedroom at night. Without a bedside table lamp, you may have to get up from the bed to turn off your overhead fixtures, making it difficult to see your way back to the bed. A bedside lamp allows you to extinguish your light from where you’re resting and to re-illuminate the room quickly if you need to get up in the middle of the night for any reason, like tending to a baby, working a night shift, or using the bathroom.

Since the bedside is a less visible area of the home to guests, you can pay more attention to your personal tastes and style with this table lamp choice. We recommend choosing an unconventional modern bedside lamp that makes you smile, or a calming lamp in muted tones that makes you feel more relaxed when you look at it. It’s the little things, like looking at a lovely antique-inspired lamp, that can set the tone for a great day (or a great night of sleep!) ahead.

Antique Inspired Mini Accent Lamp

The vintage-inspired Mini Blue and White Porcelain Jar Table Lamp will brighten your bedside


Table Lamp Anatomy: Key Parts to Know

Before you buy a table lamp for any room, there are a few key parts of a table lamp’s anatomy to familiarize yourself with:

Lamp Harp: The piece that connects the lamp to the lamp shade

Plug Parts: The prongs that allow you to connect your lamp to a socket power source

Socket Shell: The base into which you can screw the lightbulb for your lamp

Cardboard: Acts as an insulator between the outer shell of the socket where the switch is located and the inner shell of the socket

Anatomy of a table lamp
Do you have questions about these parts or table lamp assembly? Please contact Shades of Light’s customer support!


Table Lamp Size Recommendations

The correct height for a table lamp is determined by the chair/sofa and the height of the table beside it. Although table lamps on either side of a sofa need not be identical, they should have the same “visual” weight and height. To avoid glare, the lamp should be tall enough for the bottom of its lampshade to reach the eye level of the person seated next to it.

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