Friday, November 21, 2014

Lamps Can Make or Break Your Space

Have you ever put on a new outfit, nice earrings, and then put on the wrong pair of shoes for the outfit?  Okay, we have all done this.  And, we probably do this with an important accessory in our homes--lamps.  There are two important things you should consider when purchasing lamps for your rooms--size and style.  Lamps should be functional.  Lamps illuminate our spaces.  And, lamps should also look good in your space.  How do you know if a lamp works well in your space?  

If you have end tables in your living room, you probably have lamps on those tables.  Lamps for end tables should measure 30 to 32 inches tall.  This height allows the lamp to provide much needed lighting for reading while sitting on your sofa or chair.  The same applies for bedside tables.  I often read sitting up in bed and I rely on my lamps for lighting.  The same height rule applies for lamps for your bedside tables as well.  The lamps should be tall enough so that the light illuminates your reading materials.  Selecting the lamp height is the easy part.  Look at the lamps that I have in my living room and master bedroom:

See how the height provides light for reading on the sofa.

The height of this lamp allows for reading in bed.

How do you pick the right style of lamp for your space?  You have to figure out your style--is it traditional, transitional, contemporary, or modern?  You don't want to place a traditional style lamp in a contemporary space and vice versa.  My living room is borderline traditional/transitional.  The space is not as stuffy as a traditional room but not as relaxed as a transitional space.  Here is an example of a traditional space:

This space has "traditional" written all over it!

Now here is a good example of a transitional space:

Notice that this space is more relaxed--think Pottery Barn

Notice the lamps in both spaces and how the lamp style matches the style of the rooms.  If you noticed, I have transitional-style lamps in my traditional-style master bedroom.  I wanted to bring the formality of the space down a notch, so I selected transitional lamps for the space.  A contemporary or modern lamp would not have worked in the space.

If you have a traditional style living room or master bedroom, here are a few examples of traditional style lamps:


If your space is transitional, look for lamps styled similar to these.  It's all about the shade and the base that define a transitional lamp.

Since I've been in my home, I've purchased new lamps for my living room and master bedroom.  My first set of lamps for my living room were way too small. Check out my post, "My Evolving Living Room" on this blog.  The lamps for my master bedroom were traditional, but the lamp height was not good for reading and the base had no substance.  Check out my earlier post (The Proper Scale for Accessories) on this blog to see the first set up lamps.  I would not use candlestick lamps in my living room or bedroom.  I like candlestick lamps, but I think they work better on a buffet  or console table.

I challenge you to take a look at the lamps in your spaces.  If you have the wrong lamps for your spaces, it's time to change them.  You won't believe the transformation.


  1. Michelle this was such a helpful post. Thanks and have a happy Thanksgiving... :)

    1. That's great Dee! I hope you can use this information when you start looking for lamps. Happy Thanksgiving to you also!