There is a similarity between the height of a floor lamp, and an end table with a lamp on it. Floor lamps, measured from bottom of base, to top of finial, if they have one, are usually 58 to 64 inches high.
When paring an end table, with a table lamp, the combined height of the two should also be 58 to 64 inches high. (The same height of the floor lamp).
At different points in time, different heights for end tables and lamp combinations were considered fashionable. In 1972 my Mother paired, what was then fashionable, a 19 inch high Mediterranean styled end table with a 44 inch high table lamp. In 1983, in my first house, I paired a Chinoiserie decorated Parson styled end table, that was 24 1/2 inches high with a 33 1/2 inch tall table lamp. Today end tables are running anywhere from 27 to 30 inches high, and are being paired with a 30 to 36 inch table lamp. No matter what the trendy style of the moment is, the combined height of the table lamp and end table stays the same 58 to 64 inches. (see illustration 1 showing comparison of floor lamp and end table combinations over the years).
The main reason for uniformity of lamp heights (end table with lamp, or floor lamp) is that you want the eye to move across the room in one even sweep. You don’t want it to jerk up and down from a high light source to a low one.
If you have a high chest in a room, and want to place a light fixture on it, pick a diminutive accent lamp for the spot. Still try to stay, if possible, in that 58 to 64 inch range. It is OK to not be perfect, but try to go close as possible. If you are putting accent lamps on a fireplace mantle keep them kind of short, but don’t worry about lining them up with the table and floor lamps used in the room. The fireplace is a focal point of a room, and having lighting positioned higher in the room there, is not a problem.
Since I am on end tables, …when picking an end table to go along side a sofa or chair, pick one that is the same height, as the height of the arm of the sofa or chair. The reasoning here is that if a person is seated and holding a drink, they can easily move their arm sideways and place the drink on the end table. (see illustration 2).
If a person is putting end tables along side of a bed, try to match them up with the height of the mattress and box spring put into the bed frame. (see illustration 3). Match the end table along side a bed, with a lamp, that when they are combined, their height is also 58 to 64 inches.
Finally, it is OK to have an end table with a lamp on it, on one side of a sofa, and a floor lamp, by itself on the other. You can flank a sofa with two unmatched end tables for shape and height. You can pair the tables with mismatched lamps of different heights and shapes, as long as the lamps and end tables measurements combined, are the same on both sides of the sofa. (58 to 64 inches). It is also OK to have 2 floor lamps flank a sofa, if there is no space for end tables.
Now go through high-end decorating magazines. Notice how different lamps and end tables are combined in those rooms.
Companion Posts ..Interior Decorating with ACCENT LAMPS, 12-5-2012, Interior Decorating with TABLE LAMPS 12-12-2012, Interior Decorating with BUFFET LAMPS 12-19-2012, The answer to ..Can you put a Floor Lamp next to a Sofa? 10-4-2012,
The Right way to hang Curtains and Drapes. 5-3-2011, Pick (Use) four colors when decorating a room. 3-7-2011. ,Interior Decorating is all about Equal Balance 2-27-2011 ,When Decorating a Beige Room, think Tones, Textures and Sculptural Interest 3-16-2011, Looking at Patterns used on Upholstery Fabric, Drapes, Wallpaper and Carpeting 3-10-2012