Interior Decorating with ACCENT LAMPS

Accent Lamps, short in stature, but can emit a lot of light

Accent Lamps, short in stature, but can emit a lot of light

In the world of surface placed lamps (end table, chest, dresser, etc) there are three categories; they are Accent, Table and Buffet. This is the first post in a series of three articles covering the different kinds of lamps.

Accent Lamps are the smallest of the three different kinds of lamps, they can be 24 inches high, but are often 22 inches high or less. The measurement for the height of an accent lamp is taken from the bottom of its base to the top of its shade or finial if the lamp has one.

Accent lamps usually have one socket that takes a 60-watt bulb or lower. Being low-wattage, accent lamps are used to produce more romantic / ambiance light, versus being major light sources in a room.

Some manufacturers of small sized accent lamps have beefed up their light emitting ability by putting twin pull sockets, under the shade, that hold two 60-watt light bulbs. By designing them that way, they have given the accent lamp the ability to be romantic and ambiance producing with one light lit, or with two lights lit, it can produce the same amount of light as a table lamp.

Accent lamps usually have a small shade with dimensions anywhere from about 6 to 14 inches wide, and shade heights from about 5 to 11 inches tall. Accent lamps that have shades wider that 14 inches and taller than 11 inches start to cross over into the world of the table lamp.

Accent lamps with 60-watts of illumination or less can be placed on tall chests, buffets, pianos, sideboards, dressers, night stands, fireplace mantles, hall tables, counters, or any dark place where a little extra illumination is needed. If an accent lamp has beefed up light emitting ability (two 60-watt bulbs under its shade) it can easily be used as a source of room illumination along with table and floor lamps.

On occasion you will see a table lamp with a dark toned shade in a color like black, burgundy, navy blue, or dark green. With shades like that, those taller light fixtures only send light up toward the ceiling, or down toward the floor, but not directly through the shade itself. Because of the minimal to no light emitting out through the shade to illuminate the room, consider those taller light fixtures accent lamps.

Some ideas for placing accent lamps throughout the house

Some ideas for placing accent lamps throughout the house

Illustrations 2A-F show different surfaces where you can possibly place an accent lamp. Notice how in all / most of the illustrations the tops of the different lamp shades all line up with each other as you look across the illustrations.

Illustrations 2G-I show that no matter how high an end table, sofa table, chest, etc is, that you place a table lamp or accent lamp on, their combined height should always (to the best of your ability) match the height of the floor lamp, which is 58 to 64 inches tall. The reasoning for that is, you want the eye to move from the top of one lamp shade to another, in one continuous horizontal movement. You don’t want the eye to go up and down, as it travels across the room from one light source to another.

In my post titled The Right height of a Table Lamp for your End Table, I write about how different end table and lamp combinations have been fashionable over the years, and how they all relate to the height of the floor lamp. (Click here to read that post). That post goes further into explaining decorating with lamps.

Companion Post on Fred Gonsowski Garden

Interior Decorating with TABLE LAMPS 12-12-2012,
Interior Decorating with BUFFET Lamps 12-19-2012,
Looking at Different Shapes of Lamp Bases 12-20-2013,
The Right Height of Table Lamp for your End Table 5-19-2011,
Matching the Right Shape End Table with a Table Lamp 1-12-2014,
The answer to..Can you put a Floor Lamp next to a Sofa”? 10-4-2012.

Hanging Curtains and Drapes
The Right way to Hang Curtains and Drapes 5-3-2011,

Interior Decorating Concepts
Interior Decorating is ALL about Equal Balance 2-27-2011,
Pick (Use) Four colors when Decorating a Room 3-7-2011,
Arranging Your Decorative Accessories (Knickknacks and Collectables) 6-7-2011,
Arranging Decorative Accessories on a Sofa Table, Buffer, Sideboard or Credenza 3-10-2015,
It’s Easy to Decorate a Room with a Tall/High Ceiling 2-3-2013,
Color Theory..When Interior Decorating a room, Remember WOOD is a color too 3-9-2013,

Hanging Pictures and Mirrors
Picking and Hanging the Right size Picture or Mirror over your Fireplace 6-23-2011,
It’s Easy to make a Grouping of Pictures 6-29-2011,
Making an interesting Arrangement of Pictures 7-8-2011,
It’s Easy to Hang Pictures up on the Wall 7-17-2011,
Hanging Pictures around a Room 8-3-2011,
Hanging Pictures over a Sofa 9-12-2011,
Step-by-Step instructions for Hanging a Gallery Wall 2-15-2015,
Hanging a Collection of Plates/Dishes up on the Wall 1-19-2013,

Arranging Furniture
Arranging Living Room furniture, so Sofas talk to Chairs, like the Pros do 9-7-2012,
Arranging furniture TWELVE different ways in the Same Room 9-15-2012,
Arranging furniture in a 12 foot wide by 24 foot long living room 2-5-2014
Arranging furniture around a Fireplace in the Corner of a Room 9-29-2012,
It’s Easy to arrange furniture in a Square Living Room, some ideas that will inspire you 11-29-2013,
When buying Living Room Furniture, FORGET the Loveseat, buy two Wing, Club or Occasional Chairs instead 10-13-2012,
Arranging Furniture in a 15 foot wide by 25 foot long Bedroom 1-24-2016,
Floating (Arranging) furniture in a 20 foot long by 20 foot wide Living Room 1-29-2017,

Working with Patterns in Interior Decorating
Looking at Patterns used in interior decorating used on Fabrics, Drapes, Wallpaper and Carpeting 3-10-2012,
Interior Decorating..Looking at the Different Sizes of Patterns used on Wallpaper and Fabrics 3-20-2012,
Mixing and Matching Fabric and Wallpaper Patterns 4-13-2012,


About fredgonsowskigardenhome

Your eyes deserve to view beauty. I hope Fred Gonsowski Garden Home helps to turn your vision, into a reality.
This entry was posted in Interior Decorating Principles, Lighting. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Interior Decorating with ACCENT LAMPS

  1. Verna says:

    Love this new information as well as your other related posts. Keep up the good work!

  2. MJ says:

    Is there ANY possible way to use a reportedly (by on-line seller) 16″ tall (base to finial) ginger jar lamp on a 30″ high console table? Since the total of these two measurements is a foot shy of the necessary minimum of 58″, and since I feel certain one could not use THAT many books to elevate the littlle lamp, I don’t suppose there is any way to manage this; but, I’m hoping that you might know some other trick of the trade that could make this work.

    Thank you for your help.

    • MJ says:

      P.S. Should also have said that this desired lamp/table combination is not in a room by itself; it potentially would be with two other lamps that I should be able to properly align at about 58 “- 60″. The two other lamps (table lamp on end table between chair and couch, and floor lamp with chairside table at other end of couch) would be on the wall at ninety degrees to the left of the wall that potentially would have the desired lamp/table combination. Although the two lamps would be separated from the one lamp, the separation really wouldn’t amount to much as the room is only about 15’7″ x 11’3”.

      Thanks, again.

      • Hi there MJ.. I have a craft project of sorts for you. I want you to tape together two rulers so their combined length is 16 inches tall. Then I want you to put the rule in a tall vase. If you need to, take some newspapers and wad them up and put them around the ruler to keep it straight. After that take a paper cup and invert it and put it on/over the end of the ruler. You have just made a mock lamp. Now put it on the end table and you will be able to see just what something that size and about that shape looks like. I’m not going to say don’t buy it, if you really like it, but accent lamps are supposed to be placed on taller stands, so they are a bit higher up in the air space. If the lamp was your mother’s lamp or your grandmother’s lamp or something that was a treasure of a loved one, I would probably tell you forget the rules, and live with it because it was something from someone special, but since you are thinking about buying it, I can’t tell you that. I have many times put something that was a certain size in a certain place to see if something that I thought about, would look good in that space. Best of luck with your project ;-}

  3. Chase says:

    I have another question. Are there any rules for accent lamps placed on a bathroom counter? Or placed on an accent table at the very back wall of a dark hallway? What about placing an accent lamp on the bumped out ledge created from a basement foundation? I’m just curious if the 58″-64″ rule still should apply.

    • Hi there Chase, I’m not the Decorating Police, so if you want to not follow the rules it’s up to you. But I will “arrest” you, being forced to be the Decorating Police here, if you ever put accent lamps on a bathroom counter, especially if it is by water. Electricity and water don’t mix, and I don’t want to hear something happened to you or someone else. The premise of the matched heights of lamps is that the eye moves from the top to one lamp to another, without dropping down too much. So now go out there and decorate!

  4. Hi!

    I’m an editor for BuzzFeed and I love your site! We’d love to include the second illustration in this post (with full credit and a prominent link back to this post on your site) in a BuzzFeed roundup of ways to make your home a little happier.

    And potentially use other illustrations or photos of yours in posts in the future. Would that be OK with you? Let me know, and thanks!

    Natalie Brown

  5. Hi there Everyone, BuzzFeed has included this article in their post titled “21 Little Changes That’ll Make Your Space So Much More Homier”, here is the Direct Link to that piece

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