Interior Decorating with TABLE LAMPS

Table Lamps, the most used source of lighting in interior decorating

Table Lamps, the most used source of lighting in interior decorating

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 second in a series of three articles covering the different kinds of lamps.

Table Lamps ..The number 24 designates the amount of inches for height, from where an accent lamp ends and a table lamp begins. In the first post for this series Interior Decorating with ACCENT LAMPS (click on title to read), I wrote accent lamps can be 24 inches high from base to finial, if it has one, but most accent lamps are 22 inches high or shorter. Table Lamps on the other hand start at 24 inches and go up to about 36 inches high which is the measurement from the bottom of the base to the top of the finial if the lamp has one.

The table lamps is probably the number one source of lighting in a room; followed by the floor lamp, and then the accent lamp, with the buffet lamp used only on occasion. Table lamps are used next to a sofa or chair, on bedside tables, low chests and on sofa tables. They usually have a three-way switch / socket that holds a 150-watt bulb.

Table lamps have shades with base diameters that are anywhere from 18 to 23 inches wide. Though, a 24 inch tall lamp, with a small shade that has a 17 inch wide diameter, is on the border line between being a table lamp and an accent lamp. This is due to the width of the shade.

Oval and rectangular shaped shades can put a table lamp into the accent lamp category due to base measurements. The table lamp’s shade might be the proper width dimension, but the narrow depth of the oval or rectangular shade puts it into the accent lamp category.

Table lamps with shades in colors like black, burgundy, dark green or navy which don’t allow light to emit out through them, but only direct light up to the ceiling or down toward the floor should also only be looked at as accent lamps.

In my 5-19-2012 post titled The Right Height of table lamp for your end table I wrote about how when matching an end table and table lamp, their combined height should be 58 to 64 inches.

So there you have it, the basics that you should know when it comes to Table Lamps. Hope this post inspired you.

Companion Post
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


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.

15 Responses to Interior Decorating with TABLE LAMPS

  1. Erin says:

    Useful info about selecting a height of lamp to combine with your tables for a total of 58-64″. Thanks!

  2. Irma says:

    Hi. I’m very glad I found your blog. I like the topics, the way you explain and describe, the format, the pictures, steps, and style.

    • Hi there and Thank You Irma for your comment. Here at FGGH, i try my best to write things really easy, the way I want to read them myself. Too often people write for their so-called equals (people who already know the subject). I write for people like my sister, friends, neighbors and anyone else who has some interest in a certain subject, and wants to get a job done. I want to empower my readers, so they can calmly do a project, and get on with their lives. Maybe after reading my posts a decorating or gardening enthusiast will be born.

  3. MJ says:

    I just discovered your site and think it is absolutely FANTASTIC! I have spent entirely too much time surfing and reading through many decorating sites and articles (while neglecting taking care of responsibilities in exchange for the pleasure of perusing); and, in my opinion thus far, none compare to yours. I would need to take more time than I presently have available to really draw out and describe all that I like about your articles; but, to simply list some immediately occurring ones: each article is concise, i.e. brief, yet packed with both theoretically informative and practically useable information; the diagrams enhance the articles, and, in turn, the descriptions enable one to see things in the diagrams that one initially might have missed; the articles somehow are a combination of simple yet in-depth at the same time; and, the writing style is enjoyable.

    As mentioned, I just discovered your site, so I may well be missing it, but I have not yet found an article about selecting lamp shades (seemingly especially regarding size, but also shape, and all those other categories that your education and experience would lead you to discuss). You so well covered tables and lamps; I’m hungering for something on shades.

    So, would you please either direct me to an existing article, or, consider writing – and drawing! – one on this topic of lamp shades.

    Thank you for all that you already have published and for your consideration of my request to add another aspect to your already helpful lighting series.

    I did not find (but, again, may have thus far missed) a way to simply contact you – as with my above request. I only found the ability to “comment” about a pre-existing article, as opposed to asking a “free-standing” question. Again, if there already is a way to simply contact you, would you please guide me to it; and, if there is no “question box,” perhaps you might consider adding one (although, I understand that doing so might be opening a Pandora’s box of sorts, and that you might prefer limiting readers to comments, as I imagine you probably are already rather inundated by plenty of feedback). Again, thank you for your response to this second, more site-oriented, than article-oriented, comment.

    • Hi there MJ, First of all thank you for your OH too LOVELY comments! When I write something, I’m writing the articles for my next door neighbor, the person who works at the grocery store, my sister and her NOT ARTISTIC friends, and everyday people just like me. I write things, to the best of my ability, as I would like to read them myself, if I were wanting to know something about a certain topic (easy to follow, no fancy words, and written not for a persons equals in some kind of business, but for a person who knows nothing about the topic and is possibly a bit scarred).

      This blog is the coming together of all the things that have always interested me; my love/interest of interior decorating, my love of artwork and making pictures, my love of gardening and now a love I never knew I had, which is just like making a picture, writing. You make a picture with paints, you paint a picture with words. I am making pictures with words that I hope inspire my readers.

      As for the Lamp Shade post, others have asked for it before. Sad to say I never studied up on that topic, as I never had to do it myself. When I needed some new lamp shades, years ago, I went to a lighting place (lamp store), taking my table lamp and floor lamp bases with me and the sales person showed me some options that would work, and I picked from them. I know a lot of things about interior decorating, as that topic always interested me, but I’m self taught. I have a bachelors degree in art, if you read my bio (click here) and understand the concepts of design having studied them. Most / practically all of the topics I’ve written about I’ve done one way or another in the two houses I’ve owned, or other topic’s I’ve written about are inspired from projects I’ve done helping others. If I am interested in a certain topic, I look through many interior decorating books and magazines, looking for a constant repetition of the thing I want to write about, and after seeing it done many time by the pros, I write it here. If you read enough of my posts, I’ve in the past said now look through upscale decorating magazines to see what I’m covering here, This blog is about inspiring people, taking the fear out of the projects with hopefully “easy to follow” step by step instructions, so the reader can get the project done, and go on with their life.

      As for a direct contact to me, I do not want to take on questions from the masses. This is, at this point in my life, a hobby, and I want to keep it that way. I don’t get paid for the things I write. For the over five hundred thousand articles read to date, I’ve gotten about 400 comments for all the information I’ve told the world. No comments says to me I’ve covered the topic enough for my readers. Those comments were questions pertaining to the different articles I wrote. If I could answer the question it broadened the amount of information that the original article had, so maybe the new information would help the next person reading that topic.

      I hope I covered everything that you wanted to know, thanks for your comment;-}

  4. MonW says:

    Thank you so much for explaining and showing the differences in lamps. I do understand how much time is used for reasearching the topic, creating the images, and writing for each column.
    You explained the issue I had with a pair of 22″ lamps in a room with a very large table lamp on a higher side table. Loved the shape of the pair, but they looked so puny. Your articles explained the height issue and I’ve since swapped in some far more appropriate lamps I thrifted and redid.

    I will wish as the others have for a series on lampshades. Your skill at distilling the lamp bases would be amazing in a pairing with their partner shades.
    With my thrifted lamps(never with a shade) and some family lamps that needed new shades, I spent much time hunting online for tips on choosing a shade. Not an easy process or inexpensive to learn during the process. Certain shades work well on specific lamp bases, and poorly on others. And taking your base to the shade shop is the best idea.
    I created a spreadsheet to force me to enter my lamp base measurements and then calculate in rounded numbers the range of good possible dimensions for the shade. Not perfect, but a starting point. If more of your friends and neighbors understood the types of shades, etc., we all might be more able to avoid the massive drum shade bandwagon. You touched on the shade colors with the accent lamp shades being fully opaque.

    Now, I’m off to consider non-clip on shades for two more family lamps (more accent than table).

    Reminds me, where do desk lamps fall in your lamp types? Table or accent or both?

  5. Alice says:

    Hi Fred,

    I read what you had to say about height in regard to table lamps, but I am confused about my situation. I want to buy these two table lamps for my nightstands, but I fear they will not look right. The lamp is 12″ W X 12″ D X 33″ H. The nightstands are 28″ W X 20″ D X 28″ H. According to your advice and my calculations, the combined height of the table and the lamp is 61″. It appears the lamp would be OK (you said the combined height can be up to 64″), but I have my doubts. I feel the lamp would look too long and thin on the night table. What do you think?

  6. robert says:

    I love this site. My end tables are black in color. What color lamp base would you recommend?

    • Hi there Robert, it all depends on what other colors you have in the room. Gold/brass would be warm looking, brushed nickel would be modern and cool, an aged bronze would be strong and manly, a colored lamp base that pulls the colors from fabrics in you room is another consideration. Look for something that smiles at you and calls to you to take it home. I don’t think I would do anything clear glass or too delicate looking, (just guessing not seeing your room and tables), as the end tables, being black, have visual weight to them, and have to be counterbalances by something that has some weight of its own and can stand up to the tables they are sitting on. Did you read the companion post Matching the Right shaped End Table with a Table Lamp, that might give you some ideas and Looking at the Different Shapes of Lamp Bases . The number one thing that you must get right is picking The Right Height of Table Lamp for your End Table. Robert I hope my suggestions are helpful, good luck with your decorating project ;-}

  7. I bought a lamp I loved for our casual living room. However, they had only one (it was a great price). My problem is finding a lamp to flank it with at the other end of our sectional sofa. Can you provide some guidance on selecting coordinating, but very different, lamps please.
    Thanks! Jeanie Taylor

  8. Debra says:

    Thank you so much!

  9. kevin says:

    For the nightstands that host lamps, the 58-64″ is in most cases, MUCH too high. Goodness, consider some of these more contemporary designs of headboards/beds where the bed ITSELF is low to the floor & the headboard exceeding the height of the pillows on your mattress set by a few inches…the LAMPS would TOWER above e/thing & dwarf the bed itself. The truth being, that there are no hard set rules with the overall height, & if you’re out to select lamps based on that TALL 58-64 “rule”, it’s advise that should be shunned.

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