Interior Decorating with BUFFET LAMPS

The difference between Accent, Table and Buffet Lamps

The difference between Accent, Table and Buffet Lamps

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

Buffet Lamps (sometimes called console lamps, or candlestick lamps) are light fixtures that are tall. They usually stand 32 to 36 inches high, which is a measurement from their base to the top of the shade, or finial, if the lamp has one. Buffet lamps have a narrow base silhouette, often looking like a thin column or candlestick, with a smallish shade.

Buffet lamp shades often have base dimensions about 12 inches or less, which is the size of an accent lamp shade. Buffet lamps take a 75-watt bulb or less, depending on the width dimension of the shade which puts them in, or a little above the wattage used on an accent lamp. A pair of large shaded buffet lamps, with 150-watts of light between them can illuminate the same amount of space as one 150-watt table lamp.

Shorter versions of buffet lamps, which stand 24 to about 30 inches tall are also sometimes called candlestick lamps because of the candlestick shape of their base. The shorter styled candlestick-buffet lamps takes most often a 60-watt bulb. Candlestick lamps that stand 14, 18 or less than 24 inches, because of their shorter height should be considered an accent lamp.

Buffet lamps, as their name suggest, can be used on a buffet, some lowish chests, bedroom dressers, pedestals, hall console tables( credenza), and on sofa tables, etc. When interior decorating with buffet lamps, try to keep the combined height of the lamp and surface it is placed on in the 58 to 64 inch range. This is especially important if you use them in a room where you also have table and floor lamps. The reasoning for that is, you want the eye to move horizontally across the room from the top of one lamp shade to another without going up or down too much.

If you are using buffet lamps in, let’s say, a dining room, or front hall on a console table, where you have no other light fixtures (table lamp or floor lamp) to compare them to for height, it’s OK for them to be a bit taller. Just make sure they are not soo tall that you can look up into the bottom of the shade and see the exposed light bulb.

Finally, buffet lamps with transparent shades in colors like white, cream, beige, etc will emit light out through the shade, as well as down through the bottom and up through the top. Buffet lamps with dark toned shades in colors like black, burgundy, dark green, navy blue and metallic finishes will only direct light upward toward the ceiling, and downward toward the surface they are placed on.

So there you have it, a look at the three kinds of table placed lamps (accent, table and buffet), that you can work with when interior decorating your house. I hope that you try to incorporate all three styles of lamps into your home’s decor, because diversity of lamp styles provides visual interest in an environment. I now suggest that you start looking through interior decorating magazine to see how professional decorators have used the different light fixtures in the rooms they created.

Companion Posts ..Interior Decorating with ACCENT LAMPS 12-5-2012, Interior Decorating with TABLE LAMPS 12-12-2012, The answer to..Can you put a Floor Lamp next to a Sofa? 10-4-2012, The Right height of a Table Lamp for your End Table 5-19-2011


About fredgonsowskigardenhome

Your eyes deserve to view beauty. I hope Fred Gonsowski Garden Home helps to turn your vision, into a reality.
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16 Responses to Interior Decorating with BUFFET LAMPS

  1. Hello. I have a buffet in my entryway that is 43″ L x 22″ W x 43″ H. The ceilings are a little over 9 feet tall. So far I’ve had buffet lamps there that are around 29″ – you can’t see the light bulb, thank goodness. Do you recommend staying with this height (no other lamps in space, obviously) or do you recommend something shorter to comply with the 58-64 inch rule? Any help appreciated!

    • Hi there Tori, I would say leave the buffet lamps that you have, as they are in a hallway. Lamps that tall would also be fine in a dining room, as there are probably no other lamps in the room, other than maybe wall sconces and a chandelier. The premise of the 58 to 64 inches really pertains to living room spaces so that the eye does not go up and drop as it travels from one light fixture to the other. If you had buffet lamps on a sofa table behind a sofa, in a living room, and there are also table lamps and floor lamps in the room, then I would want them in the 58 to 64 inch range. Have you looked at my post Hanging Pictures around a room, that post will get you thinking about adding something over the buffet, and lining the top of the art object with either the bottom or top of the molding around the door(s) or even windows in the room. Also look at Bunny Williams new Studio at her Falls Village Connecticut Estate, look at how she stacked artwork from floor to the inside edge of the molding of the doorways of the front hall. By doing that the eye moves from one horizontal spot to the other. In some parts of the room, bottoms of artworks also line up with other things in the space. and finally It’s Easy to Decorate a Room with a Tall /High Ceiling. A Bridge unites a Tablescape and Wall Decor might also be of interest. Hope those posts are inspiring in some way.

      • Fred, wow! Thank you very much for such a thoughtful and comprehensive response. Lots of good ideas to think through here! Again, my deepest thanks. I refer to your blog often from here in Dallas, TX! Best wishes!

  2. Paula Alonzi says:

    Hello and Happy New Year! I would so appreciate your advice on getting new and keeping old in my living room. I still love the Hekman campaign tables (21″ ht.) but realize the Cooper lamps are too short (is 58″ still the minimum if seat height is 17″?) but I could get taller harps if the lamps can work. Sofa table (55.5″x15.5″27″) was too small for space–chairs seem to help but need a lamp. Would like to do an interesting accent lamp but, alas, it will likely be too short. I’d like to move away from Asian to a more eclectic British Colonial leaning (more travel than botanicals). Is this possible or will there be very little “keeping old”? Thank you very much for any perspective you can share. Best to you!

  3. Susie says:

    Hi Fred,
    Your posts are always so helpful, but I’m still a little paralyzed about choosing a lamp for my entry. It will be on a 42” round table (standard dining height), that sits next to a club chair in an alcove at the bottom of a stairway. It won’t be a reading lamp per se, just more for ambiance. The chair is used mostly to sit and put on shoes. No other lamps in the room, so do I stay with the 58-64” rule (which would mean a 28-34” lamp)? Or do I go larger (it’s a big table)? I want it to look balanced. Thanks so much,

    • Hi there Susie, First of all I see that your made your comment on working with Buffet Lamps; those lamps and candle stick shaped lamps have the thinnest of all bases, and really can’t stand up to too much. I want you to look at my post titled Looking at the Different Shapes of Lamp Bases. I want you to look at the Urn shaped bases. For the 42″ round table I think you need something substantial (base wise) to stand up to the width of the table, and the urn shape is the most strong. I think you should still keep your lamp and table combination in the 58-64″ realm.

      Susie have you looked at my post titled Matching the Right Shaped End Table with a Table Lamp, that post has visuals that will help.

      I hope my suggestion is helpful, good luck with your decorating project.

      • Susie says:

        Thank you Fred! Those were great posts. Thanks for referring me to them. I really appreciate your help. I will give the urn shaped lamp a try (have a nice one that was my mother’s).

      • Hi there Susie, I think it’s great that you have your mother’s lamp. First of all, using it will not cost you anything, and it has sentimental value. Secondly, if the lamp does not look right to you, you can go out and try something else. Just make sure that whatever you get, if you do decide to buy something new, is that if it does not work well visually, that you can bring it back for a full refund. Good luck with your decorating project;-}

  4. Rebecca R says:

    Greetings, Fred! I just discovered your site after searching for advice on decorating with buffet lamps (I just bought a gorgeous vintage pair that I will likely use in my dining room). Wow!!! I feel like the proverbial kid in the candy shop looking at the listing of your past posts and archives. Your expertise and ability to illuminate design concepts make your posts exceptional. I am a design enthusiast, having worked as a graphic designer, read many books about interior design, and having had the privilege of furnishing and decorating two homes thus far for my little family — but I had never before heard the notion emphasized of keeping the tops of lamps within a similar height range throughout a room to preserve visual lines. It makes so much sense though. I have devoured all your posts so far about buffet, accent and table lamps and stopped only to write this comment 🙂 I can’t wait to read more!

    Your collective illustrations belong in a book, as others have mentioned! They are so informative and beautiful. I can see this blog is a labor of love for you; thank you so much for putting it out into the world and making all of our homes and lives a bit more thoughtful and beautiful. I’m going to tell my dear design-addicted mother-in-law about your site immediately, as I know she will love it too!

    • Hi there Rebecca, glad to have been of help. As for doing a book, I would love it, but no one, so far, from a legitimate publishing company has ever come forward and approached me. I’ve so far had over two million people read my posts three million five hundred thousand times. But as for commenting, I’ve had less than three thousand comments all together so far, since starting this website. People from all over the world have read my articles, but few ever give me any kind of feed back, Rebecca, you are an exception, thank you and Happy Holidays!

  5. Marylynn Swartz says:

    What kind of buffet lamps would you have on an 80” long , light wood, nine drawer dresser

  6. Shelly Tong says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your insight with us. I was trying to decide which buffet lamps to use on my dining room buffet, when I came across your amazing blog. You helped me to make an informed and thoughtful decision. Your information helped finish the room perfectly. Thank you again! I will be keeping up with all your posts from now on.

    • Hi there Shelly, I’ve covered a lot of interior decorating topic, over the years. If you look at the right side of my website, you will see the word CATEGORIES. Under that are titles of many different areas of interior decorating. Click on those different titles, and every article, that I’ve written about are there. Click on a title of your choice, and that article will open for you to read. Happy 2022 to you and thanks for your comment. If you’re on Instagram, follow me @FredGonsowskiGardenHome .com to see what I’m up to.

  7. Pingback: 19 Completely different Varieties Of Lamps Shed Gentle on Residence Décor Choices - KitchenDyes

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