When it comes to looking at different styles of lamps, the two things that make them distinctive are the shape of their bases and their height. This post is about lamp bases.
When it comes to lamp bases, there are basically four distinctive shapes and I’ve come up with words to describe them; they are candlestick, pillar, torch and urn. The shape that is classified as candlestick has the thinnest silhouette, with pillar and torch becoming progressively wider, and urn having the thickest / widest base silhouette of them all. In lamp base design, different shapes are not designated to certain categories; some of the shapes overlap each other as they go from one category to another. A shape that is classified as candlestick might inspire something in pillar, and pillar might translate into torch, and torch might blend into urn. As said before, when looking at the four categories, each of the lamp bases are getting thicker and heavier looking. Now let’s look at the four different shapes of lamp bases.
Candlestick.. Just as the name implies, candlestick bases resemble candlesticks. They are tall, thin and upright in shape, and might be fluted, grooved, ribbed or just plain pole-like tubular shapes. The candlestick shaped base has the narrowest silhouette of the four lamp base styles. Now look at illustration 1 which shows some examples of candlestick bases for lamps.
Pillar.. Pillar or “column” is the second category of lamp bases. It has the same upright silhouette as the candlestick, but is thicker. Pillar or column shaped lamp bases take a lot of their inspiration from classical Greek or Roman columns. They can be fluted, ribbed or just tubular vertical shapes. Everything about pillar shaped lamp bases leads your eye upward. Now look at illustration 2 which shows some examples of pillar / column shaped lamp bases.
Torch.. When I think about this category, an ancient Greek Olympic runner’s torch comes to mind. You can easily see one of these lamp bases acting as a torch, topped by an Olympic flame. The inspiration for this style of lamp base is the upright cone. Occasionally the cone shape is flipped, causing an inverted torch shaped lamp base. Now look at illustration 3 which shows upright and some inverted examples of torch shaped lamp bases.
Urn.. An “urn” is a vessel that typically has the form of a vase on a pedestal. They are all thick looking and possess a lot of volume. The lamp bases in this category are diverse in style. They can be classified as classical, traditional, country or contemporary, and made of metal, wood, stone, ceramic, resin, or glass. Box and can shapes are also in this category because of their visual weight. Now look at illustration 4 which shows different examples of urn shaped lamp bases.
Exotic and Whimsical Lamp Bases.. Every so often you come across a lamp base that does not fit into one of the categories just discussed. The lamp does not look like a candlestick, pillar, torch or urn. It might be what I call a whimsical or exotic style. The subject of these shapes of lamp bases might be a horse, monkey, palm tree, Chinese people in period garb, dogs, cats, birds, or maybe even the head of Elvis. When trying to figure out which of the four categories the lamp base you are looking at fits into, ask yourself how thick of a piece it is. A palm tree might be tall and thin like a candlestick, a trio of monkeys standing one upon the others shoulders might be a pillar, a bird with a longish neck might suggest a torch (inverted), and Elvis’s head might say urn to you.
So there you have it, a look at the four different shapes which make up lamp bases. For more information about lamps, look at the different articles I’ve posted..
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,
Interior Decorating with ACCENT LAMPS 12-5-2012,
Interior Decorating with TABLE LAMPS 12-12-2012,
Interior Decorating with BUFFET LAMPS 12-19-2012.
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,
The Right Way to Hang Curtains and Drapes 5-3-2011
Yet another informative post. I hope in part two (or three) you cover how to best match the shade to the lamp and where the bottom of the shade should go. Btw, I love your illustrations. T
Thank you again Fred! Excellent. I’m looking forward to your next posts!
Would it be possible to add a Pinterest button so I can share all your great advice?
Hi there Kett, I have been pinned tens of thousands of times on Pinterest. If you search Fred Gonsowski or Fred Gonsowski Garden Home on Pinterest, you will see some of the pins. Not having my own page, new pins push off old pins on the page, but my pins are all the time on the pinner’s Pinterest pages. From this side of the blog, I can see where the pins come in from every day. Having a Pinterest account you should be able to copy the cover picture for the articles, and link my web site to it. As for figuring out how to add the pinterest button, I am not that computer literate, and just getting an article up for my readers to look at takes a lot of time. Looking at the more complicated posts that I post, they take sometimes
hoursdays to make the illustrations, not to mention writing the article itself, and typing in into WordPress. This is a hobby for me, and I don’t get paid for doing this project, and Kett, you are like one person in over a thousand who even comments to say the project worked for them, or to just say Hi. Even the thousands of Pinterest people might say on their sites “You should look at this site” to their followers, but they won’t even say Hi to me, but that is fine and in a way, them just pinning my site and articles is a shout out of approval, that I love from each and everyone of them. Thanks for your comment.
Hi Kett, with your encouragement (Thank You), and a bit of research, I now have Pinterest, Facebook, Tumbler and few other sharing options for my readers to use.
Teresa…I’m just sitting here and SMILING from ear to ear from your response ;-}
Your articles are indeed a great source of information that is presented in such a way that even the most confused decorators can decipher it and the cheerful illustrations are delightful. A big hug and thank you to you.
Hi there Cheryl, your dilemma seems to be one many people have. I am going to soon (in the near future) write a post about furnishing the 12’x24′ foot living room. As a kid my parents had a town house/row house that had two 12’x12′ living rooms or parlors next to each other. Some of the people on our street took down the walls and picket doors between the rooms and made one bigger space. It will be an interesting project to see how many different variations I can come up with laying out furniture in the spaces. And I will think back and put in all those extra doors, and all those windows that were in those spaces.
This was a very informative and useful article. Now that I have found you, I will now read many of your other articles. I recognized your name immediately because I have been enjoying “Where is My Rubber Ducky” nearly every day since I purchased it from you almost 40 years ago at the Saratoga Race Course.
I didn’t realize you lived near Saratoga! I spent some formative years in Scotia and Niskayuna and loved going to Saratoga! Small world.
Hi there Teresa, have you looked at Some Pictures of me Fred Gonsowski, Writer of this Blog, some photos of my Saratoga days ;-}
Hi there Lynn, have you looked at my post titled Fred Gonsowski Artwork, before the blog, a little something about my days as an artist ;-}