In the first post for this series, Looking at the Different Shapes of Lamps Bases (click here to read that post), I went over the four different styles all lamp bases fall into, no matter if they are country, traditional, transitional or contemporary styled. This post is all about looking at the end tables you will be placing lamps on, and studying visual weights.
In the world of end tables there are basically two styles, “with and without legs“. Illustration 1 shows a few examples of end tables that are in styles from traditional (antique looking) to modern that have thin or delicate legs. Notice how light and airy they all seem to be, and how you can easily see under them. The best kinds of table lamps to put on these tables also look light of weight, and could possibly be a lamp with a candlestick styled base, but most likely a lamp with a pillar or torch styled base would work best. At the end of this illustrations are examples of these lamps bases.
Illustration 2 shows a number of chest styled end tables; which have short or no legs. Look at how solid and heavy-looking they are because you can’t see through or under them. The best types of table lamps to pair with this style of table is also visually heavy-looking. You could possibly use a lamp with a pillar styled base if it is kind of thick looking, but the torch styled, inverted torch and urn styled bases would be your best bet. Examples of these styles of lamp bases are at the end of the illustration.
Illustration 3 shows examples of end tables that are a cross between the light and airy styles shown in illustration 1, and have some of the heaviness that the chest styled end tables in illustration 2 possess. These end tables have either a lower shelf or stretchers as part of their design. The presence of the lower shelf or stretcher adds more visual weight to these tables. End tables that fall into this style category, which are somewhat visually heavy-looking, but you can still see through their lower part, would best be paired with a table lamp that has some visual weight itself. A lamp with a base that is possibly pillar styled, but a torch or inverted torch and some less heavy (not too wide) urn shaped lamp bases would work best. Examples of these styles of bases are seen at the end of illustration 2.
Next look at illustrations 4. The first drawing 4-A shows an end table with a lamp that has a candlestick or pillar styled base on it. Notice how the lamp has a thin base silhouette and the end table also has thin legs. There is a balance of visually lightness there, as both the lamp and table are both light and airy looking. (The only part of the end table that has any visual weight is in the area of the drawer).
Illustration 4-B shows an end table with a lamp that is too visually heavy for it. In 4-B the balance is off. The lamp is a lot heavy-looking than the table, and the table does not have enough visually mass to support the lamp placed on it.
If you have a heavy lamp sitting on a delicate end table as you are reading this, don’t fret. Stick something under the end table, between its legs, as show in illustrations 4-C and 4-D to fill in the airy space, that possesses some visual weight. A stack of decorative boxes, largish Chinese vase, stone garden sculpture or large basket filled with silk greenery are some possible choices.
The flip side of having a heavy lamp on a visually light looking table is having a heavy-looking end table with a too delicate looking lamp on it. If you have a candlestick or thinnish silhouetted pillar styled lamp on a chest styled end table, to beef up its visual weight, pair the lamp with other objects that possess some visual weight. You could (1) put a largish plate on a display holder next to the thin silhouetted lamp, (2) put a small but solid-looking sculpture, or a small compact flower arrangement next to the lamp, or (3) any other kinds of objects that you can think of that will add visual weight to the composition where the delicate based lamp is the main piece in that grouping.
Different manufacturers and designers of furniture design their pieces different ways. One might style the legs and silhouette of the pieces thin, simple and delicate, while another might work boldly, thickening the legs and overall shape, plus adding carving. Illustration 5 shows two end tables that are the same kind of style, one is light and airy, while the other is heavy. They are paired with an appropriate thickness of lamp base of them.
Finally, after reading the two articles that cover this topic, there is one more thing that you have to thing about when pairing a table lamp with an end table, my May 19, 2011 post titled The Right Height of Table Lamp for your End Table covers that. To read that post click here.
Companion Posts ..The answer to..”Can you put a Floor Lamp nest to a Soft?” 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