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How To Choose A Floor Lamp

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Floor lamps offer an amazing variety of styles, and they are versatile. In addition to providing light, they can add to the interior design of a home or add interest to an empty corner. Even better, they can be moved from room to room whenever needed.

Floor lamps provide three general layers of light: ambient, task and accent.

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What Do I Need to Know Before Shopping?

Know how tall a lamp you want.

An average floor lamp will be around 5 to 6 feet tall (1.5 to 1.8 meters). There are lamps 7 to 8 feet high (2 to 2.4 meters), but they are more difficult to find and should only be used with large rooms and high ceilings. Take the following into consideration:

Know how much space you have for the lamp.

What Are the Different Styles of Floor Lamps?

Also called a console floor lamp, the traditional lamp has a base, a pole, and a shade. It can be as basic as that, or it can be as elaborate as you want with the many variations of each element. Shades will vary to suit any décor, but most suitable are the cone-shaped empire shades that slope from the top to the bottom and cast light downward. The traditional lamp works with most decors, except modern or any minimalist styles. Provides ambient lighting.

Metal Iron Glass Marble Bell Traditional Torchiere Floor Lamp
Metal Brushed Nickel Empire Traditional Floor Lamp
Metal Matte Black Traditional Arched Floor Lamp
Black Metal Steel DrumTraditional Tree Floor Lamp
Metal Brushed Steel Drum Traditional Floor Lamp
Antique White Plastic Resin Drum Traditional Floor Lamp

The shelf floor lamp is a traditional lamp with a shelf around the mid-section of the pole. When placed next to a chair, the shelf lamp will stand in for an end table that keeps your books, magazines, eyeglasses, or keys handy. Some shelves are outfitted with USB connectors so that you have a charging station for your electronics. Provides ambient lighting.

White Wood LED Column Floor Lamp
Metal Glass Brushed Steel Column Floor Lamp
Manufactured Wood Metal Marble Base USB Port Tray Table Floor Lamp
Nickel Finish Metal Floor Lamp With Usb & Wireless Charger
Wood Metal USB Port Drum Column Floor Lamp
Metal Chrome USB Port Tray Table Floor Lamp

The arc floor lamp is quite trendy with its sweeping curved design. The pole of the arc rises up, arches, and bends back down. It works best in a contemporary setting but is provides a touch of glamour to any décor. Adjust the arc for task lighting as needed. Or spread it out for ambient lighting in a space with conversational seating or over a dining table.

Black With Burlap Shade Metal Stainless Steel Arched Floor Lamp
Metal Black Drum Arched Floor Lamp
Metal Steel Bowl Arched Floor Lamp
Metal Steel Marble Drum Arched Floor Lamp
Metal Bronze Bell Arched Floor Lamp
Copper Metal Steel Arched Floor Lamp

A reading floor lamp has a shade that tilts and a flexible arm so that, for example, the light is shining down over your shoulder. Some lamps adjust for height; some allow you to adjust the brightness setting. The light will be focused right where you want it for reading, writing, or needlework or illuminating a game table. Provides task lighting.

Metal Plated Powder Coated Iron Brass Reading Floor Lamp
Dark Antique Brass Metal Reading Floor Lamp
Metal Antique Brass Bell Reading Floor Lamp
Metal Brass Cone Reading Floor Lamp
Zadar Brass Metal Steel Reading Floor Lamp
Matte Metal Cone Reading Floor Lamp

A pharmacy floor lamp is a shorter version of a reading lamp. The pole is about four-to-five feet high, then becomes an arm or two that will pivot and swing out, depending on where you want the light directed, then fold out of the way when not in use. Pharmacy lamps are not seen as often as they were at one time, but it makes a whimsical and retro touch next to a chair or desk. Provides task lighting.

Natural Wood Metal Task Floor Lamp
Metal Iron Black Task Floor Lamp
Golden Black Metal Task Floor Lamp
Metal Nickel Task Floor Lamp
White Metal Chrome Cone Task Floor Lamp
White Metal Nickel Dimmer LED Task Floor Lamp

The tripod floor lamp adds both style and function to a mid-century décor. The three legs rise independently and intersect at, or slightly before, the lamp head, which looks best with a drum lampshade. Some lamps have legs that adjust for height; some have a lamp head that turns in the direction you want. Provides ambient lighting.

Matte Black Light Brown Wood Metal Stainless Steel Tripod Floor Lamp
Brown Beige Mariner Wood Tripod Floor Lamp
Metal Iron Round Tripod Floor Lamp
Black Gold Metal Steel Bowl Tripod Floor Lamp
Gold Metal Drum Tripod Floor Lamp
White Metallic Plastic Cone Round Tripod Floor Lamp

The torchiere floor lamp resembles a torch in that the light is directed upward toward the ceiling. Typically, a bowl-shaped shade is part of the lamp. When the light reflects off the ceiling, particularly when placed in a corner of the room, ambient light softly illuminates the whole area. A torchiere lamp can be used as accent lighting when directed at one element, such as a fireplace, or an object of interest, such as a painting or sculpture.

Metal Brushed Steel Cone Torchiere Floor Lamp
Dark Oil Rubbed Bronze Metal Steel Torchiere Floor Lamp
Antique Brass Metal Glass Torchiere Floor Lamp
Blackened Bronze Metal Glass Torchiere Floor Lamp
Metal Painted Steel Torchiere Floor Lamp
Metal Crystal Brushed Steel Torchiere Floor Lamp

A chandelier floor lamp is very unusual and highly decorative. It has a base like a traditional lamp, but the pole ends with a chandelier: several arms reaching out, lights on the ends of them and any number of decorations, such as crystals or pearls, dangling from the arms. Provides ambient lighting.

Antique Black Metal Drum Candelabra Floor Lamp
Metal Bronze Finish Globe Candelabra Floor Lamp
Metal Crystal Glass Chandelier Floor Lamp
Metal Iron Chrome Crystal Drum Candelabra Floor Lamp
Crystal Iron Novelty Floor Lamp
Silver Metal Steel Crystal Chandelier Tree Floor Lamp

The octopus floor lamp (aka spider lamp, multi-arm lamp) is fun and decorative. It has three or five arms which can be turned in any direction and used to create lovely effects with light and shadow. Each arm usually has a small, colorful shade covering a single low-wattage light bulb. Provides ambient lighting.

Brushed Steel Metal Octopus Floor Lamp
Antique Bronze Metal Drum Octopus Floor Lamp
Metal Stainless Steel Octopus Floor Lamp
White Metal Steel Dome Octopus Floor Lamp
Black Metal Oval Octopus Floor Lamp
Black Metal Cone Octopus Floor Lamp

The tree floor lamp has three or more arms (or branches) and sockets (leaves) at different heights and positioned in different directions. Each socket operates independently so that you can light one, two or all of the bulbs. Provides ambient lighting, but only in its general location.

Gold Metal Round Tree Floor Lamp
Antique Bronze Metal Stainless Steel Tree Floor Lamp
Black Metal Cone Tree Floor Lamp
Antique Brass Metal Tree Floor Lamp
Metal Brushed Steel Drum Tree Floor Lamp
Antique Brass Black Metal Steel Tree Floor Lamp

What Kind of Light Bulbs Do I Need For a Floor Lamp?

These are the bulbs that we have used forever. Inside the bulb is a wire filament that gets hot and glows. They come in a wide range of sizes and voltage ratings and are less expensive than other bulbs. But they are also less efficient and last only about 1,000 hours. They are being phased out to conserve energy.

CFLs use a quarter of the energy that incandescent bulbs do, and they last 10 times longer. They can be used anywhere you would use an incandescent bulb. CFLs contain trace amounts of mercury and require careful handling. Recycle when they burn out.

LEDs now look like incandescent bulbs, but they do not get too hot to touch. They are as efficient as CFLs, but last up to three times as long. They are more expensive but some areas offer utility rebates.

Halogen bulbs provide a light most like natural daylight. Colors appear sharper, making them the best choice for task lighting. They use 10-20 percent less energy than an incandescent bulb and are more expensive. The main concern is to never touch the bulb with your bare hands. The least amount of oil from the hand can result in the bulb exploding when turned on.

Quick tips

Choosing a floor lamp sounds like a daunting task, doesn’t it? It does not have to be. Somewhere in there, you will find a lamp that suits your wallet as well as your visions.