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A Brief Guide to Lamps

LampsHere’s a bright idea: Illuminate your room by swapping out lighting fixtures. Did you know there are many types of lamps available? Lamps can serve a practical purpose and brighten up your sense of style. You can choose from accent, ambient, or task lighting, depending on the type of lamp. If you need some help figuring out which lamp works best for you, keep reading our brief guide to lamps.

Know Your Lighting Needs

Before you choose your lamp, you need to figure out what you want to illuminate. Different lamps give off different types of light, and some examples include the following:

Accent lighting: Use table lamps for accent lighting that highlights certain areas of your room.

Ambient lighting: Considered the main source of light in a room, ambient lighting comes from overhead bulbs on ceiling or floor lamps.

Task lighting: This type of lighting lets you do tasks more easily. Desk lamps work best for task lighting.

Arc Lamp

Arc Lamp

As a lamp that takes up minimal space, the arc lamp comes in traditional and contemporary designs. Place one of these lamps on a table or near a sofa so the light arches over the space and gives you task lighting. These lamps are very lightweight, so make sure to put them in a place where they will not get bumped and knocked over. You can expect to pay $85 to $150 for these lamps.

Buffet Lamp

Buffet Lamps

Usually slender and around 30 to 34 inches tall, buffet lamps are often referred to as a taller type of table lamp. Place these lamps on a buffet or dining table and direct the light down toward the table, illuminating your food. You can also opt to use it in your home office, since its slender shape allows it to take up minimal space on a crowded surface. However, since it shines a light on a small area, it is not the best choice to illuminate larger areas and probably shouldn’t be the main source of light in your room. Buffet lamps cost anywhere from $75 to $440.

Desk Lamp

Desk Lamp

With a main goal of offering task lighting, desk lamps come in different styles and finishes. You can use the desk lamp for reading or computer work. Most desk lamps are smaller than 20 inches tall. Consider the space you need to illuminate and make sure the light reaches your workspace. If the lamp is in a space that you use for other activities, such as watching television, consider using a dimmer. You will typically pay $25 to $185 for a desk lamp.

Floor Lamp

Floor Lamp

Giving both ambient and accent lighting, floor lamps work well when you have limited space. Starting at 5 feet tall, floor lamps feature a single pole with a round base, oftentimes capped off with a cloth shade or glass globe. Just like desk lamps, floor lamps have many styles to accommodate your style and space. Expect to pay from $25 to $250.

Swing-Arm Lamp

Swing Arm Lamp

Swing-arm lamps come in different sizes and shapes, and you can use them on your desk, floor, or table. What sets these lamps apart is they come with an adjustable arm, which you can move to meet your lighting needs. A versatile option, the swing-arm lamp lets you light up a concentrated area. Swing-arm lamps cost $20 to $350.

Table Lamp


Serving as both a reading lamp and accent light, table lamps are more for decorative purposes. Coordinate the lampshade or style with your home’s decorations. They don’t illuminate the area well, but they can tie a room together or work with a main source of light. Table lamps cost between $10 and $200.

Torchiere Lamp

Torchiere Lamp

A type of floor lamp, the torchiere lamp has a tall body and shade that faces upward. The lampshade looks like it’s upside-down. That way the lamp gives ambient or accent lighting. This popular and classic design can complement your home’s style. For modern homes, try a frosted-glass shade. You can also add special features to the lamp, such as dimmers, to fulfill your lighting needs.

If you select a torchiere lamp with a Tiffany-style shade, make sure the base is thicker or weighted down. That way, it’s harder for it to get knocked over, especially since these lamps are usually more than 6 feet tall. You can also choose to place your lamp in an area that doesn’t see a lot of foot traffic. These lamps cost $50 to $200.

Tree Lamp

Tree Lamp

A popular floor lamp option, tree lamps come in a variety of designs. Place one of these lamps in your room to serve as an accent piece, and angle its branches to shine light in various directions. The lamps feature a central stand with lights branching off, similar to a tree and its branches. Ideal for directional or ambient lighting, tree lamps work best in almost any room since you can illuminate large spaces or focus on a certain area. These lamps do take up some space, so you need plenty of room for them. Expect to pay anywhere from $20 to $300.

Tripod Lamp

Tripod Lamp

Known for their three-legged base, tripod lamps add an architectural flare to your room. Best for living rooms or bedrooms, these lamps give off more light. Thanks to a sturdy base, the lamp stays upright but does take up more space than other lamps. If you live in a small apartment or your room already has enough furniture, you might want to think about a smaller choice. These lamps cost around $40 to $300.

Wall-Mounted Lamp

wall mounted

If you enjoy how wall sconces look but don’t want the difficulties of hard wiring them, wall-mounted lamps offer the same space-saving design. Another bonus is that you can move the lamps if you change your mind. Many of these types have swing-arm designs so you can extend the fixture to move it closer to you. Expect to pay around $20 to $200 for these lamps.

Light Your Way

No matter what type of lamp you choose, make sure it fits your lighting needs. Whether you need a lamp for ambient, task, or accent lighting, there are several types of lamps available. Arm yourself with the information about the different types of lamps, and you’ll be lighting and accenting like a pro before you know it.


























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