There are some good general rules of thumb that apply to just about every table lamp, which is a great place to start when you’re on the hunt:
- The height is determined by both the function and the table/surface height. You usually want to choose a table or surface first and then determine the height of the lamp. My go-to range is about 24-28” depending on the placement.
- If you’ll be sitting next to the lamp, the bottom of the shade should be at about eye level. This ensures that the bulb won’t be shining in your eyes, but that it’s at a good height for reading and providing ambient light!
- When thinking about overall scale, the lamp should be proportionate to the surface it’s sitting on. Typically, a larger surface = larger lamp. There’s a limit to this logic, but when in doubt, opt for a larger lamp. Pay attention to the diameter of both the base and the shade - you don’t want it to overwhelm its space or hang too far over the edge of a table, but you also don’t want it to look dinky. A lamp shade should be about 33-40% of the overall height and as much as 2x the width of the base.
- Finding the right style is a bit of an art form and it can take some trial and error - think through the overall style of your room and go from there. What kind of statement do you want it to make? Do you want it be a focal point or play a supporting role?
Now there are always exceptions to every “design rule,” but you can’t go wrong with these guidelines - they’ll point you in the right direction every time!
My favorite places to find good table lamps
When you’re searching for table lamps, be as specific as you can with your search terms. Include color, material, and even height to narrow your search. There are SO many out there, I know! If you’re not sure, do a little inspiration-hunting on Pinterest and see what you like that goes with your style. Then describe those lamps’ characteristics for a more targeted search.
This roundup of lamps has all of those characteristics of a “good” table lamp that I talked about earlier in the post! They’ve got good proportions, nice overall height, and could go in a myriad of spots around the house. I tried to span a variety of styles and price points here, so I hope they offer you some helpful examples of what to look for in a table lamp.
Click on the image or link tags to buy them!