Decorating with Lamps

The style and placement of lamps in any room has a significant effect on the overall ambiance. Properly placed lamps can enhance your decor and set the mood in your home. Keep reading to get some tips on how to use your lamps to create a comfortable and inviting space.

Decorating with Floor Lamps

Living room lamps should be arranged so they won't be in the way while guests socialize in the sitting area but still positioned to make the most of their light. The light provided by floor lamps is perfect for reducing shadows created by overhead lighting in a dining room or bedroom. The height of a lamp and style of the shade should hide the bulb from view when you're standing or sitting near it. Lamps near sitting areas should be around 68 inches high so the shade conceals the bulb whether you're standing or sitting next to it. You can use our How to Buy Lamp Shades guide to find the perfect option for your lamp. If you need help deciding how or where to put your floor lamp, try one of these three arrangements.

Infographic of transitional chair with a lamp.

Next to a Chair or Sofa

This may be the most obvious placement for a floor lamp. Whether you're shedding light on an entire ensemble of sofas and chairs or just a single armchair in a quiet corner, having a well-lit seating area makes for a useful and welcoming space. This arrangement also makes it convenient to run the electrical cord beneath a sofa or chair so it's not an eyesore or tripping hazard. You can use a torchiere floor lamp with an upturned shade to provide more ambient light or a club floor lamp with a traditional downward shade to give off more localized illumination.

Infographic of a lamp in the corner of a room.

In the Corner of Your Room

A floor lamp in a corner is the perfect setup if you're adding secondary lighting to a room with an existing ceiling light or just want to keep your lamp out of high-traffic areas. If floor lamps are your room's only source of illumination, then consider using multiple lamps in different corners to make sure the whole room is comfortably lit. Multiple lamps will also reduce shadows and bring an even feel to your space. Torchiere lamps lend themselves well to stand-alone positions like this one.

Infographic of an arc lamp over an accent table.

Highlighting a Specific Element

You can also use a floor lamp to emphasize a certain piece of furniture or decor, like an accent chair or coffee table. Place a club-style floor lamp with a downward-facing shade right next to a piece of furniture or decor to shed direct light on it. An arc floor lamp is a great option for highlighting decor because the base can stay in a corner or by a sofa while you position the shade to illuminate your piece of choice.

Decorating with Table Lamps

Table lamps work alongside your decor to bring beauty and light to your living space. These space-conscious light fixtures are generally paired with a desk, side table, buffet table, or another flat surface that gives them the height to softly illuminate a room. If you need more light than a single table lamp can offer, then place multiple table lamps throughout the room. Decorating with a pair of table lamps is a popular way to create balance in your space. You may want to consider lamps with opaque shades or adjustable lights to brighten a desk or reading nook without lighting up a whole room. Check out these ideas for placing table lamps in your home.

Set of grey table lamps on a console table.

On a Console Table

Whether your console table is set against an empty wall or the back of a sofa, it's the perfect place for a table lamp. For wider console tables, a pair of matching table lamps can be an attractive choice that balances your arrangement and provides twice the light. Choose lamp shades that lend to the look you're trying to create — opaque shades will keep the light soft and localized while transparent shades allow for a brighter light that illuminates more of a room.

Gold lamp on a navy blue nightstand.

On a Nightstand

Placing a lamp on a nightstand is a popular choice, especially for couples who may want matching nightstands and lamps on either side of their bed. You'll want a table lamp that gives off a low amount of light with a shade that limits its reach. This way you won't necessarily wake your partner if you have to turn the lamp on in the middle of the night. Take time to find a table lamp that complements your nightstand and other bedroom decor, whether that's something sleek and Modern or timeless and Traditional.

Gold lamp on a side table.

On a Side or End Table

A table lamp can be a great addition to a living room that needs just a little extra illumination in the early morning or evening when natural light is in short supply. An end table next to an armchair or sofa is a natural spot for a stylish table lamp that can supplement the ambient light from ceiling lights or floor lamps. One popular tactic is to bookend a sofa with side tables that each hold a lamp. This strategy will help establish a balanced look and feel that brings symmetry to your lighting and your decor.