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Find the right lamp for your living room, office, and nightstand.
Lighting can set the entire tone of a home. With so many lamps and lighting options online with different materials, aesthetics, and light bulbs, there are many details to consider when selecting one you’ll be happy with. Whether you’re looking for a small side lamp for your nightstand, something to illuminate your workspace, or a large floor lamp with multiple bulbs (also called a tree lamp) that will brighten up a room and make up for the lack of overhead lighting, we’ve put together a guide with some of the best lamps along with what to consider before clicking purchase.
Aesthetics: For floor and table lamps, think about the material, style, dimensions, and color that will suit your space. When it comes to floor lamps specifically, “the taller the lamp, the more it will light the space, and vice versa,” says Hillary Levy, an interior designer at the New York–based company Lisa Kaye Designs. Consider the height of your ceiling and where the top of the lamp will reach (the average ceiling height in most homes is nine feet). The higher the lamp, the more area of the room it will brighten. The tallest lamp on our list is 82 inches. Although the most common lamp material is metal, there are plenty of color and style options. The recommendations on this list range from simple and elegant to creative and bold. Consider that a lamp can serve as a statement piece or an element of design for the room at large.
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Number and Type of Light Bulbs: Some lamps accommodate multiple bulbs, whereas others use a single bulb. The right choice for you depends on how much light you need in the space. Many tree lamps and standard torchiere lamps have upward-facing bulbs that “send light up, acting in place of an overhead light,” Levy explains. “This is a good choice when you don’t have ceiling installations.” You can also choose between incandescent and LED light bulbs. LEDs have lower wattage ratings but emit about five to six times more light per wattage than incandescent bulbs and last up to 25 times longer, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. No matter which you choose, do not exceed a lamp’s safety rating by installing a higher wattage bulb.
Brightness Settings: Some lamps offer multiple brightness settings, either through fixed levels of light output or a dimming feature that allows you to make gradual adjustments. Both provide more flexibility for the type of activity you’re doing—you might go for a low setting while watching a movie but keep it fully lit when you’re reading a novel, for example. Not every lamp is dimmable or offers more than one brightness setting, so check before purchasing if these are important features to you.
To create this guide, we spoke to Hillary Levy, an interior designer at the New York–based company Lisa Kaye Designs who has over 25 years of experience in interior designs for residential homes. In addition to our personal experience owning and using different types of lamps, she helped us establish guidelines for the most important features to consider when purchasing a lamp, including the aesthetics, number and type of bulbs, and functionality. As a last measure, we compared this research and expert recommendations with thousands of online reviews from websites like Amazon and Wayfair.
Simple and functional, the Bouton 63-Inch Tree Floor Lamp is a great choice for dark rooms with no overhead lighting. This metal lamp shines light downward, which makes it the best choice for focused activities like reading or studying. Plus, you can arrange the three separate bulbs so that one shines directly on an office table and the other two can point upward to brighten up the room.
For an affordable tree lamp on the taller side, consider the Kasen. Lamps of similar design and aesthetic often fall within the $200 to $300 price point, so this one offers a great value. The three fabric lamp shades are different sizes—7, 7.5, and 8 inches in diameter—and you can position each one at different angles depending on where you want the light to fall.
For a shorter floor lamp that takes up less space in the room but still distributes light in multiple directions, consider the Caithlyn 63-Inch Tree Floor Lamp. It has a modern design and is available in a steel or antique brass finish, two tones that blend in well in most spaces. For extra convenience, this lamp comes with the three light bulbs you’ll need.
For a lamp that also serves as a statement piece, consider Pottery Barn’s Caufield Metal Dome Downlight Floor Lamp. Dramatic and bold, this lamp is made from iron with a blackened bronze finish. The dome’s interior is finished in gold, which creates a warm glow from the light’s reflection. This choice is preferable for mood lighting rather than to fully brighten up a space.
Article’s Beacon works well as a simple yet elegant table lamp. It has a brass or silver finish and is compatible with LED bulbs. The included 4-watt LED bulb makes this lamp better suited for situations where you need softer or more diffused light. This choice would work best for an additional light source for the living room or a lamp on a nightstand as opposed to an office or reading lamp.
It can be complicated to find the right lighting for your desk that provides enough light without creating a glare on your computer screen. If you work on monitors or large screens, the EppieBasic LED Desk Lamp presents a solution. Position the 31.5-inch light bar behind your screens, then choose between warm and cool light as well as the 10 dimmable modes.
For a more traditional light source for your desk or office, consider the Enoch LED Desk Lamp. The small clamp base ensures it won’t take up extra surface area. The angles for the 12.5-inch light bar and the physical stand are adjustable, and you can also choose between 10 brightness levels and three different light colors (warm light, warm white light, and white light) and set the lamp to remember your preferred setting.
For an upgraded reading lamp with an elegantly modern design, consider the Rummond. This model comes with an adjustable built-in LED light bar, and there are three different brightness levels and three different lighting modes (from warm to cool light). It comes with a USB port and also serves as a wireless smartphone charger that automatically stops charging when the battery is full.
For a simple, reliable reading lamp with an on/off switch, the Billur is a great choice. The arm is semi-flexible, so you can choose and reposition the angle of the light. Measuring 16.5 inches tall, it’s best suited for activities like reading, writing, studying, and any task that requires concentrated light.
A Williams Sonoma bestseller, the Ingrid is sure to add an artistic touch to any room. Cast by hand, the base of this lamp is made from resin, metal, and gesso, and the lampshade is crafted from linen. It’s a great choice for mood lighting, as a night table lamp or to brighten up a foyer. The on/off switch is on the cord, and it’s available in all-white or all-blue styles.