As an accent piece that brings color, form, and light to the space, a magnificent table lamp can easily steal the show from any furnishing in the room. Even when the decor is comprised of carefully placed recessed lighting, a designer is bound to add a lamp for that extra finishing touch. It's no doubt an irresitable part of the interior landscape and one that demands certain considerations before making the ultimate decision - which lamp is the perfect choice?
Whenever I have the opportunity to discuss a lamp purchase with a customer, I have to admit I do a little bit of prying throughout the consultation. I don't mean to be nosy, but if the person informs me that they're purchasing a lamp for a bedside table I'll ask if it's purpose is for reading, mood or both. The criteria is important to making the best selection. You should probably allow a good 20" from the bottom of the shade to the table if your lighting needs are task oriented. But not everyone reads in bed. Although my preference is color, a white shade with a 3 way bulb or dimmer will let you do wonders with the lighting, especially if set against a wall painted in a deep hue.
Buying a lamp on line has it's own unique issues. It's not as though you can switch it on and off to see how the light affects the shade color, or how it illuminates the space. So I thought I would take this opportunity to offer tips on how to choose a lamp that meets the needs of the space, purpose and decorative preference.
1. Color vs. white. There's nothing like the richness of a colorful silk shade. It has a subtle presence that turns dramatic with the flick of a switch. I like to think of a long corridor where a beautiful lamp sits atop a hall table like a captivating beacon that invites you to enter. Or imagine a display of bookshelves or built-ins where a shapely little lamp illuminates a nook or niche. Ah yes, these are examples of scenarios where you can indulge in low wattage and a colorful silk shade to create a warm and alluring ambience.
2. Size. It would be crazy for me to suggest running to a store and buying a lamp to see how it fits the space. But you can certainly search your house and grab a lamp of comparable size or any object for that matter and see how it measures up. How big is the table surface? You certainly don't want the lamp to hog the table top. The base of the lamp really shouldn't take up more than half of the space on the table.
3.Light. Is there other lighting in the room? Is the lamp the primary source? This is when a white shade becomes the optimum choice. And just because it's white, it doesn't mean you can't play with the mood. Just a reminder that a 3 way switch or dimmer can magically transform the ambience.