How to Pick the Right Lamp for Your Home

Mezza Luna Floor Lamp placed next to a window and accent chair

A balance of beauty and function, lighting is an essential design element in every living space. Not only does it illuminate the room, but it also goes a step further, setting the mood for any occasion.

With so many different styles, designs and sizes, it’s important to know the basics. How do you choose between a ceiling lamp, a floor lamp or a table lamp? How do you know how much lighting a living space needs? We have a few tips to help you choose the right lamp for your home. 

Choosing the Type & Amount of Light 

Every room in your home is unique, from the size and layout to the amount of natural lighting to the overall function of the space. For example, we tend to want more lighting in the kitchen and less lighting in the bedroom. But before you decide on what type of lamp you need, first determine how much you’ll need and what purpose it should serve in your space. 

Types of Lighting

Natural lighting 

Light that occurs naturally in space during daylight hours.

Ambient lighting 

Ambient lighting or “general lighting” provides uniform overall illumination in a room. Most homes use this type of lightning in the form of ceiling lamps, wall sconces, table lamps or floor lamps. 

Task lighting 

Illumination specific to performing a particular activity such as reading in a study, completing paperwork in an office and food prep on a kitchen counter. All of these activities benefit from additional lighting.

Focal lighting or accent lighting

Light that is used to create a unique atmosphere and mood or to draw your attention to something specific in the room. Lights that are used to highlight artwork or sculptures are accent lights.

Decorative lighting

These lamps are used more as an ornament to reflect your personal style. They are mainly for aesthetic purposes and do not emit much light on their own. 

Types of Lamps

Once you have assessed your lighting needs, it’s time to narrow down on  what types of lamps work best for you. In some scenarios you may opt for multiple lamps to complement your space. 

Table Lamps

Accent lamps

Accent lamps provide ambient lighting  while also making a personal statement. Their main purpose is to reinforce your design theme.

Reading lamps

Reading lamps provide a brightly focused light that can be directed towards your book to make reading easier even in a fairly well-lit room. 

Desk lamps

For daily work to-do’s such as  typing on a computer, paying bills, attending virtual meetings and more, desk lamps provide ample lighting while taking up minimal space.

Buffet lamps

Usually used in pairs, these lamps are placed on the ends of sideboards, consoles or other serving tables. They tend to be tall and thin so they are not in the way while guests are serving themselves. Buffet lamps add a unique touch of elegance to any dinner party.  

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Floor Lamps

Track tree floor lamps

Tree floor lamps feature a main body that branches into three or more arms. These lamp arms can adjust to focus light in many different directions.

Arc floor lamps

With a long curving arm that arches from a heavy base, arc floor lamps are perfect for modern spaces. They’re often used as overhead lighting in lounge areas with multiple chairs, sofas and even a sectional.

Console/shaded floor lamps

Great for providing ambient lighting, these tall lamps feature  statuesque bodies, typically paired with drum lamp shades.

Torchiere floor lamps

They are similar to a standard shaded floor lamp with one main difference: these lamps have inverted lamp shades that force the light upwards allowing the light to diffuse across the ceiling.

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Ceiling Lamps


Multiple light sources hang from or surround the lamp base (stem) that is affixed to the ceiling. They can be hung at different lengths and used in living rooms, bedrooms or over dining room tables. 


These ceiling lamps use one light bulb and tend to hang fairly low. They can be hung individually or grouped together.

Track or rail lights

Ideal for task lighting or accent lighting built with individual lights with pivoting arms along a metal track that is either mounted or suspended. This allows you to direct individual lights as needed. 

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Deciding on Lamp Styles

No matter which room it’s placed in, the style of your lamp should reflect your overall theme. Oftentimes the lighting is the finishing touch that highlights all other decorative elements in your space. Think of your lamp as another piece of art in the room; it needs to flow, match and feel right. That’s why it’s important to note the base and shade of your lighting to ensure your choice evokes the exact feeling you’re looking for.

Lamp Bases

Have fun with your lamp base. Be open to adding some pops of color or texture to your room with your lamp. Lamps can be a great way to bring your personality into your space. If you choose a patterned lamp base with lots of color, pair it with a more neutral lamp shade. If your room already has a lot of pattern and multicolor artwork or throws, you may consider going with a more neutral lamp base overall. 

Lamp Shades 

Your shade should complement your lamp base without overpowering it. Make sure to balance the size of your lamp shade with its base. Lamp shades should be twice as wide as the lamp base, and one third of the total height of the lamp. For example,  a 6-inch lamp base should have a shade that is at least 12 inches wide. If the total height of the lamp (including the bulb and harp) is 24 inches, the shade should be 8 inches tall.

Lamp Placements in Any Room 

Lamp placement greatly depends on the overall layout of your space. Perhaps, your breakfast nook only needs one source of lighting, while your kitchen will require layering multiple types of lamps to create a well-lit and balanced space. 

Here are a few tips:

  • Position lamps to radiate light inward.
  • Place your floor lamp behind televisions to prevent an unwanted glare.
  • Place reading lamps to the side of reading chairs vs behind.
  • Give enough space between lamps (do not stack them too close).
  • Avoid placing table or floor lamps in heavily trafficked walkways.

Ready to start shopping? El Dorado Furniture offers a large selection of decorative lamps to fit any style!

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