Table Lamp Buying Guide

Table lamps are a relatively inexpensive way to brighten a space and add style at the same time. This table lamp buying guide outlines the various types and features to consider.

Table Lamps 101

Choosing the right table lamp for a room will both enhance the decor and make the space more functional. The great thing about table lamps is you can easily shop for the precise type of lighting you need, whether it's soft accent lighting for the dining room or bright lighting for an office desk. When selecting a table lamp, be sure to consider the style and scale of the furnishings already present in your room. Keep in mind that an excessively modern lamp may not suit a conventional, formal space, and a small-scale lamp may be overwhelmed by the furniture in a large-scale space. From traditional table lamps, to elegant Tiffany lamps, to fun-loving lava lamps, there's a lamp for every table and every taste.

Types of Table Lamps


Crystal Lamps

Delicate and sophisticated, crystal lamps are an effective way to add sparkle and elegance to a room. Some crystal table lamps feature a base of stacked crystal globes with a fabric shade. Others have a series of suspended drop crystal pieces or a shade comprised of linked crystals. With their ability to refract and disperse light, crystal lamps are a dramatic and bright light source, perfect for a dining room, living room or formal entrance.

Glass Table Lamps

Glass table lamps are a versatile lighting option that can enhance any decor. Look for geometric shapes and chrome accents to complement a modern look. If you're decorating a room in a traditional style, consider fluted columns, spheres and a solid base. Clear glass lamps are well suited to smaller or darker spaces, while coloured glass lamps can reinforce a playful, creative environment and serve as accent lighting. 

Tiffany Lamps

A Tiffany lamp is a classic look and a great way to complement a formal or traditional design scheme. These lamps typically feature a stained-glass shade and a bronze-coloured base. The original Tiffany lamps were created by artist Louis Comfort Tiffany. Common patterns include floral Tiffany lamps, dragonfly Tiffany lamps, peacock Tiffany lamps and mission-style Tiffany lamps. When a Tiffany lamp is lit, the colourful patterns spring to life, creating a unique focal point in your room.

Desk Lamps

When you need a direct light source for your office workspace, a desk lamp fits the bill. These lamps are designed to sit on top of, or clamp onto, your desk. Typically, they're adjustable, so you can aim the light precisely where you need it. Some desk lamps feature stands with multiple joints for repositioning the light, while others have flexible gooseneck stands that you bend and twist as desired. The classic banker desk lamp, with its green glass shade and pull cord, is a timeless addition to an office or study.

Himalayan Salt Lamp

With their distinctive unfinished appearance and soft orange glow, Himalayan salt lamps are a unique form of accent lighting. This form of lighting is made from crystal rocks mined from the Himalayan mountain range. In some cases, the rocks are hollowed out to accommodate a light bulb. In others, several rocks are arranged in a bowl or basket atop the light source. While it hasn't been proven scientifically, these lamps are said to act as air purifiers when the rocks are heated by the light bulb.

Lava Lamps

The iconic lava lamp has its roots in the stylish '60s. A fun addition to retro-inspired decor, lava lamps work well in a family room or teen's bedroom. When the lamp is turned on, the light heats blobs of wax that rise and fall and change shape. The wax is encased in a glass vessel filled with a clear or translucent liquid. Lava lamps emit a soft glow, making them better suited to accent or decorative lighting than to general lighting.

Traditional Table Lamps

Maintain the tone of your formal living room, dining room or bedroom with a traditional table lamp. Whether you're going for impact with an ornately carved wood or marble base or looking to create a romantic ambience with the glow of a simple silk shade, traditional lamps can enhance both your lighting and your overall decor. Bases of bronze, brass and copper frequently have a timeless elegance, making it less likely that you'll tire of the lamp and feel the need to replace it.

Modern Table Lamps

Create or complement a sleek contemporary decor with a fashion-forward modern table lamp. While these lamps can take many forms, some features may include bold colours and patterns, geometric shapes, clean sharp lines and chrome accents. Modern table lamps are made from a variety of materials, including metal, plastics, wood and glass. Unique details such as tripod legs, offset stacked bases and oversized shades will make your modern table lamp stand out, creating a lighting source that doubles as a work of art.

Table Lamp Buying Tips:

• Match your lamp to the style of the room you are placing it in
• To control lighting levels, choose a lamp with a dimmer or three-way switch
• Choose lightweight lamps or ones with padded bases for tables that are easily scratched
• Avoid lamps with shades that extend over your table's edge
• Consider how you will use the lamp, whether for reading, dining or accent lighting
• The sturdier the table, the heavier the lamp it can support

Table Lamp Features

Table Lamp Bases +

The type of base you select for your table lamp should depend on how and where you intend to use the lamp. For a family space, consider a sturdy, weighted lamp base made of durable metal, plastic or wood. These materials are easy to clean and less likely to cause injury if broken. In the dining room, a table lamp with a tall, slim base will free up room on sideboards for silverware, candles and vases. A bedside table lamp works best when it's sturdy enough to resist being knocked over in the dark, but not so large that you have no space for alarm clocks, books and other night time necessities.

Table Lampshades +

Lampshades are available in translucent and opaque materials such as fabric, paper, glass, metal and plastic. Choosing an opaque or semi-opaque paper or fabric shade will help to create a warm, flattering glow and can minimize glare when your lamp is placed near a TV set. Keep in mind that a drum shade generally offers a more modern silhouette, while a cone-shaped shade tends to be more traditional. In children's or family rooms where safety is an issue, avoid metal shades that may heat up quickly. Instead, go for plastic shades that are durable and easily wiped down.

Table Lamp Size +

Your choice in table lamps ranges from small accent lamps to large lamps designed to provide general room lighting. The room you are placing your table lamp in will help to dictate the size you select. A tall lamp can add drama in a formal dining room. A scaled-down lamp fits in well with smaller furnishings (and hands) in a kids' room. For reading in bed, a table lamp that lights up your book without shining into your eyes is always a good choice.

Materials +

Your table lamp can be made of many materials, including plastic, glass, wood, metals and ceramics. Durable and easy-to-clean plastic, wood or wrought iron table lamps are a safe bet for high-traffic areas. Metal table lamps and shades are long lasting and provide a dramatic silhouette. However, they can also heat up from the bulb, so it's best to avoid using them in young children's rooms. Glass and crystal lamps reflect and refract light to brighten up a smaller or darker space. The material of your lampshade affects how your light is distributed. Opaque metal directs light down for reading, while translucent fabric diffuses it for a general glow.

Bulbs +

The correct size and wattage of light bulb can maximize your table lamp's lighting abilities. Compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs are energy efficient, burn cooler and last longer, but be sure the harp on your lamp is large enough to accommodate them as these bulbs are generally taller than standard ones. For reading lamps, go for a bulb of 60 watts or more; for dining lamps opt for 60 watts or less. Always leave two to three inches of space between your lampshade and bulb to prevent damage and risk of fire. To cut glare in dining areas or near televisions, consider a silver-tipped bulb.

Controls +

There are a number of mechanisms for powering on, adjusting lighting levels and powering off table lamps. Simple poles, push-button switches and pull cords are wired into the base and are variously flicked, pushed or pulled to turn the light on and off. For increased control, a dimmer or three-way twist switch will let you adjust the brightness emitted by your table lamp. Touch-controlled lamps conveniently use the heat from your fingertips to power your light on and off. Simply touch the metallic surface anywhere on the lamp — and avoid fumbling for switches in the dark.

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Table Lamp Maintenance Tips:

• Dust the lamp base regularly
• For glass lamps, wipe gently with a soft cloth and a household glass cleaner
• Vacuum lampshades to remove dust
• Ensure that cords and switches are intact and functioning properly
• Wipe down Himalayan salt lamps with damp cloth to remove dust and crystallization
• Do not exceed recommended wattage when replacing lamp bulbs
• Allow lava lamps to cool completely before wiping down with a damp cloth to clean
• Always follow the manufacturer’s directions for care and maintenance
This article is intended as general information. Always be sure to read and follow the label(s)/instruction(s) that accompany your product(s). Walmart will not be responsible for any injury or damage caused by this activity.



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