Table Lamp Buying Guide
Table Lamps 101
Types of Table Lamps
Glass Table Lamps
Himalayan Salt Lamp
Traditional Table Lamps
Modern Table Lamps
Table Lamp Buying Tips:
• 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.
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.
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.
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:
• 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