Lamp Buying Guide: Choosing the Floor or Table Lamp for your Interior Space


Selecting the best lamp for your living space seems easier than picking out any other lighting fixture, right? Contrary to popular belief, choosing the right lamp fixture can be just as tedious of a process– if you aren’t sure how to tackle it. To make your lamp-buying experience quicker and less stressful, this guide has all the essential information you should keep in mind.

1. Lamp Styles and Types of Illumination

Floor Lamps

The term ‘floor lamp’ typically refers the broad category of any lamp that is placed on the floor. However, for some, a floor lamp is one that projects light directly onto the floor (recessed light).

Although, for others, floor lamps can be either upright or have an angled neck. For the former, illumination tends to act as accent lighting, providing recessed or surrounding illumination depending on the shade provided – if any. Upright floor lamps provide the bit of illumination one needs and are easy to integrate into any room as they take up minimal width of a room – they’re mostly all height.

Lamps with an angled neck provide recessed lighting or task lighting. Angled-necked lamps often have adjustable necks. Angled-necked lamps with recessed lighting are wonderful for reading areas or work spaces. Because their neck is very angled, more width is necessary when adding them to your interior design.

One can find both barn floor lamps and piano floor lamps. Barn floor lamps (pictured below on the left) have a more rustic vibe to them as they have farm-styled shades and can be either upright or angled. Piano floor lamps (pictured below on the right) are angled to provide lighting for pianos – although are not limited to such – and tend to provide simpler yet more elongated lighting. It really comes down to the style and illumination one favors.

10" Goodyear Adjustable Floor Lamp - BlackFront View of High Powered, Dimmable LED Piano Floor Lamp - Black/Satin Nickel Accents

Post Lamps

This type of fixture is a type of floor lamp often considered its own category as it exhibits a specific style. Think of them as light fixtures that are often found on the streets. Post lamps are usually equipped with upright or hooked necks and can be most commonly found with a barn- or lantern-styled shade.

Barn post lamps (pictured below on the left) that have a slightly curved neck with a farmhouse shade to provide recessed lighting. They are essential for lighting up a path or small side table. These fixtures can also be upright, also often offering recessed lighting.

Lantern-styled post lamps (pictured below on the right), because illumination is surrounding thanks to their typical straight neck and see-through ‘shade,’ are stylish accent pieces that offer beautiful lighting to create a romantic feel in a room. Some lantern post lamps also have a curved neck with a lantern shade hanging from a hook.

Post lamps are popular for exterior spaces but can be beautifully integrated into interior designs as well.

132" Goodyear LED Street Post with 10" Shade - YellowImage 1

Table Lamps

Hence their name, table lamps (pictured below) are designed for tables – side tables, dining tables, coffee tables, you name it. Their short height makes them essential for a variety of tables, shelves, and other structures.Table lamps provide mostly all-over lighting. While they can also be placed on desks, their surrounding light is not essential for such as their illumination can be distracting for the eyes. (See ‘Desk Lamps’ below for a more adequate work-friendly lamp.) Table lamps can be found with removable shades, fixed shades, lanterns, or other head styles.

Desk Lamps

Desk lamps (pictured below) are a subcategory or table lamps but are specifically designed to be integrated into a work space.

These lamps are also essential for studying, doing homework, and tinkering. Some have an elongated shade while others are more focused. However, what most desk lamps do have in common with one another is that many are adjustable for added versatility.

The majority of desk lamps offered non-surrounding light. This is essential for lighting up one’s work on a desk without worry of illumination glaring into one’s eyes like all-around fixtures can do for those working directly next to them.

Side Overtop View of 14" Cocoweb LED Piano Desk Lamp- Mahogany Bronze

Looking for a specific-styled floor, post, table, or desk lamp? One recommended source is Cocoweb. This website offers beautiful fixtures for pianos, workspaces, and general lighting. Many fixtures can even be customized!

2. Colors and Finishes

When lamp shade colors and neck finishes come to mind, many think neutral or metallic. The first lamp shade color that is chosen is often white, tan, or beige. As for the neck finish, it’s usually black. People try to play it safe. However, there are so many more options than one may believe.

As a word of advice, don’t be afraid to be bold with your colors, but when picking a color and finish, base your picks on the rest of your space. Regardless of the color scheme of your room, the color and finish of your fixture should be complementary to the rest of your space.

Never pick options that are too coordinating, especially if placing your lamp directly on or near a feature of the same or similar color. However, the color or finish can match the rest of the room if it brings out a focal color in the room. In the end, make your lamp click into your interior design. Don’t try to blend it in; everyone already knows it’s there.

3. Lamp Size

Picking the right lamp side – height and width – is integral in ensuring your floor or table lamp is best integrated into your space and will provide essential illumination.

For table lamps, it’s important that the light is not too tall to where people sitting behind the table will not be able to see others, watch television, etc. If placing your table lamp on a side table, ensure it is tall enough so that it can illuminate properly in the ways you wish. You may prefer your table lamp for coffee or dining table to provide more recessed lighting just to add a hint of illumination or a romantic feeling while for a side table to have more surrounding lighting for reading, etc.

As for desk lamps, the height and angle which the lamp can be adjusted are potent to keep in mind when picking the right one. A lamp that is too short will provide minimal illumination for a workspace, thus will only shine on a very small portion of your desk. Sometimes going taller is best as long as the neck is able to be adjusted downwards.

As for post lamps, height is everything. Most are upright or slightly curved and should not be so short or so tall that its illumination isn’t centered where you’d like it to be, even if you are purchasing one mainly based on design.

Floor lamps, since many can either be upright, hooked, or angled, width may be an essential factor. Measuring your room is integral prior to purchasing an angled-necked lamp. Otherwise, the neck will not be able to be adjusted to your liking.


The main things to look out for when picking the best floor or table lamp for your interior space all lies within the lamp’s style, color and finish, and the size of your lamp and the room you plan to implement it into. Don’t just pick a light based on its design; also pick it because it provides the most appropriate illumination. Once you’ve got these facts down, everything is easy-peasy.

Regardless of what some may believe, there truly is a fixture for every space, design, and purpose. Have fun lamp hunting!

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