woman reading under a lamp on her couch

New lighting is one of the quickest and most affordable ways to give your place a stylish update. Whether you’re looking to brighten up a space or add warmth, this guide will help by breaking down the different types of lamps (both table and floor styles) so you can find the lamp lighting that works for your needs, style and budget. Read on for some seriously illuminating ideas!

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1What to Consider Before Buying a Lamp

Thinking about these factors before buying will help you get the most from your new light.

  • Location: You’ll want your lamp to suit the needs of whichever room it’s being placed in (whether that’s a corner of the living room or a spot on the desk in the home office).
  • Purpose: Decide what you need the lamp for: an accent, ambience or for a specific task, like reading.
  • Size: Measure the space where you’ll be placing the lamp to make sure its dimensions fit.
  • Style: There are countless models of table and floor lamps to suit any preference, from traditional to modern (see below for more).
  • Brightness: Think about the amount of light you’ll need the lamp to provide, whether it’s a soft glow or a bright beacon.
  • Energy efficiency: One way to save money in the long run is to buy an energy-efficient lamp that can help you cut back on electricity costs.[1]
  • Adjustability: If you need a little versatility from your lamp, look for an articulating model that can be adjusted.

2Types of Lighting

bright living room with desk lamp and floor lamp

Depending on the room and how you use it, here are some options:

  • Task lighting: Provides direct light to help you see (and focus on) small details. It’s helpful for activities like reading, crafting and woodworking.
  • Ambient lighting: Ideal for living rooms, dining rooms and family rooms, this kind of lamp provides diffused lighting for family dinners and movie nights.
  • Accent lighting: Ideal for illuminating a particular object, such as a piece of art or fireplace. It’s also great for dramatic lighting around the front door.

3Types of Lights and Lightbulbs

  • Natural: The more sunlight your home gets, the less you’ll need to rely on lamps to illuminate your space (unless you like your place to be super bright at nighttime).
  • LED: A great budget-friendly option, light-emitting diode a.k.a. LED light bulbs are the most energy-efficient bulbs and they usually have longer lifespans than other types.
  • Incandescent: This type of bulb is likely the kind you grew up with. Their cozy glow is nice for a reading nook, but according to the Canadian government, incandescent bulbs are the least energy efficient and need to be replaced most often.[2]
  • Fluorescent: These tubular bulbs use less energy than incandescent, but can be too bright. Fluorescent lights also contain mercury, which means most municipalities have regulations around their disposal.[3]
  • CFL: Compact fluorescent light bulbs (a.k.a. CFLs) are energy efficient and last longer than incandescent bulbs, but they also contain mercury and require extra care when disposing.[4]
  • Halogen: According to Natural Resources Canada, halogen bulbs use up to 28 per cent less energy[5] while providing more light than incandescent bulbs, but they can be hot to the touch (not ideal for kids’ rooms). They emit a whiter light, which makes them suitable for offices and kitchens.
  • Smart and Wi-Fi: If you’re looking for bulbs that work with your smart lights, you’ll need Wi-Fi-capable bulbs. Just make sure they’re compatible with your device.

A great option for rooms that need more light, floor lamps come in a variety of sizes and don’t require a special surface—just a bit of floor space and a nearby electrical outlet.

Arc Floor Lamps

modern living room with large arc lamp overhead

This sleek, modern style makes a great addition to spaces like living rooms since they can pull double duty as a reading lamp and ambient light. Look for models with adjustable stems that can swivel where you need them.

Tripod Lamps

modern living room with rose coloured couch wood floors and grey tripod floor lamp

The name says it all—this style of lamp uses three legs to hold the bulb and shade. It’s a classic yet contemporary look that suits living spaces and offices.

Tower Lamps

white room with wood floor and white tower lamp

Tower lamps come in lots of different styles to suit your taste and provide nice ambient lighting in corners of rooms.

Torchiere Lamps

tortiere lamp in living room

If you’re into traditional décor styles, a torchiere is a great option. The shade points upwards and adds a visual dimension to the room.

Swing Arm Lamps

gold swing arm lamp in modern living room

These lamps are great for family rooms and living rooms since they’re so versatile. You can adjust the position of the arm to cast light where you need it, whether you’re reading a novel or watching Netflix.

Club Lamps

club lamp on in white room

This is the most traditional style of lamp, with a simple base and shaft and a shade on top. There are lots of chic, modern variations on this style.

Tree Lamps

tree lamp lit in living room

These designs feature a base or shaft that has three or more arms for bulbs (hence, they look like a tree). Just be wary of weight and size, since they can take up a lot of space.

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4Popular Table Lamp Styles

Table lamps don’t usually give off as much light as floor lamps, but you can find all different types and sizes to suit your space and your needs.

Desk Lamps

tiffany blue desk lamp on wooden desk

Also known as study lamps, these desk models are great for focused work and studying. Look for adjustable models that you can position right above your work.

Tiffany Lamps

tiffany lamp sitting on side table lit

First designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany,[6] this style of lamp features a shade made from stained glass. They’re very traditional looking and make great accent pieces in hallways.

Banker’s Lamps

green bankers lamp on wooden table

You may have seen this classic, formal style of desk lamp in a library before. It’s short and has a half-cylinder-shaped shade that’s usually made from glass.

Salt, Lava and Novelty Lamps

rock salt lamp on table lit

These kinds of lamps are fun additions to kids’ and teens’ bedrooms—they’re cool to look at and add a bit of ambiance.

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