Set the Purpose
While we love every element of our homes to be pretty, it also needs to be practical. So, first you need to configure the positioning and determine the purpose of your table lamp: What kind of lighting do you need for that space? What design will be additive to the overall styling of the room? How will the light help to set the mood and tone? Once you answer those questions, you can create a framework from which to embark on your treasure hunt for the right table lamp to suit your needs.
Measure It Up
Now that you’ve determined its purpose and positioning, be sure to measure the plateau where it will live: atop a side table, nightstand, desk, etc. Then map out the height of the space so you can ensure the lamp you purchase fits within that scope. You don’t want to bring it home and then realize the shade is too tall and blocks the artwork behind it, for example.
Play With Scale
There’s nothing we love more than playing with scale in a room but you can also do this with lighting to create a radiant focal point. Case in point, when Athena paired a thin, curved wrought-iron base with a diminutive vintage rattan lampshade. There’s always room to explore so don’t be afraid to play—mix and match until you land on the perfect formula for your space.
Break Up the Visual Plane
You never want your furniture and objects to be on the same plane and this rule also applies to your lighting. You want your lighting to add to that visual exploration, creating a space that feels rich and layered. Position your table lamps atop varied surfaces to add verticality and create a tiered effect that dials up the optical inquiry.
Have Fun With It
While it can be daunting to consider fusing eras, styles, or designs in lighting, when you get it right, there is so much beauty in the mix. Pair a traditional shade with a contemporary base, try a metal shade with holes that offer a pattern play on the wall, consider an exposed bulb or a paper lantern to differentiate the illumination throughout your space—embracing decorative alchemy is fun and can really make your home sing.
For more lighting tips, read our articles on how to mix lighting or how to choose bedroom lighting. Keep scrolling to shop our curation of the best table lamps.
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