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Floor Lamp Ideas (A Room by Room Guide)

MItchell Elworthy

The right lighting can make all the difference in your home. It can balance out a room that is North-facing and dim or make a too-large space feel intimate and cozy. Some lights are practically a work of art on their own. You'll need to use a number of different lamps to achieve the right effect, and the right floor lamp can work in practically every room.

One great thing about floor lamps is their versatility. You can easily update their look by simply changing out the shade. Some let you add energy efficient or ‘smart’ light bulbs that you can control with your phone. Others can be bent or swung to get the light to out-of-the-way places. The right floor lamp can become a key part of the room.


Four Families of Floor Lamps

There are many varieties available, but they fall into four general floor lamp styles. These are: pole lamps, multi-legged floor lamps, shelf and table lamps, and arc lamps. Let’s take a look at these in more detail:

Pole lamps, also known as column lamps or torchieres, are a classic style that have been around for decades. They feature a single pole rising from a base, usually topped by a single bulb and lampshade. Because of their low profile and generally compact design, they can be very useful in tighter spaces such as apartments.

Multi-legged lamps are often seen with a tripod design. Instead of a single pole, these have multiple poles which support the light from several directions. This playful and modern style is also quite practical because it offers greater stability. This makes it a great choice for households with young children or pets.

Shelf and table lamps are multi-functional. These units are typically about as tall as a column lamp but have a wider shape. They integrate other functions beyond just providing light. For instance, they may have a narrow bookshelf underneath the lamp. Other styles might offer storage cubbies, drawers, and glass tabletops.

Arc lamps resemble a column lamp with an exciting twist. These typically have a single bent pole rising from a relatively large base. They arc in a gentle curve and end in a light bulb. This style of lamp can provide illumination to the middle of a room without blocking valuable floor space. You can also swing these lights out of the way.


Before You Buy

Some important questions to ask yourself before investing in a floor lamp include:


Do you want to change out the lampshades regularly?

How much floor space do you have available?

Would you like extra storage or another work surface?

Do you need a lamp that’s light and be easily moved around?

Do you need a multipurpose lamp that has more than one bulb?

Are you interested in high tech features like timers and app integration?

    Let's take a look at matching the right light to rooms around your home: 


    Floor Lamps For the Living Room

    People tend to spend a lot of time in the living room. This means that finding the right lighting for this space is essential. You may be entertaining here, reading, or watching a good movie with family. Each of these requires a different kind of light.

    One popular type of floor lamp that can work well here is the mother and child style. This is typically a column lamp with multiple bulbs. There's usually one light atop the column that to create a soft, muted glow on the ceiling. Below this is often a side arm that has a smaller, brighter, adjustable light. This can be used for more focused spot lighting, letting you read or do detail work with your hands without disturbing anyone else in the rest of the room.

    A living or lounge room is one of the areas that gets a style update most often. It’s amazing what just a few changes like throw pillows or new lampshades can do. A mother and child floor lamp gives you a lot of options for floor lamp decorating ideas. Its multiple shades can be switched out to stay on trend.

    What are some other features that can upgrade this space? How about programmable party lights that flash, change color, and can synchronize to music? You can also find specially coated light bulbs for the child lamp. These reduce eyestrain and are handy if you read or study at night.


    Floor Lamps in the Bedroom

    The bedroom has some unique lighting requirements. For the most part you’ll probably want softer, warmer lights to help you relax before sleep. Meanwhile, space may be at a premium because the bed is such a large piece of furniture.

    Shelf and table lamps are a good idea here. These can help you make the most of the floor space you have available, creating valuable vertical storage in this room. With one of these floor lamps next to the bed you can have your alarm clock, book, or medication right at hand.

    For additional features, consider attaching your lamp to a timer. These timers are readily available at hardware and home improvement stores. They can be programed to gradually dim the light in the evening, working with your body’s natural sleep cycle by simulating a sunset. You can also program it in reverse for a sunrise effect that will gently wake you up without an alarm clock.


    Floor Lamps and Your Dining Room

    What about the lighting in your dining room? Here, you will want to find a happy medium of brightness and warmth. Too bright and your family may feel like they’re back in a high school cafeteria eating dinner. Too dim and they won’t be able to see what they’re eating.

    Dining rooms also need to make a statement. Do you like a classic style or prefer something more adventurous? Your dining room furniture, place settings, and tablecloth all reflect this. You’ll want to choose a floor lamp that works with the home decor as well as being functional.

    An arc lamp is a great choice in the dining room. Most of the lamp is tucked comfortably out of the way, but the bulb itself can be centered over the table. This means that everyone can enjoy the light’s illumination.

    One stylish option in the dining room is to choose an arc lamp that has a crystalline shade and multiple bulbs. These lights can provide the look of a dramatic chandelier at a fraction of the price. For a more restrained take, consider a colorful Tiffany style shade. These are lovely and cheerful, casting colored light around the room.

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