The Complete Guide to Floor Lamps

Get your floor lamps standing proud! All you need to know about the perfect standard lamp.

Complete guide to Floor Lamps

What are the different styles of floor lamp?

Standard Floor Lamp:

The standard floor lamp comprises of a base with a shade that is directly above the base. A traditional concept, yet the ability to be re-imagined to move with the times sees these fit perfectly wherever you need a little more ambient light.

Our favourite place to use standard floor lamps? Behind televisions to avoid glare on the screen.

Swing Arm Floor Lamp:

The swing arm floor lamp features an adjustable arm that allows you to move the lampholder and shade. Offering more flexibility in this way saves you having to move the whole lamp to achieve the perfect light level.

Our favourite place to use a swing arm floor lamp? By a reading chair in a living room or bedroom.

Torchiere or Uplighter Floor Lamp

A torchiere style floor lamp (also referred to as an uplighter floor lamp) features a shade that is closed at the base and open to the top. They wash additional ambient light up against the wall, boosting the overall light levels whilst adding ambience.

Our favourite place to use uplighter floor lamps? Instead of retro fitting wall lights – these play a similar role without having to re-plaster your walls!

Multiple Light Floor Lamp

A multi-way floor lamp (sometimes referred to as a tree lamp) is simply a floor lamp with more than one light source. Ideal to add additional ambient light, many come with adjustable shades which allow you to direct the light where it’s needed – in more than one spot!

Our favourite place to use a multiple light floor lamp? By a desk in a bedroom or to add both ambient and task light in a home office.

Task Floor Lamp

Task floor lamps are adjustable, making them versatile additions to any setting. They will have adjustable bases and many also have shades that can pivot, offering you great flexibility over where you direct your light from the comfort of your seat.

Our favourite place to use a task lamp? By a desk in a study, or as a reading light by a chair in a living room.

Arching Floor Lamp

An arching floor lamp (also referred to as an arcing floor lamp) has a long arm that extends from the base of the lamp. This was originally designed to reach over furniture, such as tables and sofas, but they are also incredibly useful as an alternative to a ceiling light.

Our favourite place to use an over arching floor lamp? Behind a corner sofa.

Mother and Child Floor Lamps

Mother and child floor lamps offer 2 lights for the price of one! A main light at the top (the mother), adds ambient light, whilst a separate arm lower down on the base, houses a reading light. This arm is generally adjustable, offering you the flexibility of a task lamp that also adds to the ambient lighting.

Our favourite place to use a mother and child lamp? By a reading chair or sofa in a lounge.

Integral LED Floor Lamps

Integral LEDs have freed the design of floor lamps from having to house bulky lampholders. They offer unparalleled energy efficiency, coupled with contemporary looks, making them a smart purchase for all modern homes.

Our favourite place to use a floor lamp with an integral LED? As a showstopper piece! A great focal point that adds height to your room.

Where should I place my floor lamp?

Floor lamps can be positioned anywhere that doesn’t disrupt the flow of traffic through the room.

  • In corners: Lights placed in the corner of the room will radiate inwards, adding additional ambient light whilst appearing to stretch the room in size.
  • By the side of chairs and sofas: Where a lampshade is used on the floor lamp, it should ideally have the base at eye level to avoid unnecessary glare.
  • Behind the TV Screen: Avoid glare when you’re settling down to watch your favourite programs.

How tall should my floor lamp be?

Most floor lamps are designed to be a good height to use by desks or seats. Ideally, they should be between 145 cm to 160 cm in overall height. If you have one which you can adjust, you can experiment to obtain the perfect fit for your room.

You will also need to take into account your ceiling heights. If you have lofty ceilings, then a shorter floor lamp will look lost, and for low ceilings, it will draw your eye to the fact that your ceilings are short if there’s a small gap between the lamp and the ceiling.

What size shade do I need for my floor lamp?

Getting the shade right for your floor lamp is easy with some consideration. Firstly, consider the shape of your floor lamp base before choosing a shade that works in harmony with it.

Once you have worked out the shape you’d like, you can then look at what size lamp shade you need for your floor lamp. There are a couple of easy tips to ensure that you get this right:

  1. Ensure that the shade covers the lampholder AND your chosen bulb
  2. As a rule of thumb, choose a shade that is between 30-40% of the height of the base.
  3. Ensure that the base of the shade measures similarly, or smaller to the base of the floor lamp. Do however, ensure that there should be a minimum of 8 cm between the bulb and the lampshade. Also, the bigger the shade, the more light will be emitted.

Whilst this is true for more traditional styles, more contemporary styles are seeing oversized shades being used on floor lamps. Make sure you measure carefully before committing to a larger shade, as this will push the floor lamp further away from the wall.

What are the benefits of using floor lamps?

Floor lamps offer great flexibility for lighting rooms. They seamlessly offer all three layers of lighting:

  • Ambient Lighting – This is the main level of light that lights the entire room
  • Task Lighting – This allows you to choose where you direction the light to concentrate on a particular task, such as sewing or reading
  • Accent Lighting – This is the magic ‘ambience’ creating layer, for example, using an uplighter floor lamp to shed light on architectural points of interest.

They are portable. This may seem obvious, but whilst you may buy a floor lamp for one room, if you change the decor or function of another room, it can be moved with ease.

They add a focal point to a room. Drawing the eye upwards, they add stature and height to a room.

If your floor lamp has a lampshade, it’s easy to switch up your look and keep up with the latest interior design trends!

So, let’s give floor lamps the standing ovation that they deserve!