Thursday, 30 October 2008

Beyond illumination, a lamp can add style to a room or table, and show off your own personal chic. Blending styles can add flare and punch to your décor.


Shape & Type

  • The shape of the lamp base and the shade should be the same, i.e., round on round and square on square. And not too big, or it will dwarf the lamp and possibly tip over.

  • Silk or linen shades last longer than plastic; they also filter light better.

  • The colour of the shade determines the type of light you get: an opaque or dark shade won’t let much light through. For a brighter glow, look for a lighter, more translucent colour.

  • The lamp you buy largely depends on the type of light you want:

    • Task lighting, like a desk lamp, shines on a particular object but does not light an overall room. Look for an adjustable arm, height and light settings for lots of versatility

    • A light fabric shade provides a diffused, ambient glow.

    • To brighten a room, look for a stand-up style with higher wattage. Also find one that casts light upwards to reflect off the ceiling, helping light the room.

    • Decorative lamps like the popular Tiffany style add vintage flare but not much in the way of brightness.

Technical Considerations

  • Plastic light bulb sockets are typically fine for your average 60 watt bulb. For higher wattage, a porcelain socket withstands more heat.

Be Aware

  • Exceeding the recommended maximum wattage can melt plastic sockets and create a fire hazard. It also causes your bulbs to burn out sooner.


Here are some tests you can do on your own to help you find the best lamp for your needs:

  • Check that any moving parts are durable and don’t have too many separate pieces. The fewer the better.

  • If you’re going for brass, be sure it’s not an impostor. Verify quality by using a magnet: it won’t stick to brass but will stick to coated steel.

  • Light quality: with energy efficient bulbs widely available, ask the retailer to provide compact fluorescent (CF) or LED bulbs to use when testing light quality, since their light tone and quality differs from inefficient incandescent bulbs.


With so many lamps to choose from, we didn’t make a decision on just one. But here are some things we learned along the way:

  • For reading, make sure the lamp is placed right next to your chair. The light should pour over your shoulder.

  • Use a bigger shade if the lamp is meant to accommodate more than one person reading, or to light a large area.



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