Thursday, March 18, 2010

Nashville Interior Designer~ How to select the right lamp

 Have you ever been out shopping for a lamp only to get underwhelmed? These days it has become increasingly hard to find a good looking lamp that does everything our high multi tasking lifestyle demands. One of THE most important factors in choosing a lamp for a room is selecting one with proper scale. If you are unclear about scale make sure you read this post about Scale and Proportion. As I perused the internet I was amazed to find so many photos with the wrong scale of lamp.
This is a beautiful room, however the lamp is getting lost next to the large sofa. In fact the lamp shade is really the only thing that the eye sees.

Once again, this lamp is too small. It is too close to the adjacent wall color and the size does not work for the large items next to it.

This little floor lamp should go back to her super model days, she is just too skinny and wimpy in this room of high ceilings and large furniture.

When choosing a lamp always remember our motto, "GO BIG or GO HOME". A home doesn't need a lot of accessories. But lamps are a necessity. Choose lamps that are tall, 30" or higher. And pay attention to the wall color that the lamp will be up against. Ask yourself these questions when choosing a lamp.Will there be a contrast? What color is the shade? How large is the shade? Will the type of shade provide the right amount of light for my room? Does the shade work with the wall color, and the furniture next to it? Does the lamp have the right scale in proportion to the other pieces in the room? Here are some examples that will leave you with a bright idea on selecting your next lamp!

Here is a beautiful example of the perfect lamp for this room. It has a wonderful proportion, beautiful contrast with wall color and the shade also has contrast. It applies to our "GBGH" (GO BIG or GO HOME) motto and the shade is the perfect size to diffuse light onto the sofa for an afternoon of guilty pleasures with Nora Ephron.

Perfect symmetry to balance a well decorated room. Black shades are the perfect choice against the handsome burlap colored silk draperies, adding depth and texture. The height is ideal for reading and the lamps will create a bewitching glow and shadowing, in the evening as the light dances in and out of the drapery folds.

Selecting lamps 101
1) Make sure the scale and proportion works for the room you are decorating. ( review the photos above. It is easy to see that the lamps are not "right".
2) Choose a shade and lamp that has contrast with the adjacent surroundings. Contrast can come from direct color variation or simple texture differences.
3) Select a lamp shade that works with the function of the room. Round shades ( also known as drum shades) put out a lot of light in all directions. Ribbed shades that are rectangular, or bell shaped will generally push light down and constrict the light to a focused area.
4) GO BIG or GO HOME. We don't need a lot of accessories. Choose a great sized lamp with a beautiful shade and you don't need any other accessories on the table. Remember 30" or higher is always a good rule of thumb. 

Need to know where to shop? Here are a few of my favorites:

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  1. I agree with go big or go home. I bought some bigger lamps at Homegoods that I have had one of on the nightstand and the old one on the other. I liked the big but was so used to the small. This gives me the confidence.

    I was worried more about the table to lamp proportion not room decor to lamp. Thanks for the encouragement!

  2. yes, yes, yes, we'll get together when you come!

    i loved this post! so informative, and the photos really articulated (can photos articulate?) your point. i'm all about lamps right now.

  3. Oh Amanda..I could have really used this advice a few weeks ago...but still in the nic of time as I am STILL looking for the right lampshade to go with my lamp...thanks for the pointers ;) x

  4. Amazing tips as always! Of course I love that pink lamp. LOL :) Thanks for your brilliant advice!

  5. Great tips on lamps, I usually just get mine at garage sales, haha :)

  6. stop over and see my almost complete re do of my living room. i'm getting there! Have a great weekend!

  7. oh thank you thank you!! I've been searching for lamp (s) for our bedroom, and I have been very "underwhelmed" by the selection I have found in various places. I can't wait to check out those sites, if all goes well I will be sending you a pic!!!!

  8. Thanks so much for this article, it's great! The first room is the ideal living room for me, I especially like that "table"!


  9. Very amusingly worded, thank you.
    Just when I think I have the hang of scale, you remind me to think about the wall color behind the lamp also. Hmmm...

  10. Great post! I never thought of the way I choose my lamps. I just always look for something that is going to pop (except the one in my bedroom. it will change in the new house after reading your post).

    p.s. Thanks for leaving me a comment. I'm always very excited to discover a new reader and great blogs!

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