How to buy a Table Lamp

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Table lamps tend to be a tough choice for most people to make.  It is an item that is sitting out in the open for everyone to see…always.  Once most people purchase a table lamp they will generally keep them forever.  A question that I ask people all the time is, “How many perfectly good working table lamps have you ever thrown out, into the garbage, in your life”?  And the answer is very surprising.  Most people have never tossed a set of working table lamps into the trash bin.  “Maybe we should give those to…” and list goes on and on.  It seems it is one of those household items that we just can’t part with no matter how old and out of style they may be for your current decorating style.  We would rather drive them down to the Thrift store than to take the responsibility to chuck them into the trash can.  “But they work perfectly,” is the most common reason for keeping lamps made decades ago.


An important factor on lamps is how much light do you want it to cast in the room.  Do you want to light the entire room with it or have enough light to sit down and read a book?  Check the lamp in the store and see how bright it can get.  If it is too bright where you are testing it go into a dark area of the store so you can get a feel for whether or not it creates enough light for what you are going to use it for.  I have often used the Tri-level bulbs so that I can control the light in the room more effectively and make it really bright if needed.

The height of the piece is also a factor.  Know the height of the table you will place the lamp on so you can determine if it will be too high or low in the room.  Do you want to see past or over the lamp, or do you want the lamp to be higher and more prominent in the space?  If lamps get too high when you sit with guests the only thing you can see the lamps and not your company.

Check the cord length while at the store to be sure that it will reach the outlet you are wishing to use.  It only takes a minute while at home to see how much cord you will require to reach the receptacle you are planning to use.

Is it easy to turn on and off?  What kind of switch has been provided by the manufacturer?  The easier it is to access the controls the happier you’ll be with the lamp in the future.  Make sure that the switch provided works with Tri-level bulbs in case to you wish to use them down the road.

There are so many lamp shades available today that if you get tired of your current look it is easy to change the lamp shade and create a totally different look.  The best place to see what is available is online before you head out to the stores.  Different heights, shapes, colours, and materials; the selection in the market place is endless.  The toughest part is trying to decide what look you are after for your home.

Many people get numbers in their head of what a table lamp should cost and shockingly most think that about $200 per lamp is a lot of money.  Well, I am here to tell you that lamps run from the very affordable to ludicrous pricing.  I have beautiful lamps for a $200 each and as high as the sky.  There is no limit on how much you can spend on a quality pair of table lamps so do not be surprised when you get to a store and all of the lamps are $500 per unit and upwards.  This is normal.  You need to decide how much money you want to spend before you leave the house to go shopping but be ready for the perfect pair of lamps for your home costing you $1,000 per unit.  The good news is that like I said before, nobody ever throws out a perfectly good table lamp.  They give them to the kids when they move out.