Table Lamps 101

Posted March 18, 2020

Never underestimate the value of selecting the right table lamp for your space.

I am a strong believer in ensuring that all of your home’s essential items are functional, appropriate and enhance your overall design which is why I want to share these Interior Design tips with you. This short guide will help you make the process of selecting the perfect lamp easy!

Tableside Lamps

The right table lamp adds beauty as well as function to your space.


When or what is it for?

Whether it’s side tables, for reading, or bedside – take into account the height of the table in relation to seating or mattress

  • If it’s LOW – you can compensate with a taller lamp
  • And if it’s HIGH – think shorter
  • If it’s JUST RIGHT (an inch below the adjacent arm or mattress height) – look for something in the 29”- 31” range for the best angle of light


Go Bright and adjustable

Look for the equivalent of 150 watts incandescent/37.5 watts LED or equivalent – this is around 2250 Lumens (brightness)

  • Bonus if it has a dimmer or 3 way. If not, your local lighting repair shop or electrician friend can add a dimmer switch to the cord (which by the way, is a much easier way to turn on the lamp)
Bedside Table Lamps

Light fabric shades are always a better option than dark shades.


What type of shade?

I prefer a light fabric shade.

  • Dark shades defeat the purpose, unless you’re going for drama and don’t actually need the light
  • Natural linen or cream are usually better than bright white
  • Fabric shades hold up better than other materials
  • Select a shade that is smaller than the table the lamp sits on

Replacing Lamp Shades?

  • Pottery Barn carries a lot of typical shade sizes in nice fabrics
  • There are lots of online sources for custom sizes

Avoiding Mistakes:

When replacing shades, make sure you always measure twice

  • Diameter at the top
  • Diameter at the bottom
  • Vertical height
  • Measure exactly where and how the shade attaches to the lamp from the top of the shade, as well as the height of the harp if there is one, or throat

Remember: choose something functional that also enhances your overall design.


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