Finding the right scale of table lamp is almost as difficult as finding the right size bra (ladies…you know what we’re talking about). What looks like the perfect size in store can suddenly seem way too small when you get it home! Just like any good clothing purchase usually begins with a proper fitting, so should your table lamp purchase!
Here are some quick “Rules of Scale” for you to keep in mind on your next quest for the perfect table lamp:
1. Lamp Height – A good rule of thumb is to find a table lamp that is approximately 30″ tall from the bottom of the base to the top of the shade/finial. Without getting too mathematical, the top of the lamp should be between 58″ and 64″ from the ground. And with most end tables and bed side tables being around 28″ tall, that leaves you with at least a good 30″ to work with. Measure the height of your table and plan accordingly.
2. Eye Level – If you got the math right in #1, then your lamp shade will sit at about eye-level. This not only protects your eye from the blaring light of the bulb, but it also allows the light to perfectly illuminate everything below (like that book you stayed up all night reading). Test out sitting on your bed or sofa and measure where eye-level is for you. That will help you determine if you need a tall base and short shade, or visa versa.
3. Lamp Width – While we usually take the stance that bigger is better, it’s also important to know your limits. Measure the width of your table and find a lamp that is no more than half that. You don’t want a lamp that is too narrow, but you also don’t want the lamp shade to be hanging over the edge!
4. Light – When it really comes down to it, your lamp needs to be functional. Make sure that it’s large enough to radiate light where it’s needed. Will you be using it to perform nightly tasks, or are you simply looking for extra ambient lighting? Defining it’s purpose will help you pin down the perfect one!