The Definitive Guide to Table Lamps

Table Lamps come in all shapes, sizes and styles to perform more than one function within a home. They can be that extra bit of illumination needed for studying, they bring ambience and a cosy feel to an erstwhile lackluster interior or simply add a dash of personally to a space.

Table Lamps | Lighting Company UK

With an array of forms and functions which lamp is right for you? If you simply want to brighten the space you around you for reading, then a functional lamp will be an ideal solution. For those looking to enhance the visual appeal within a room a decorative lamp will be the order of the day, however with a myriad of choices, what would you choose?

What is the best table lamp to buy for a living room, bedroom or study?

The definitive guide to table lamps will provide up to the minute practical advice along with insights to the most stylish trends. Everything you could possibly need to know about table lamps.

When is a table lamp not a table lamp?

Firstly, the very phrase table lamp is misleading, as they don’t actually need to sit on a table at all! It could be a windowsill lamp, or they could equally be called bedside lamps, a nightstand lamp, side lamps – and they frequently are. There are lots of nuanced descriptions all referring to plug in lamps and of course where you can put them. Be it a hall lamp or hotel lamps, table lamps are the finishing flourish that breathes light into in any dull place.

You will also find that sometimes, a description also denotes the expected size, shape or function of the lamp.

Sofa lamps are normally larger statement lamps. Typically these are a matching pair of lamps standing either side of a sofa.

Lounge and Living Room Lights Table Lamps

Buffet lamps are tall lamps. Which again tend to be a matching pair bring symmetry to a console table. They look especially striking in hallways.

Task Lamps are adjustable. Lamps used beside chairs or placed on a desk. Task lamps can also be used decoratively to highlight a small table top display. Where the real benefit lies in the talent of a tsk lamp is flexibility, they can angle allowing light to be projected to a page or area where the light is needed most.

Lights for Reading, Desk Lights, Bankers Lamps

Bedside Lamps are normally small, but not always. If you’ve a big master bedroom you’ll likely opt for a bigger lamp to be in scale with the space. Touch lamps are useful in this space, as you can tap anywhere on the base to turn the light on – and most turn on gradually! Perfect to gently ease yourself into the day ahead…

Bedroom Lights Guest Room and Hotel Bedroom Lights Table Lamps

In addition, table lamps can bring so much more than light alone. We have a great selection of table lamps that have a USB or an inductive charger so your favourite device can rest and recharge as you do.

USB Port / Inductive Charging Table Lamps

Table lamps are so popular, so we’ll show you what a good table lamp can do for a room.

The most stylish table lamps by room?

Lounge and Living Room Lights Table Lamps

Dining Room Lighting Table Lamps

Hall Lights and Lanterns Table Lamps

Bedroom Lights Guest Room and Hotel Bedroom Lights Table Lamps | Lighting Company UK

Study Lights Desk Lamps Reading Lights Table Lamps | Lighting Company UK

A phrase every shopper has uttered at one time or another is:

“I’ll know it when I see it” Explore a vast array of inspirational table lamps

Did you see the perfect lamp?

Where to position your table lamp?

Adding a little lamp to a window sill looks so enchanting and inviting but your choice of lamp depends on the width of the shade. You want to avoid the lamp overhanging the sill. The widest part of the lamp mustn’t be wider than the window sill. This lets you sit the lamp centrally so it can sit nicely in the space.

NOBLE table lamp in a hand painted Cream/gold DHL

No-one wants to be looking down into a table lamp shade and just see a light bulb, or up at one for that matter. Imagine sitting on a sofa and all you can see is a bright light bulb? This is not the relaxed ambience most of us seek. There is an ideal height for table lamps sitting at the side of a sofa. The bottom of the shade should be just below eye level.

Positioning bedside lamps; most of us want our bedside lamp to do a few different functions. We want a nightlight, sometimes a reading light, at other times we simply want a stylish look.

Table Lamps can be used to bring an interior look together. Some lamps are iconic, the task retro lamps always bring a stylish vibrant look to a space. Great value for designer looks on a low budget. Position them on tables, a chest of drawers, desks, book cases anywhere! They never look out place and never seem to go out of style.

Objects of whimsey or conversation pieces really need to be at eye level for best impact. The lamp base becomes the focus and the shade should reflect upon the base. A good trick to ensure all eye land on you treasured lamp is position it well and opt for a shade that has a foil inner.

Where should you not use a table lamp? Never use table lamps next to water, never in a bathroom, near a hob or near the sink. It’s far too dangerous. The risk of someone being electrocuted is very high.

Are Matching Table and Floor Lamps trendy?

Yes and no?

It largely depends on the size of the space you have. A small room with co-ordinating lighting is fabulous. However, a large space with everything looking exactly the same can look a little more corporate (maybe looks like you bought a job lot?!). In these larger rooms, you could try another lamp in the mix that co-ordinates with the matching lamps but from a different family. This is great to add personality to large rooms, or you could try alternating colours?

Hyde by The David Hunt Lighting Collection

Did you know that we have a section for each product called ‘LOOKS GOOD WITH’? Here, we show you a selection of matching and coordinating lights to make tying your lighting together a breeze.

Should bedroom beds lamps match? If you adore symmetry you wouldn’t even consider this question a valid one, but for others, practicality trumps symmetry. Off set or asymmetrical looks are gaining in popularity and I must admit I love this maverick unpredictable approach.

This leads nicely into a question; what does it matter? Accesorising your home with things that appeal to you is always right. Table lamps are as much ornaments as functional objects. You can mix and match or have a whole collection of contrasting looks. There is no real right or wrong with table lamps styles. If it suits the space and you like it – that’s the one!

How to choose a replacement lampshade for a table lamp?

As a general rule of thumb, you can follow the below calculation to get the right sized lampshade for your table lamp:

  • Measure the height of your table lamp base
  • The height of your shade should be between 60 – 70% of this height
  • Measure the widest part of your table lamp base (include the plinth)
  • The diameter or width of your shade should be around twice this measurement.

So, for the below example:

  • The height of the base is 40cm
  • The shade height should be between 24cm and 28cm
  • The diameter of the base is 13cm
  • The diameter of the shade should be around 26cm

Task Lamps.

Task lamps are iconic, supremely useful. Not only are they regarded as the best reading and desk lamps, they are altogether the most stylish mid century themed lamps available. They come in many shapes and materials. The prices range from under £30 to over £300 for the designer ranges (many of these being British made heritage lamps). These heritage items can be more on the pricey side, however the real value can be found in the quality of the materials be that brightly coloured, spun metal, handpainted or fine bone china.

Retro Style Lighting Reading & Craft Lights

LED Table Lamps?

With the introduction of led, an efficient form of lighting that uses far less electricity than the old style light bulbs, lighting has evolved beyond recognition. Moving away from traditional lamp bases with shades led lamps can take on new exciting shapes. Often fluid more artistic shapes that bring a stylish modernity to a room.

LED Table & Floor Lamps - Super Low Energy, Long Life

All lamps can be fitted with an led light bulb however, led lamps have the light source built into the lamp itself. This is beneficial and negates the need to buy replacement light bulbs. Yes it’s new and revolutionary and with that comes a need to shift our mindsets. Explore all there is to know about integrated LED Lighting.

What are Buffet or Console Lamps?

Tall! The main characteristic is the height. These tall elegant lamps were designed to stand on a buffet table which was the equivalent to a servery table in formal dining, a grand dining room may have had a tall lamp standing either site of a sideboard style cabinet.

Buffet Table Lamps Lighting Company UK

Pottery Lamps.

One of the most recognisable lamp styles the pottery or ceramic lamp bases come in a varied array of shapes sizes and colours. From traditional ginger jars to textured modern geometrics lamps and every thing in between; there is heaps of choice. Perfect lamps for living rooms and bedrooms they are often teamed with soft shades to bring a delightful ambience to a space, not always utilised for just illuminating a space as the designs have an athletic appeal that elevates and enhances the look and feel of a room.

Ceramic Lamps

Metallic Lamps.

Metallic lamps are in somewhat of a sweet point at the moment with a striking visual appearance and robust materials metal lamps are all the rage. Echoing the 60’s and 70’s retro styling and bringing it up with luxury shining metal really does bling up a humble table lamp. Be it small elements of copper, chrome or gold or solid metal lamps the durability and simplicity is a delight.

Metallic table lamp Lighting Company UK

Tiffany Table Lamps.

Tiffany lamps are not designed by Tiffany but in homage they always seem to be referred to as such. The essence of the styles remain the same based on naturalistic flowers birds or Geometric shapes all prevalent designs of the twenties. The 1920’s; that is! Hand made glass in bright colours form mosaic effects, bonded together with a soldier. They are beautiful when lit, a welcome addition to any home be it modern or traditional. There is something very cheerful about the brightly colour little gems. Find out about the prolific designer Lois Comfort Tiffany and his contemporaries Charles MacIntosh and William Morris all who have instrumental in the style movements of Art Deco, Art Nouveau and Arts and Crafts.

Tiffany Glass Style Table Lamp | Lighting Company UK

Glass Table Lamps

Whilst the aforementioned Tiffany lamps are glass, for those who prefer a neutral colour scheme there are elegant glass lamps with clear and textured effects are a distinctly elegant option. Glass and lighting have always been linked largely due to the clarity and reflective nature of the material. Glass too remains popular today having the added benefit of being sustainable. The purity of the material and practicality of an easy to clean material in part is why the styles remain popular.

Glass Table Lamps | Lighting Company UK

Clamp on Lamps.

Work style lamps that can be clipped to a shelf or bookcase know as clamp on lamps are useful to bring a little extra light to a space when a classic table lamp base may not fit. They don’t require fitting by an electrician they an easy to plug in and position wall light. We include these in the table lamp section as they are portable, you can move them to another position if the need arises or the mood takes you. A word of caution if you are thinking or using them on a bedhead, they are not designed for this. The trailing cable or hot light bulb could cause injury – never use this lamp to fix to a child’s bed.

Clip on Lights | Lighting Company UK

Can you use a table lamp outdoors?

Table lamps with a standard cable and socket should not be used outdoors. If you wish to have party lights or create that outdoor room opt for wireless table lamps. There are some fantastic options to consider that contain led technology that do not require the light to be plugged in when in use. Many charge-up from a base station, are battery or wirelessly powered altogether more suited to outdoors – some lights have bluetooth speakers too! Perfect for a garden party and safe if there happens to be a light sprinkle of rain (as British summers often do!)!

Wireless Table Lamps.

Check out the VIDEO!

Bluetooth Speaker Wireless Lights

Can I use a Table Lamp in a Bathroom?

No! Not in the traditional sense it would be a massive risk. Regulations don’t permit plug socket in the bathroom to prevent people being tempted to consider taking this dangerous action. We’ve clearly stated no don’t do it. However there are wireless lights which could be considered safe. The outdoor wireless or battery powered outdoor lights could be considered.

Which bulbs do you use in Table Lamps?

There are so many different types of light bulb sockets used in the manufacture of lamps, so it can be a little bit baffling when you unpack your new table lamp and find you need to buy a light bulb but the socket is not a standard bayonet push in and turn style you may be used to. Help! We hear you.

When we sell lamps, we suggest the correct light bulb options at the checkout but not all retailers do the same Many people are left with a lamp they can’t find a light bulb for. We take the guesswork out of getting the right bulb.

Simply add the light of your choice to your basket, then you’ll get a list to have a look at!

The instructions may tell you to buy an E14 40 watt light bulb but what is that?

The alpha numeric number such as E14 tell you the type and size of the cap or socket whilst the 40 watt tells you the maximum bulbs in incandescent. So E14 is a small 14mm screw in capped and can be described as SES (Small Edison Screw). E27 is a 27mm screw in light bulb which can also be described as ES (Edison Screw). OK so far?

Sometimes the alpha numeric combination is B15 which stands for Bayonet cap 15mm diameter.

This chart visually should show you the style of bulb you need to buy.

LED Light Bulbs | Lighting Company UK

Now the wattage you should choose is largely determined by an old out of date incandescent light. You’ll need to convert this to the LED equivalent.

Safety and Table Lamps

Table lamps are beautiful and bring much needed light and personality to a room but as with all electrical appliances you do need to be mindful of safety. A common sense approach is required. Sounds sensible but just watching TV you can see some glaring mistakes that in the real world could be dangerous. You often see a chiffon style fabric draped across a lampshade, this is a danger light bulbs can get hot this is a fire risk. Even LED light bulbs which are far cooler to the touch can get hot.

Adverts always show table lamps next to kitchen sinks and in bathrooms again this is dangerous. If the lamp is knocked and falls into water that can cause electrocution.

Position lamps where they don’t risk being knocked and where the cable doesn’t cause a trip hazard.

Use the right type of light bulb, don’t be tempted to ignore the light bulb instructions as this can cause lamps to fuse.

More reasons to love table lamps…

Decorative Table Lamps are most commonly and successfully used in three main rooms Living rooms, Bedrooms and hallways. The style and choice for these rooms in vast. Here are some tailor made shortcuts to for specific era’s and styles of table lamps.

Antique Style Table Lamps

Traditional Table Lamps | Lighting Company UK

Modern Bedside Lamps with phone chargers built in.

USB Port / Inductive Charging Table Lamps | Lighting Company UK

Industrial Style Table Lamps to bring a retro vibe

Retro Style Lighting Table Lamps | Lighting Company UK

Fun and Quirky table lamps for modern rooms

Quirky Style Lighting | Lighting with a Difference from Lighting Company UK

Now you are the expert on table lamps, but hey if you’ve stumbled on to this blog and you actually wanted a table with a lamp built in …. worry not! we do those too!



We hope that this has enlightened you with making the right choice for your new table lamp!

We have other guides available for you too – let us inspire and help create your next project!