With all the wonderful lamps out there to choose from, it helps to have some knowledge before you try to select just the right one. One of the first things to consider is what you want the lamp to do – does it need to light up a whole area, or just shine down on the book you’re reading? If you’re trying to light up a whole area, the lamp needs to be relatively tall, have a lampshade in avery light colour so that the light will pass through, andhave a good sized shade opening.

For example the dark, plant-shaped lamp would make a superb sculptural accent and could provide directed reading light, butit would not light up a room. This is because its dark shade would prevent light from passing through its sides, and would only allow light to pass through the top and bottom openings. Still another aspect  affecting how much light alamp offers is the wattage the lamp allows. If you need a lot of light, you will probably want a 3-way bulb with atleast a 150 watt capacity.

Another important characteristic to look for in yourlamp search is selecting onethat complements both the table it sits on, and the furnish-ings and decor around it. Are you choosing a lamp for asmall table (say one that is smaller than 20 inches across)? Then you need a lamp that is slightly scaled. One that is too large or heavy will overwhelm the table and will tend to make it look as if it’s about to topple over. If needed, the lamp onthe small table can be tall, aslong as it’s slim and the lampshade does not exceed the table in diameter. Be careful not to use lamps that are too weak for their locations.

Too often, pathetically skinny lamps, usuallytopped by small shades with low wattage bulbs, sit on grandly scaled nightstand sortables. Like most other aspects of design, understanding aesthetic proportions plus knowing the object’s intended function, gives you an excellent basis for making a great selection.

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