How to Choose the Right Table Lamp Height Color & Style

Table lamps are usually the most prevalent form of lighting in the home. With so many beautiful lamps available today – how to decide on the right table lamp, buffet lamp, or bedside lamp? Plan and shop well and you will end up with a lamp you will love and use for years to come. Below are several tips on how to choose the right table lamp for your living room, bedroom, or dining room.

General Table Lamp Scale

Consider the size of your room when choosing a lamp – and also the size of the table on which the lamp is to set. A large table and lamp will look overpowering in a small room. Don’t place a large lamp on a small table – it looks out of proportion. The lamp height should be no more than 1.25 times larger than the table height.

choose-table-lamp-height-4Photo Source:  FHL

Decades ago, it was the practice to use small lamps for bedside table lamps, perhaps 20″ – 26″ in height.  Today, this is no longer the case and the suitable height for a bedside lamp has increased, perhaps 28″ – 33″ (top of finial) in height.

Determine The Right Height for Table Lamp


The height of the lamp is very important. Typically, the height should be be between 58″ – 64″ from the floor to the top of the finial. The lamp height depends on the height of the table on which it sets. The taller the table – the shorter the lamp.  Search for table lamps according to height.

The height of your lamps may also be influenced by the ceiling height. For high ceilings, it’s best to have table lamps at the taller end of the height spectrum. In fact everything needs to be sized accordingly in these rooms. For standard 8-foot high ceilings, a good height is usually 26″ to 33″. For large rooms – 31″ to 36″ high lamps may be most appropriate.

Identify Width & Depth of the Table Top

Measure the length and depth of your table top. You don’t want the lampshade to hang over the sides of the table. If your table top is 22″ square or round, the width of the lampshade is typically not an issue. However if you have a narrow table top that is only 16″ or 18″ deep (front to back), then you need to make sure that the lampshade bottom dimension is equal to or less than the narrowest dimension of the table.


Bedside, Buffet, Dresser Lamps: As shown in the photo above, since the bedside table is narrow in distance from front to back, a rectangular shape lampshade is used. Oval is another shape that works well for bedside lamps. Also, buffet and dresser lamps typically need lamps with lampshades that are narrower in depth.

Lampshade Material, Color, Shape

Material and Color: Lampshades that are more transparent and lighter in color will give off more general (ambient) lighting than lampshades that are not. Black or non-transparent lampshades are usually featured when general lighting is not as important or when accent lighting is desired. They give off a more concentrated light pattern – and can create a dramatic effect.

Shape: Conical or bell shape lampshades are usually used for Traditional style lamps and drum shape lampshades are typically used for a more Contemporary or Modern look. To give a Traditional style lamp a more updated look, change the lampshade to a drum shade.



Coordinate Lamp Color, Style & Character

Identify the 2 or 3 primary colors of your design – and get an idea of potential colors for the lamp.  Also,  consider metals such as nickel and brass, or bronze as an option.  Sometimes, finding a lamp with the exact color, size, style, and price originally desired may not be an option.  Especially important is the color of the walls.  If you have white walls, you may want to choose a lampshade that is a light beige, tan, or black – a color other than white – in order to have some contrast to the wall.

Lamp Color is an important consideration. One good way to choose a color is to hang a piece of wall art and then choose a color from the wall art for the lamp. Search for table lamps according to color.


Photo Source: House Beautiful

The lamp and the table should complement each other.  Part of the beauty of a good table lamp depends on the table on which it rests.  If both your table and lamp is dark  – the lamp may seem to disappear. Instead choose something lighter in color or finish, possibly a metal lamp. If your table is a light color or finish you might want to compliment it with something darker or of a brighter color. Also, usually, 2) end tables should have the same color or finish – not only does it look nicer but it can simplify buying table lamps.   Search for table lamps according to style.


Photo Source:

Style and Character:  It is not always necessary, or even desirable, to match the style of the lamp to the table – but it is important to take into consideration the character of the table – is it massive and masculine or more small and petite? Choose a lamp shape that is compatible. A boxy, heavy table lamp on a delicate, curvaceous table would likely not look right.

Bulbs & Lighting

Determine the amount of light needed.  For an end table lamp or a bedside lamp that is to provide general illumination, choose a lamp that houses a 100 or a 150 watt bulb. For lamps with narrow lampshades, a 60 watt bulb may be the maximum allowed to avoid causing the lampshade to burn or get too hot.


Light Color:  Decide on what color lighting you like.  Incandescent bulbs provide a light that is warm and yellow (2700K) – Fluorescent bulbs can sometimes provide light that is too cold and unflattering. LED bulbs are another good option and have become more affordable today. If you like the natural sunlight color (white light), choose a bulb that has a color rating around 3000K to 3500K.

Diversify Lighting Sources in the Room

Yes – Sometimes Less Really is More:  Do not fill a large room with numerous small tables and table lamps. If your room is large – use larger sized pieces of  furniture and accessories: tables, lamps, etc. If you need to illuminate a corner or other area of a room – and you have already used several table lamps – consider other types of lighting such as a floor lamp, wall sconce, chandelier, or accent lamp.



Choose the Right Table Lamp With These Suggestions

We hope you have found these suggestion helpful for you to choose the right table lamp for any room in the house, whether they are end table lamps , bedside lamps, or buffet lamps.


. offers a wide range of top name, high-end and affordable brands such as Wildwood Lamps, Frederick Cooper, Chelsea House, Decorative Crafts, Uttermost and more – at discount prices.  We also offer a free visualization service – where we overlay the image of one of our products onto a photo that you send us.  This gives a real good idea how an item will look in your home – before you purchase.

Let us help you find your best style!

Fine Home Lighting and Fine Home Lamps are committed to providing customers with fine quality home accessories at the best possible prices along with providing knowledgeable and responsive customer service.

About Fine Home Lighting and Fine Home Lamps has been in operation since early 2009. We carry over 10,000 hand-selected home accessories such as table lampsfloor lampschandeliers, including wall mirrors, wall clocks. and wall art. We continually expand our inventory in order to provide additional choices for our customers.


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