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Floor Lamps

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What to Know When Buying Floor Lamps

A floor lamp brightens up your room and gives you greater control over how you use light to tie together the various elements of your home decor. Read on to make sure you buy the best floor lamp for your lighting needs.

What are the different type of floor lamps?

There are several different types of floor lamps, ranging from traditional console lamps that have a classic feel, to more modern options such as track or tree lamps. Consider where you intend to place the lamp and what its primary function is to ensure you get the right kind:

  • Standard lamps: A traditional, or standard floor lamp is designed for area lighting. These lamps come in many different styles and typically feature a shade that softens the light. These are great for rooms that may lack overhead lighting or rooms that require a little extra lighting help.
  • Torchiere: A torchiere lamp is one of the more popular and recognizable type of floor lamps. Its lighting fixture is designed to cast the light upwards where it diffuses into a pleasing, general light to cover a room. Torchieres don't require much floor space so, if you're short on that, this type of lamp is worth considering.
  • Arc lamps: While most floor lamps have straight stems, arc lamps feature a curving arm that can easily reach up and over seating areas, casting their light at a point away from the base. These lamps offer a stylish way to provide more direct light for reading and are typically large enough to give general ambient lighting for a room. Arc lamps also come in designs with multiple arms that provide even more lighting options.
  • Tripod: Tripod floor lamps feature a wide, stable base with three distinct legs so these lamps are best suited for areas with extra floor space to fill. Tripod lamps can work great as ambient lighting in a room or, if you pick a style with an adjustable head, you might consider using the lamp for reading or other activities requiring a more direct light source.
  • Lamp tables: Lamp tables, or floor lamps with tables, are a convenient, all-in-one lighting and storage solution. The lamps are a functional combination of a side table or tray table with an attached lighting fixture. Floor lamps with tables emit a general ambient light, perfect for any room. These lamps work great next to sofas or chairs where you can take advantage of the table space to keep the tv remote nearby or to hold your drink as you page through to the next chapter in your favorite book.

How much control do I have over the amount of light emitted?

Knowing the type of lamp you want is important, but so is the ability to control the light or brightness of the lamp once you've placed it in your home. Switch type and brightness control are key features to look into.

A number of lamps still come with the traditional pull chain operation, where gently pulling down on the chain turns on the light. Some pull chain lamps feature dual chains - one for each bulb, allowing you to control the amount of light emitted. Socket floor lamps have a small knob that sticks out from the base or close to the head of the lamp. To turn these lamps on and off, you'll need to twist the knob in either direction. A third option is the touch lamp. These floor lamps are touch-sensitive and are activated by human touch rather than any type of switch.

If you like to maintain control over the level of light emitted from your lamp, check out the floor lamps with dimmers, and 3-way or 4-way lighting. With these switch features you can quickly adjust the light to best meet your needs, going from a low ambient lighting to a more direct or powerful task lighting in a matter of seconds.

Are there any other important floor lamp features?

There are other features to consider that give you even more control over the light with adjustable floor lamps, floor lamps with a swing arm, and those with an attached task lamp. These floor lamps are great when you need to vary the positioning of the light without adjusting its actual location in the room. Floor lamps with built-in outlets and built-in USB ports provide convenient access to a power supply. And LED floor lamps come in on top with regard to energy efficiency.

However you use them, well-chosen floor lamps brighten up your home. Find your perfect lamp and enjoy reading well into the night or simply basking in the ambiance it provides.

Related: For more illuminating insight check out the Lamp Buying Guide.