A practical and stylish accent to any room

Ceiling fixtures, such as globes or chandeliers, are ideal in most rooms, but don't disregard lamps when it comes to your redesign. A well-placed lamp can provide both accent lighting and added style in your room, and there is no shortage of designs available to complement any decor.

Lamps for Function

When you're choosing a lamp based on its practical purpose rather than its look, you'll first need to evaluate the lighting needs of your space. A room with no ceiling fixture will need strong lighting, such as that provided by a fluorescent lamp (or rather, a lamp that uses fluorescent bulbs), placed strategically in the room. Fluorescent lighting has many benefits, including lower power consumption and a longer lifetime, as well as the clean, bright light the bulbs produce. However, there are a few disadvantages, including a higher price tag on the bulbs and a longer start-up time and wait time for the bulb to reach full brightness. You may want to consider these before purchasing a fluorescent lamp.

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If you're adding a lamp for supplementary lighting in a room with a ceiling fixture, think about where you're going to need the light. A tall upward-facing light can illuminate a dark corner without becoming intrusive on the room or overpowering it with light. If you need a light to work or read under, consider directional lighting options, such as swing arm lamps or pole lights with multiple adjustable arms. These lamps allow you to focus direct light where you need it, when you need it, but can also be directed away for a more subtle lighting scheme.

Common Types of Lamps:

Floor Lamps

Floor lamps are available in many styles to complement any taste. Tiffany floor lamps with their elegant glass shades or antique floor lamps with intricate brass polework will suit a formal room best. If you're looking for something more exciting, check out the wide selection in contemporary floor lamps. Here you'll find experimental styles and materials, such as paper lantern floor lamps or plastic-tiled sculptural pieces. Pole designs such as chunky wood block or fluted metal add an architectural flair to your room, while multiple (and often extendable) globe designs serve a practical and aesthetic purpose.

When you're choosing a floor lamp, remember to consider stability and position. Many floor lamps are precarious, especially on carpeting, so be sure to place them in an out-of-the-way area where they will be safe from bumping or tripping. Remember to check the type of bulb required as well, as fluorescent and halogen floor lamps will require different types of bulbs.

Table Lamps

Table lamps are often chosen for their appearance more than their practicality, as the light they provide is usually contained in one small area.

Still, choosing for style is a great way to add to the decor of your room. Antique table lamps and French country table lamps, both known for their elaborate bases and simple shades work well in an elegant room, while rustic table lamps with chunky metal bases and glass shades add style points to country decor.

Like their floor lamp counterparts, you'll see lots of exciting options in contemporary table lamps. Unique base shapes, such as carved wood oblongs or sculpted metal, coupled with textured shades, like bubbled glass or bright beaded shades, are more of a conversation piece than an accent to your room. Color is wide open in these lamp shades, as you'll find everything from stark black-and-white to bright blues and reds.

Hanging Lamps

If you like the idea of central lighting but your room isn't equipped for a wired-in light, hanging lamps are a great alternative. These lamps plug into a wall like ordinary lamps, but have a long cord that can be run up a wall and as far into the ceiling as desired. The cord can be affixed to the wall and ceiling with discreet clips or brackets, holding it tightly in place so it virtually disappears into white walls. If your walls are painted, you can also paint the cord and brackets to match.

Hanging lamps come in all sorts of styles, from high-end Tiffany hanging lamps to contemporary paper globe lamps. For accent lighting, antique hanging lamps work well in both formal and country designs – you can find both hanging oil lamps and hanging gas lamps in this style. Just be careful to douse them before leaving a room for any length of time!

Desk Lamps

For your home office or even on an end table, desk lamps are a practical way to light areas directly without taking up a lot of space. Snake desk lamps, with their bendable bases, can be angled into an area when necessary, and then moved out when not in use or for backlighting. Both halogen desk lamp and fluorescent desk lamp models produce adequate light, but fluorescent bulbs often last longer and consume less energy.

If you're choosing for looks, a brass desk lamp is a classic choice. Brass is generally used in antique desk lamps, bar-shaped or with goose necks. If you're looking for something more contemporary, paper, PVC and brushed metal are the materials of choice. Many of these desk lamps are more like lighted sculptures, adding visual interest to your room, but you can also find more traditional looks blended with contemporary designs.

Lamps for Fashion

Once the practicalities are out of the way, you can let your style dictate your choice in lamps. If your room is formal, Tiffany lamps have always been synonymous with classic elegance and come in forms to fit any room, from floor to table to wall sconce, and even lighted sculpture. However, these lamps will also carry a pretty high price tag, so you may want to look for an attractive replica instead.

If you're looking to redo your lighting on a budget, you may be surprised by the effect of simply changing out your lamp shades. Many lamp base designs will work with a number of decor themes, so you can use a new shade to complement your style. Luxurious tapestry patterns with embellished fringes have a Victorian air, while a rustic wicker or plaid pattern create country coziness. For more contemporary rooms, experiment with materials in your lampshades. Bright glass or wood tile shades are very modern and will add visual appeal to any room, or try a decorative metal fragrance lamp and use scents to complete the mood.