Not too long ago, the Strategist editors got an email from a loyal reader. Subject line: “lamps lamps lamps.” Request: “I need all types of lamp advice: bedside-table lamps, end-table lamps, floor lamps. Just more lamps. The days are getting shorter. We need more light.”
So here we are, approaching the first days of fall, with floor lamps. Usually cast in corners or shoved between sectionals and chairs, a floor lamp is one of those easily overlooked pieces that shouldn’t be — it’s practically a stand-alone piece of furniture, and choosing the right one can change a room’s décor scheme. Do you go decorative or trendy? Or should you focus on task and function? We polled some interior designers to see which floor lamps they keep coming back to again and again, and then found some handsome look-alikes (with smaller price tags).
Shaded floor lamps
Nashville’s Jonathan Savage favors this Tripod lamp from Phoenix Day because it’s structurally sound but still slender. “It offers long, linear metal legs that intersects to add interest and makes any space feel taller,” he says. The Phoenix Day lamps are available via vendors for price upon request, but this one from Macy’s has the same effect.
Gin Braverman likes this sculptural light for all-over illumination. “Its height eliminates the need for additional overhead lighting in a smaller space,” she says. It comes in three finishes, and she recommends the white.
“I use this lamp constantly for its versatility and function,” says Bay Area designer Lauren Geremia of Workstead’s shaded lamp. “Its height and direction are completely adjustable without compromising its classic appearance. It’s well-made and works well with any chair or sofa.”
Floor lamps with a table
Mat Sanders of Consort often tells clients to go for a lamp that does double duty, especially if you’re short on square footage. “Tray tables were a big mid-century fad, and I will never understand why they fell out of fashion,” Sanders says. “Having your floor lamp serve as a side table is a great small-space solution.”
Chicago’s Summer Thornton agrees with Sanders about floor lamps with tray tables. “This lamp is the Swiss Army knife of lamps,” she says. “It is a classic beauty that serves major function. It is perfect when you don’t have space for a side table and a lamp — it’s all in one.”
Arched floor lamps
Pharmacy-style floor lamps
Sanders’s other go-to is modern spin on the classic pharmacy lamp. “It’s a little bit ’70s, a little bit industrial,” he says. “This floor lamp is good for creating moody, low lighting as its dome shape casts light toward the floor.”
Of the pharmacy lamp, designer Alex Reid points out that “it is a bit traditional without being over-the-top traditional.” He suggests Ralph Lauren Home’s Americana version of the age-old staple. The exact same silhouette was endorsed by New Orleans design duo Logan Killen. “We’ve used these lamps on multiple projects,” they said. “They are incredibly versatile, understated, and are the perfect solution for added reading light when placed around the back of a sofa.”
“It can be placed in either a traditional or modern setting and adds that extra touch of sophistication,” designer and home stager Meridith Baer adds of her go-to from Circa Lighting. Seen here in a brass finish is a similar design from Target. “The flexibility of the flat base allows you to tuck it under a piece of furniture, which is really convenient when working with tight spaces.”
Minimalist floor lamps
Designer Katharine Pooley is a fan of Roll & Hill’s Counterweight floor lamp for its chic mix of brass, timber, and marble, she said. “It is understated and purist in its simplicity and cuts a very clean minimalist line.”
And some highly decorative floor lamps
New York designer Bennett Leifer suggests a more prominent role for a floor lamp. “I love this one,” he says of this indulgently decorative ostrich-feather number from 1stdibs. He touts it as a conversation piece, adding: “It’s a price-competitive alternative to a sculpture, while serving the function of providing light.” For a much more understated take on a sculptural lamp —in both price and prominence — take a look at this botanical lamp in a glam gold finish.
Designer Caleb Anderson from New York’s Drake/Anderson prefers the soft, moody glow of Kelly Wearstler’s Precision floor lamp. “It works well in a dimly lit corner and adds a restrained sculptural element to the space,” he says. “This lamp balances simplicity with an eye-catching quality.”
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