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The 17 Very Best Floor Lamps

Photo: Retailer

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Finding a nice, not-too-expensive floor lamp is tricky. You want it to be functional (illuminating) but also unobtrusive and aesthetically pleasing. It can also act as a stand-alone piece of furniture, if that’s what you’re going for, but designer lamps can be cost-prohibitive, especially if you need several of them throughout your house. One piece of advice that I love comes from interior designer Lauren Ashley Allan, who says that lighting, which can act as “the jewelry to a room,” can be an opportunity to experiment and have fun with décor. To help you narrow down your search, I tested lamps at home myself and also reached out to interior designers and other design-adjacent tastemakers for their recommendations. Below, I bring you 17 floor lamps for every style — from upright to tripod to task lamps — and budget — including one that costs just $16. If you’re looking for other types of lamps, visit our Lighting District for a roundup of our 100 favorite lighting implements.

What we’re looking for

Style

Among the hundreds of thousands of floor lamps out there, most of them fit within just a handful of categories. You’ve got your basic upright floor lamp that’s supported by a single post; tripods that stand on three legs; arcing lamps, whose shades suspend over a space; task lamps that let you direct the light right above a reading chair; and lamps that have columnlike supports. Everything else is a variation therein, with different shade types dictating the overall look of a lamp. Fabric drum shades are among the most classic kind, but you also have mushrooms, globes, cones, and pleated options, among others. In my own never-ending search for floor lamps, I’ve found it helpful to search by basic style, so I’ve categorized the ones below that way as well, and then by shade.

Material

The basic components of a floor lamp — base, support, and neck — are typically made of metal or wood, but many lamps also mix materials. Marble is a popular base material, and sculptural, ceramic bottoms have recently become the darling of the high-end-design world. You’ll also find lamps whose posts act as the light source itself, which is seen in paper column styles as well as in more contemporary LED options.

Adjustability

Unlike desk lamps, floor lamps are typically fixed, but a few do come with adjustable components. Task lamps, for example, usually allow you to adjust the shade and even a swing arm, if they come with one. Some upright styles come with telescoping necks that are height adjustable. A couple of floor lamps are even dimmable.

Best floor lamp overall

Photo: Retailer

Style: Drum shade | Material: Linen, metal | Adjustability: Telescoping neck

TV and film set decorator Kimberly Fischer told me about this lamp from West Elm when I wrote this highly specific story on floor lamps a couple of years ago, and she called it a staple. “I’ve used it multiple times,” she said. “It’s classic and shows up well on-camera.” She points out its natural linen shade, and the fact that it is height adjustable makes it that much more versatile. It’s got a slender metal stem that incorporates both antique brass and satin black finishes (for a little extra detailing) and a base that will fit small spaces comfortably, which is why, along with its just-below-$300 price tag, I’ve dubbed it the best overall floor lamp on this list.

Best wooden floor lamp

Style: Upright, drum shade | Material: Wood, linen

If you prefer something simpler, I recommend this floor lamp from Pottery Barn that has a plain wooden base that I imagine would fit in just about anywhere. Interior designer Stacy likes its “versatile design” that she says pairs well with coastal, California, and transitional styles,” thanks to its pale rubberwood base and textured linen shade. It’s also available in a darker walnut finish, which comes with a gray shade.

Best metal floor lamp

From $595

Style: Upright, tapered drum shade | Material: Metal, polycarbonate, silkscreened shade

This lamp from Italian lighting brand Luceplan has a sleek metal stem with square base and a tapered polycarbonate silkscreened diffuser that comes in 11 colors including a bright primary red, canary yellow, and mauve. It was designed in 1986 but has a contemporary look that I think would look really nice in all kinds of spaces, especially because of its shade options and three different body finishes — off-white, brass, and aluminum. And starting at just under $600 for the white shade on off-white model, it’s a great price for something so timeless.

Best task floor lamp

Style: Task | Material: Metal | Adjustability: Adjustable height, swing arm

For something a little more traditional, try a task lamp, like this one that design historian Alessandra Wood recommends. “I love a good pharmacy lamp,” she says, adding that because of its classic look, this will always be in style. “This has the perfect blend of vintage and industrial charm, and the aged brass introduces an upscale feeling of warmth to any rustic space.” It’s available in other finishes, including nickel and bronze, and has an adjustable height and swing arm.

Best (less expensive) task floor lamp

Style: Task/reading | Material: Metal | Adjustability: Adjustable head

Here’s a more straightforward reading lamp from Ikea that’s as no-fuss as they come — and it’s just $16. It’s recommended by Rajni Jacques, global head of fashion and beauty at Snapchat, who first told us about it in a recent issue of the Secret Strategist newsletter (sign up here if you haven’t yet subscribed to it). The aluminum lamp has an adjustable arm for directing the light wherever you need it to shine, but it also can add a nice glow to the room, as Jacques explains. “I like to call this the Moody Lamp. It’s a great light when you’re feeling melancholy. When the overhead lights are off and you want just a hint of light to soften the room, this does the job,” she told us. “Also, it’s cheap and looks good in any room — night or day.”

Best arc floor lamp

Style: Arc, drum shade | Materials: Metal, cotton | Adjustability: Dimmable

A floor lamp with a dramatically arcing neck can double as overhead lighting if you position it correctly — above seating or even a dining table, for example. Another favorite of Harwood’s, this more traditional option has a simple metal base and cotton shade, making it especially versatile. “With an extending arch that’s over six feet high,” Harwood says it is a practical option for both small and large rooms. She adds that it comes with full dimmer capacity and that you can get it in two finishes (brass and nickel).

Best (less expensive) arc floor lamp

Versanora Arquer Arc Floor Lamp
$116
$116

Style: Arc, globe shade | Material: Metal, marble 

This arcing lamp has more of a ’60s vibe thanks to its globe shade. It’s recommended by home decorator Carrie Carrollo, who, tired of what she calls the millennial-approved “all gold- (or brass-) toned everything,” suggests trying chrome. “This lamp feels like a nice way to potentially experiment with the tone,” she says. It also marries two of the shapes she mentions above, with a shade that is both orblike and mushroom reminiscent.

Best bentwood floor lamp

Style: Arc, pleated shade | Material: Wood, canvas

The Mads Caprani lamp, originally designed in 1971, has a bentwood neck that’s a more subtle take on an arc lamp. Vintage ones were once difficult and expensive to source — I bought mine from Copenhagen-based Etsy seller Verbo Studio, whose lamps were in beautiful condition and better priced than the ones I saw in the U.S. — but now they’re back in production thanks to Gubi. The curved bentwood spine is made of wood veneer with a canvas pleated shade and balances on a crescent-shaped cast-iron base. It can slide into just about any spot due to its petite footprint. I’ve created the most pleasant reading nook by placing it next to a big white slipcovered chair. Even though it’s slightly ubiquitous now, I never tire of looking at its sinuous shape.

Best tripod floor lamp

Style: Tripod, drum shade | Material: Metal, cotton

Tripod floor lamps are another classic choice, but this one that Havenly lead designer Toussaint Derby recommends stands apart thanks to its black-and-gold combination that she says “makes it feel more glam” than your run-of-the-mill lighting out there. Gold accents offset the black fabric drum shade and sleek legs for a moody, high-impact look.

Best mid-century-modern tripod floor lamp

Style: Tripod | Material: Metal | Adjustability: Adjustable head

If you like a lamp that stands on three legs but prefer something with a slimmer profile, consider this lamp by Greta Grossman’s original 1947 Grasshopper design that Allan recommends as an “alternative reproduction if you are working toward building your own iconic collection.” It has a tubular steel tripod stand that is “tilted backward, creating a modern silhouette,” and a conical shade with an elbow joint that can be adjusted up or down to direct the light where you please. In terms of placement, Allan recommends “placing it behind your favorite reading chair in a family room, bedroom, or kids’ room.”

Best paper shade tripod floor lamp

Style: Tripod | Material: Washi paper, metal, bamboo

For something that doubles as a piece of art, consider Isamu Noguchi’s Akari light sculptures, which are made from washi paper and come in dozens of styles and shapes. The Akari 10A stands on three slim legs and has a round paper shade with bent bamboo trim. It’s what beauty consultant Alexis Page (and Strategist senior editor Simone Kitchens) has in her home. As she told us at the time, “I chose the 10A for its lower profile and traditional shape. I like that these lamps either disappear or serve as a focal point. They create warm lighting that I love because overhead lighting should be banned.” While the 10A is out of stock from the Noguchi Museum until March, the similar 10D model is available now.

Best modern floor lamp

Style: Column | Material: Plant polymer, aluminum | Adjustability: Dimmable

Photographer and designer Tommy Lei turns to California-based Gantri, which makes 3-D-printed lighting using plant materials, for his floor lamps. “It works directly with reputable designers to produce cutting-edge products with a high-design flair,” says Lei. The Pavone, designed by Viviana Degrandi, is one of his favorites that he uses in both his home and with clients. The LED light source is ensconced between two tail-feather-shaped shells that diffuse light radially and sit atop two aluminum rods that are anchored by a slim cylindrical base, giving it a slender profile. Lei prefers to use it as a corner lamp to “elevate any sitting or living room,” adding that it “pairs easily with a wide range of décor styles because of how timeless the silhouette is.”

Best vertical-light floor lamp

Style: Column, vertical light | Material: Metal | Adjustability: Dimmable

“This floor lamp is one of my favorites, mainly because of the marble base but also because it’s unique and it doesn’t take up a ton of space,” says interior designer Tiffany Thompson of Duett Interiors. It comes from Canadian-based brand EQ3 and doesn’t immediately look like lighting because of its matte-anodized-aluminum shade that emits a vertical shaft of light. “If you live in a smaller apartment, or you’re looking for a light fixture to go in a corner space, this is a great option while still being a conversation piece,” says Thompson.

Best column floor lamp

Style: Column | Material: Metal

If the above light works best in a corner, this shiny stainless-steel lamp that Victoria Adesanmi, founder and principal of interior-design studio Aesthetics Studios, recommends is meant to stand out. “I’m obsessed with this,” says Adesanmi. “It’s modern, simple, and perfect for any place in your home.”

Best globe floor lamp

Style: Upright, globe | Material: Metal

I love the idea of this simple globe lamp, which was first brought to our attention by artist Hugh Hayden in the same edition of the Secret Strategist newsletter as above. Hayden, who has two of them, says that he loves “their simplicity, size, and the amount of light they bring to my living room.” The spherical diffuser is made from opal white glass and its slim, minimalist stem is made from steel.

Best (low) globe floor lamp

Style: Orb, low | Material: Plastic | Adjustability: Dimmable, 16 LED color options

For a different kind of ambient light, two of our experts, Thompson and Shannon Retseck, the owner of Cuttalossa, a home-goods and textile company, and Cuttalossa & Co., a retail space in Philadelphia, suggest trying round floor lamps, like this one recommended by Thompson. “This is a nontraditional version of a floor lamp,” she says. “I love it directly on the floor or propped up on a stack of books.” It casts a soft glow and comes with 16 LED color options. Retseck, who recommends a similar lamp, agrees that “well-placed glowing globes bring a serene diffused light.”

Best LED floor lamp

Style: Bent neck | Material: Metal | Adjustability: Dimmable

Another minimalist LED lamp, the Leaf from Scandinavian design studio Muuto comes recommended by Clémence Polès, the creative director and founder of online magazine Passerby. “I recently discovered Muuto and have been fawning over their designs,” she says. “The Leaf floor lamp is beautiful. It’s really elegant, thin, and doesn’t take up much space.” Slightly more sculptural than the Ikea lamp above, this “feels like it could be part of an Alexander Calder piece,” according to Polès. The shade, which is shaped like a leaf, can be angled in the direction you desire.

Some more floor lamps we’ve written about

Our experts

• Victoria Adesanmi, founder and principal of Aesthetics Studios
Lauren Ashley Allan, interior designer
Carrie Carrollo, home decorator
• Toussaint Derby, Havenly lead designer
• Stacy Harwood, interior designer
Hugh Hayden, artist
Rajni Jacques, global head of fashion and beauty at Snapchat
Jess Knauf, interior designer
• Meghan Lavery and Daniel King, owners of Home Union
• Tommy Lei, photographer and designer
• Clémence Polès, founder of Passerby
• Shannon Retseck, owner of Cuttalossa
• Tiffany Thompson, founder of Duett Interiors
Alessandra Wood, design historian

Additional reporting by Mimi Faucett.

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The 17 Very Best Floor Lamps