Table Lamps Tips

Read these 17 Table Lamps Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Lighting tips and hundreds of other topics.

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How do I care for my lava lamp?

Does Your Lamp Measure Up?

Are you trying to select the perfect table lamps for your room? Relax, you don't need an extensive table lamp guide to make a good decision, you just need to assess the situation properly. Here are some things to consider:

  1. Choose a lamp that is an appropriate size. On a smaller table or narrow counter, a slender lamp may be your best bet. A large end table or hefty desk, however, can accommodate a much larger lamp.
  2. Consider style. A high-tech lamp or lava lamp will look misplaced on an antique Victorian table, while a fancy, crystal Tiffany-style lamp will look ridiculous on a sleek, modern end table.
  3. Get measurements to make sure the lamp will be tall enough to cast its light over your shoulder when you are sitting near it. The bottom of the shade should be almost even with your cheek when you're sitting on a chair, and the light's beams should land around your lap.

   
Tiffany style lamps are fragile, how do I care for them?

Caring for Tiffany Style Lamps

Table Lamp Guide: Heart motif Tiffany table lamp. Mission Prairie style Tiffany-esque lamp. Dragonfly Tiffany-style table lamp. Tiffany Collection modern table lamp with lily pad base. Six-sided filigree Tiffany style table lamp. You get the idea. So many Tiffany style lamps...how do you care for them all? You're terrorized by your Tiffany style lamp. It's so intricate and colorful, it looks so delicate. You love that Audrey Hepburn feeling but worry about dropping the Tiffany contemporary table lamp when you're dusting.

Tiffany Tip: You can buy lamp polish designed expressly for Tiffany lamps. But actually, a lemon oil-based furniture polish applied to a soft glass cleaning cloth will gently clean stained glass, most metal lamp bases, and of course the fixture frames everyone forgets. Household glass cleaner works better on Tiffany transparent or beveled glass.

**Place Tiffany lamps on higher tables out of reach of children and pets. If you live in California, use museum putty to keep your precious lamps safe. Now that your Tiffany style lamps sparkle, you can devote your energy to choosing even more Tiffany lamps!

   
What's the best placement for table lamps in my home office?

Table This: Table Lamps in the Home Office

Table Lamp Guide: You've gotten rid of those banker's lamps because they were giving you a savings and loan feel. But what contemporary table lamp is best for the important tasks of your life and your small business? How do you avoid being distracted by your table lamp--as it is, you're battling snacking urges, IMs from friends who think you don't really work, and interruptions from the kids. Your table lamp should be the last thing you concentrate on. Some tips from our home office:

  • Choose an adjustable table lamp for additional lighting on the desk and keyboard. We like the Adjustable height Bronze Finish contemporary table lamp or a swing-arm modern table lamp.
  • Right-handed? Place your desk lamp on the left side to avoid shadows on the paper. Slender shades and bulbs allow you to place a table lamp on either side of your desk. The lights from the table lamps will intersect, creating a spotlight ambience.
  • Save your eyes! Don't think a super-bright halogen or CFL bulb in your table lamp is enough if you're working late at night and trying not to disturb anyone. You can close the door.

If you're worried about the overall light level, make use of the dimmer switch. Now that your table lamp problems are solved, you're left with one more question: Can I deduct them as a business expense?

   
What are good table lamps for a boy's bedroom?

Boy's Bedroom Table Lamps

Table Lamp Guide: When you were eight, did you pay attention to your table lamps? Unless they were racing lamps or Star Wars lamps, probably not. However, the modern table lamp has evolved beyond superheroes and space age. Speaking of space age, an Amber Moon Accent Light contemporary table lamp is great for that aspiring astronaut (girls too!) Anything that isn't frilly or feminine (though some guys do like butterflies) will probably go over well.

On the dresser, you might even include a lava lamp—it's so fascinating that your sons will even forget about computers, video games, and Harry Potter books. They'll fall asleep watching the lava lamp. An evening of peace and quiet = priceless. So, even though you didn't look closely at your table lamps when you were eight, you're thinking about them now. This makes you appreciate your parents more, doesn't it?

   
Should I buy lava lamps to decorate my house?

Forget The Lava Lamp, Man

Table Lamp Guide: You wouldn't put a lava lamp in the middle of a traditional Victorian-furnished room. That's a no-brainer, man. Where else are funkadelic glow-in-the-dark modern table lamps considered uncool?

  • A lava lamp just isn't practical in the kitchen—where you don't want to be distracted and where a lava lamp might easily break. They are fragile, and you don't want a toxic spill from the mercury lava lamps.
  • Dining room lighting typically focuses attention on fine china, conversation, and oh yes, the food. Stick with a classic table lamp and leave the lava lamp for the family room.

Lava lamps are wild, but it's hip to use common sense.

   

Gentle Lighting

It's common knowledge that you need lighting in every room. Some rooms, however, require delicate lighting for delicate cargo. The nursery is a very special place and it's important that everything is perfect for your perfect little bundle of joy. As we all know, bright lights can be harsh on the eyes. Babies have extremely sensitive eyes so it is important arrange low lighting.

Dimmer switches are a good idea but table and accent lamps are the way to go. By placing lamps in seperate areas of the room, you can light up only the necessary areas. Small lamps with soft, woven shades can provide enough light without blinding everyone. Place a small table or accent lamp next to the changing table and one in the reading are. Remember to use low-wattage bulbs.

   
What light bulbs do I buy for my lava lamp?

College Dorm Decor

So, your little darling is finally off to college. Before you head home to your empty nest, however, help your little college student set up his or her new nest. The main point of going to college is to get an education (try telling that to your youngin'). So, make sure that you fill the room with plenty of lighting for all of those reading and studying sessions.

Since attaching things to the dorm wall probably isn't an option, invest in some table lamps. Pick out smaller models that won't occupy too much space but will give off a good bit of light. A lava lamp is a really good option. Lava lamps are slender and take up minimal space. And, lava lamps are pretty hip and can add a funky feel to your kid's room. Now, just throw in a couple of butterfly chairs and a throw rug and your college student can study in well-lit style.

   
Should I buy lava lamps to decorate my house?

Retro Cool and Lava Lamps

Table Lamp Guide: Lava lamps didn't disappear with bell bottoms and flower power. We were going to say disco, but disco hasn't died, and neither have lava lamps. Best of all, they're not just for some cool cat's beat pad studio apartment in the Village. They're modern, not Mod Squad.

  • Red-Hot Lava Tip: Pair a Volcano Lava Lamp on a table with a Volcano Motion Torchiere Floor Lamp on the opposite side of the room or easy chair for maximum cool. It's perfect while you're reading books about Bob Dylan or poetry by Allen Ginsberg.
  • Boiling Hot Lava Tip: For added funk, try the Two-Arm Medusa Motion Table Lamp. Like the Medusa of legend, this lava lamp will freeze you in your tracks as you watch it for hours. Now there's a bizarre mind trip!

Vesuvius Eruption Hot Lava Tip: Place a motion lava lamp wherever you want a conversation piece. Don't overwhelm the room with them, especially the bedroom--just one will do. Watching the lava motion can actually soothe you to sleep, so you're as mellow as a hippie after Woodstock.

   
What table lamps are too elaborate for a bedside or end table?

Too-Elaborate Table Lamps

Table Lamp Guide: Your family or significant other complains they're up to their ears in flowers, and you don't even garden. It could be the three-uplight flower motif contemporary table lamp, or two or three, that you talk to just as if it were a real flower (you're allergic to pollen, after all.) If it's not flowers, it's got to be Tiffany. You love Tiffany style lamps. The problem is, however, your local church groups want to meet at your house because you have more stained glass than Chartres Cathedral...and that's just in the bedroom!

  • Table lamps can be too elaborate for everyday use. A good table lamp should enhance your decor, not overwhelm.
  • When buying a rococo, baroque, candelabra, or urn-style contemporary table lamp, place it on a bedside or end table with few other knickknacks. It should stand alone. It's more striking that way, especially in the bedroom.
  • A well-placed pair of matching table lamps has more of a dramatic and pleasing effect than five or six Tiffany style lamps clustered in the room.
  • Don't be afraid to mix and match. A carved porcelain classic table lamp with a tasseled fabric lampshade can contrast with a crystal clear column contemporary table lamp with a simple white lampshade on the opposite end of the room.
  • As for the flower lamps...less is more. Besides, maybe it's time to bring real flowers into your home...there's always Claritin, which you can buy when you're making trips to the drugstore to buy light bulbs (although not too many) for your tasteful table lamps.

   
When would I use a battery-operated table lamp?

Battery-Operated Table Lamps

Going camping? Dealing with a power outage? There's no need to be uncivilized and go without a table lamp! Battery operated table lamps offer stable, easy-to-use lighting for up to nine hours.

Even when electricity is available, it's not always convenient to run cords across a space. Battery-operated candle lights are great when you can't use real candles -- for instance, in a public wedding hall.

   
Can an antique table lamp still work?

Antique Table Lamps

Antique table lamps are the perfect accent for a room with a historical theme. If you're just starting out in collecting antiques, lamps may be a more affordable option than large pieces of furniture.

Antique vases have often been used in lamp bases, a fashion which continues today. Another option is a Victorian gas table lamp which has been refitted to use electricity.

If you're not ready to invest in actual antiques, today's table lamps are available in a variety of traditional styles to create whatever visual effect you have in mind, whether it be Colonial American or ancient Greek.

   
What kind of table lamps work best in a child's bedroom?

Table Lamps for Children's Spaces

Whether it's a Disney Princess lamp or a T-Rex table lamp, a lamp in a child's room needs to be sturdy and stable enough to withstand the occasional pillow fight.

Interesting touches for a kid's room include a light-up globe, a night-light shaped like a favorite animal, a lava lamp or a pair of light-up iPod speakers that groove along with the beat of your teen's favorite music.

   
What is a banker's lamp?

Banker's Lamps

The classic "banker's lamp" is a brass desk lamp with a green glass shade. Popular in banks in the early 20th century, they're still frequently found in formal office environments.

Today the banker's lamp has been updated with a range of attractive glass and metal shades. Choose a chrome lamp for a modern look, or an art glass shade for a creative touch that's still office-friendly. Banker's lamps evolved because of a need for task lighting, and are still an excellent choice if you have the desk space.

   
What are some considerations in choosing a desk lamp?

Desk Lamps

A desk lamp's primary job is task lighting. Because today's desks often include computers, it's important to have desk lighting that doesn't tire your eyes or cast a glare on the screen. Yet, you may often want good light on documents next to the computer.

Don't place a light right above or behind the screen, and balance desk lamps against windows so that natural light reaches you at the desk. Some experts suggest using triangle-shaped task lighting so that you can better control where the light goes, angling light onto your keyboard, but not your screen.

In addition, you may wish to investigate using full-spectrum bulbs instead of incandescents or fluorescents. Many people find this is easier on their eyes.

   
Where can I use accent table lamps?

Accent Table Lamps

An accent table lamp isn't primarily for task lighting -- it's meant to offer pleasant ambient lighting for conversation, TV-watching and entertaining. Because of this, they're often more decorative than practical.

With the huge range of styles available, you're sure to find one that matches your table and the rest of the furniture in your room. Or, if you like, use a table lamp as an inexpensive way to take your decor in a new direction. Try a pair of Asian table lamps to lend a touch of the exotic, or a glass lamp base to reflect light from a window.

   
Are table lamps or swing-arm lamps better for my bedside?

Table Lamp or Swing-Arm Lamp?

Table Lamp Guide: Your bedroom is your sanctuary, the best place for intimate and cozy lighting. Say you've got the house to yourself and you're in bed curled up with the latest detective thriller or chick lit offering. (How about detective chick lit?) You're indulging yourself with a mug of cocoa or glass of wine on your bedside table. When you reach out to turn up the light, or turn off the light because you're sleepy, where do you reach? Do you knock the book and cocoa or wine over because your bedside table's cluttered with an oversized table lamp? There goes any thought of sleep or your leisurely evening spent reading.

Some experts think that swing-arm wall lamps on either side of the bed at the correct height will give you adequate light to keep reading till you find out whodunit (of course the girl and the hunky detective/falsely accused suspect end up together), and have room for cocoa, wine, other treasured books and a box of hankies (if needed.)

But if you prefer a contemporary table lamp or a Tiffany style table lamp, make sure the base is slender and the lampshade proportional. Opt for a smaller accent modern table lamp such as the Tiffany-Style Nightlight Modern Table Lamp (rectangular thin solid base) or a Kathy Ireland Grecian Accent Table Lamp with slender base. After all, you don't want to wait to find out if that mild-mannered reporter is really the vicious murderer.

   
What are some ideas for contemporary table lamps?

Contemporary Table Lamps

Contemporary table lamps can be smooth chrome or heavy wrought iron, abstract in shape or evoking nature and science fiction.

For a colorful, whimsical room, consider a chrome base with a shade featuring tiki mermaids. In a warm, comfortable modern room, a wooden lamp base with a square shade creates an up-to-date, low-profile look.

   
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Guru Spotlight
Sheri Ann Richerson