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Table Lamps—Size, Shades & More
I see so many table lamps in your lighting collection. What can you tell me about the materials and design?
Every table lamp you see at Ethan Allen is exclusively designed and crafted for us. We work with a coterie of hand-picked artisans chosen for both their skill and the unique materials that can be found in their region.
Uniqueness and craftsmanship are everything to us when it comes to curating table lamps for our collection. Check out our video page and scroll to Craftsmanship & Service for a behind-the-scenes look at how our Lillie table lamp is made—that’s just one example of the artistry that goes into every Ethan Allen lamp.
Here are just a few examples of the unique materials found in our table lamp collection:
- Hand-thrown clay
- Blown glass
- Pierced metal
- Crystal buds
- Woven rope
- Metal with an antiqued brass finish
OK, now for the practical part. How big should a lamp be on a table?
For lamps placed on end tables and night tables:
- Choose a table lamp that, from base to finial, is no more than 1.5 times taller than your table.
- Check the shade diameter or width. The widest part of your lamp’s shade should be no wider than your tabletop.
- Sit on your sofa or bed and measure from the seating surface to your eye level; that’s about where the bottom of your lamp shade should land. Check it against the “footprint to base of shade” measurement located in Additional Details on our product pages. A shade that lands higher than eye level tends to give you too much glare when you’re trying to read or watch TV.
- Consider the weight of your lamp. A heavy ceramic or alabaster table lamp on a lightweight table could be a recipe for tipover—and sadness—but a slender lamp that doesn’t weigh as much could give you the visual scale you need without the heft.
- As a general rule, we recommend against placing our table lamps on our smaller accent tables.
For lamps placed on buffets or consoles:
- Height is less of an issue but check the depth of the table: The widest part of your lamp shade should be no wider than the table’s depth.
- If you’re placing your table lamp on a sofa table, check the height of the bottom of its shade relative to the height of people in your home—no one wants to tap their head on a lamp shade while they’re trying to watch TV!
I’ve seen your table lamps in the Design Center, and they’re pretty big. Why is that?
We scale our lamps on the larger side because bigger tends to look better within the overall design of most rooms. The easiest way to see if one of our table lamps will suit your space is to use our EA inHome® app on your mobile device to preview our lamp in your room.
- If you feel that our table lamp looks too large for your tabletop, check out our desk and accent lamp collection for smaller options.
- • If those smaller lamps just don’t work in terms of scale within the room, consider using a wall sconce or pendant light for task lighting.
I hear the terms “task lighting” and “ambient lighting” a lot. What do those mean and what do they have to do with choosing a table lamp?
Ambient lighting is a room’s overall light level. Made up of your room’s mix of natural and artificial light, it varies by time of day. Task lighting illuminates a particular area, so you can see well when reading, journaling, or knitting. Table lamps are primarily agents of task lighting, but they can add to a room’s ambient light mix, too.
You probably know instinctively that bulb brightness matters. For a table lamp, we recommend something no brighter than a 10-watt LED bulb, or 450 lumens. Also important: Consider the opacity and shape of your shade.
- Lamp shades made from more transparent material will add more to a room’s overall ambient light, while shades that are less see-through tend to focus light downward on a task.
- A shade that’s the same width from top to bottom—drum shades or rectangular shades—will also provide better direct task lighting. Shades with bell shapes tend to diffuse light outward into the room.
For more tips on ambient and task lighting, scan through our lighting buying guide.
How do I choose a lamp for a bedside table? Are there special considerations?
The same general rules apply when it comes to the proportion of the lamp to your night tables. If you don’t have room for one of our table lamps, the bedroom is a great place to consider bedside wall sconces or pendant lights.
Keep in mind that once you hardwire a fixture into your wall or ceiling, you’re not going to have as much flexibility when it comes to rearranging your bedroom furniture. Make sure you really love your room layout; you’ll be leaving it that way long term.
Can I swap out the shade on one of your table lamps?
Our lamp shades are specifically designed to coordinate with their base in terms of shape, material, and proportion. That said, you can swap it out if you want a different design or opacity, or if the shade gets damaged.
Your replacement shade should be about 33% to 40% of the height of your lamp base. Simply unplug the lamp, unscrew the finial and bulb, and remove the old shade. Place the new shade onto the harp, then replace your bulb and finial, and plug your lamp back in.
Do you have more questions? Click the Designer Chat icon, or contact your local Design Center—we’re happy to help!