How to find a cool lamp
Getting the right lamp is both a matter of style and convenience. The new item needs to blend well with the rest of the room and to provide a certain ambiance, but also to lighten up shadowy areas and to be sufficiently bright to allow for everyday practicality.
There are two main categories of lamps to choose from, depending on what you intend to use the item for. Directional lighting lamps, commonly called desk lamps or reading lamps, concentrate a more or less wide beam on a specific area. They have an opaque shade and a flexible neck that allows a high degree of movement for the lighting head.
The style isn’t always a big issue for desk lamps, but it comes into play when floor or table lamps are concerned. Ambient lighting pieces are seen as part of the furniture and are commonly used to lighten up a whole room. They come in a wide range of shapes and sizes but feature a transparent shade and a rigid mid section.
There’s a high variety of models from both categories available for sale. To make the task of choosing one a little bit easier for you, we’ve taken a look at all the best lamps reviews to be found online and narrowed a few criteria to have in mind when shopping.
How we chose the coolest lamps
The business end of a lamp can feature three types of lighting sources, which vary in color temperature, intensity, and energy consumption.
White light emitting diodes (LEDs) are the most modern and most economical option. They might cost a bit more at purchase, but LEDs are incredibly resilient and maintain their lighting intensity throughout their lifetime.
Everyone who’s familiar with LED flashlights knows they give out an intense but very cool lighting. This will work well to provide the right ambient for a kitchen or workspace, but it could prove jarring for a living room or bedroom setting, where warmer tones are preferred.
In the latter cases, the LED can be matched with an adequately opaque shade to provide for the right temperature, which is a little warmer and less intense than daylight.
Incandescent light bulbs give out a soft, yellowish light, which will be further dimmed by the lampshade. They make ideal options for end-table or dresser lamps that are mainly used for bedtime reading. They are cheap and still fairly common but their resilience is admittedly low and their light output will dim over time.
Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL) fall somewhere in between in almost all metrics. When not shaded, the effect they give is probably closest to natural lighting — somewhat pale with a slight tint of yellow.
This makes them a great option for working spaces such as kitchens or studies, but they won’t provide the same lifetime performance and low energy cost as LEDs.
Light and lamp shade
Besides being the most eye catching element of the lamp, the shade is also used to make light quality fit the user’s desires. It can be bought separately and easily replaced for the right effect.
People find that warm colors and dim lighting create an adequate mood for the bedroom or other sleeping areas. This can be achieved with a thick canvas lampshade, colored in earthy tones, or even a glass semi-spherical lamp shade in a strong color or complicate pattern.
Lampshades used for living areas or work spaces will usually allow more light through. Thin, white or off-white canvas is preferred for this or simple opaque glass with little or no applied pattern to distract from the uniformity of the lighting.
As it’s already become a staple in movies, offices are almost always directionally lit, with a stream of white light giving adequate importance to the desk area. The shade’s primary purpose is to stop light from flooding the rest of the room, but reflective surfaces placed on the inside of it will also help concentrate the stream to one particular direction.
Styles and finishes
The overall shape and size of the lamp should be chosen to bind well with the character of the room. Highly decorated Tiffany lamps could draw too much attention in a minimalist setting while a discrete floor lamp will seem meek in a lively decorated space.
Likewise, lamp finishes should match what is already present in the home. For example, if door handles and cabinet hardware are in antique bronze, the finishes on the lamp should be the same.
It is sometimes more important to avoid a discordant note than for the object to have any significant aesthetic value by itself. A cheap lamp might look good in an unpretentious room, where a richly decorated Victorian piece will seem out of place.
Style, size, and placement
Same as above, the size of the lamp should be directly proportional to the space available in the room. Large table lamps, of over 30” in height should only be used in living rooms where they won’t appear to dominate their corner. Lamps for bathrooms or small bedrooms shouldn’t surpass 20-25” in height.
The height of the unit should be inversely proportional to the piece of furniture supporting it. Besides practical considerations, placing something like a tall and thin lamp on a cabinet will also provide a jarring effect.
A key thing to consider when choosing the right height for the lamp is that the bulb won’t come low enough to shine in your eyes. This only applies to cylindrically shaped lamp shades that allow for an open top, so if there isn’t a tall enough end table or dresser to accommodate a small sized unit, consider going for a glass lamp shade that offers semi-spheric covering.
In terms of width, a golden rule states that the space left uncovered by the edges of the lampshade on either side of the furniture should be one-half of its total diameter. In simpler words, lamps look best when their diameter is two-thirds of the width of the plane surface they rest on.