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February 02, 2022 6 min read

Shopping for lamps can be complicated. With so many styles to choose from, it’s crucial to have a plan before you head to the store or start searching online.


The first step when shopping for lamps is to think about the space where you’re going to put them.

-          How big is your space, and how much of it does the lamp need to illuminate?

-          Will it go on a table or the floor?

-          Do you need just one lamp or a pair/set?

-          Are you putting it on hardwood, a table, or carpet?

-          Do you have children or pets to think about when it comes to the stability of the lamp?


Once you have these answers, you’re ready to start shopping. You can read about the different lamp styles you’ll have to choose from below.


Different Style Lamps and Where to Use Them in Your Home

Buffet Lamps

Not to be confused with a standard table lamp, buffet lamps are taller and have a more slender neck. They’re called buffet lamps because they were made to be placed on long serving tables to illuminate food during parties.


Buffet lamps are usually over 32 inches tall, and their thin, long neck often looks like a candlestick. For this reason, some people refer to buffet lamps as “candlestick lamps.”

Where to use this lamp

Of course, a buffet lamp is best suited to a buffet table. But they can also be used on end tables if your decor calls for something taller than the average table lamp.


The downside of buffet lamps is that they only illuminate a small space. They tend to be purchased in sets, so having multiple lamps spread out along a table makes for the perfect lighting and adds decor.

However, if you plan to use them solo, you may need something that gives off more light. Buffet lamps are not an ideal choice for lighting an entire room.

Arc Lamps

Arc lamps typically sit on the floor and have a tall, slender neck with a curve (or arc) at the top. Rather than simply standing straight up, they can reach farther across a room to provide light in hard-to-reach areas. You can also use them as a way to enhance dramatic decor.

Where to use this lamp

Arc lamps are typically placed in the corner of a room, along a wall, or behind furniture such as a couch.

The lamp's long neck can be positioned so that light is cast a few feet away from the lamp's base. For example, if you place the lamp behind a sofa, you can cast light over the seats.


Because these lamps are top-heavy, they’re not ideal for rooms where children or pets play. It’s relatively easy to knock them over since they can be wobbly by nature. However, looking for a lamp with a solid base will reduce the risk of damage.

Tripod Lamps

Tripod lamps are floor lamps with three legs (like a tripod). They’re quite stylish and draw people’s attention, so they tend to be a focal point in a room. 

Because they have three legs, tripod lamps tend to be very sturdy.

Where to use this lamp

You can use a tripod lamp in just about any room. They tend to give off a good amount of light (although some of that will depend on the lightbulb you use), so they can act as the sole source of light in a room.

You will typically see tripod lamps in living rooms and bedrooms.


The downside of a tripod lamp is that the three legs are typically spread out wide to keep the lamp stable. This means that they take up more floor space than other types of lamps. This may make tripod lamps a less-than-ideal option for small spaces.

Swing Arm Lamps

Swing arm lamps come in all shapes and sizes. They can be used as table lamps or floor lamps, but are most commonly seen on walls.

What makes these lamps unique is their adjustable arm, which allows you to pull the light in different directions depending on where you need it.

Where to use this lamp

You can place a swing arm lamp in any room, but they tend to be most prevalent in offices. You will also see them in places where people need to adjust their light for reading, such as bedrooms.


While swing arm lamps are convenient, they tend to be smaller than other lamps and can only light a limited area.

This makes them suitable for task lighting but less-than-ideal for trying to illuminate an entire room.

Torchiere Floor Lamps

Torchiere floor lamps are some of the most common light fixtures. These tall, torch-shaped lamps stand straight up from the floor and point light upward at the ceiling.

Where to use this lamp

The primary benefit of the torchiere floor lamp is its ability to light up a large space on its own. It does this by directing light upward so that it bounces off the ceiling and surrounding walls. That makes them suitable for just about every space since they also have a relatively small footprint.


Because these lamps tend to be light and slender, they can be knocked over easily. This can be even more dangerous since torchiere lamps tend to have glass lampshades which can shatter.

Piano lamps

Piano lamps have a long horizontal bulb with a hood over the top, directing light downward. Originally, these were used on pianos to illuminate sheet music. And while they can be clipped onto furniture from pianos to headboards, they’re most commonly used as table lamps.  

Where to use this lamp

These lamps shine light directly onto a tabletop. That makes them popular for office desks.


Because piano lamps only shine downward, they can only provide adequate lighting for whatever is directly underneath them. They are ineffective

Boom Arm Lamps

Boom arm lamps are light fixtures with an adjustable arm that swings. They are similar to swing arm lamps and can be adjusted to provide the same kind of lighting as arc lamps.

The arm on these lamps can be swiveled up and down or side to side, but usually not both.

Where to use this lamp

The swing arm lamp is a good fit for rooms with modern design decor. They can be floor or desk lamps, so they’re an option for just about any space.


If you are concerned about the lamp tipping, it’s important to find a fixture with a heavy base. Adjusting the boom arm can make the lamp unstable, so they may not be appropriate for areas where children play.

Gooseneck Lamps

A gooseneck lamp can be a floor or desk lamp, and the type of neck on the lamp will determine the best location and use for the fixture.

Two types of goose neck lamps:

-          Flexible

A flexible gooseneck lets you move the neck of the lamp 360-degrees so you can point the light in whatever direction you need.

-          Fixed curved neck

If the gooseneck lamp has a fixed neck, it will be curved, but it won’t be adjustable.

Where to use this lamp

These lamps are great for reading spots and office desks since you can focus the light wherever you need it most.


The focused light of a gooseneck lamp can also be a disadvantage if you need more light in a room. The light from these fixtures is concentrated in one area, so it’s not the best choice if you need to light a whole room.

Tree Lamps

Tree lamps come in many different styles. What they all have in common is that they have multiple branches that hold bulbs. These might be traditional light bulbs or smaller sprays of lights.

Where to use this lamp

This style can be advantageous in larger rooms because it spreads light into many different places. That makes it an ideal lamp for any room needing a bright source of light.

How a Lamp Can Make Your Space

Lamps are a stylish way to bring a room together and illuminate your other design choices. Because they come in so many sizes and styles, lamps allow you to show off your personality and echo the style of your house. Of course, they’re also essential fixtures in any room that doesn’t have a constant natural light source.

Regardless of what style of lamp you choose, you can always customize it further by adding your own lampshade to make it a perfect addition to your room.

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