When it comes to floor lighting, you can go the traditional route with shaded styles or opt for a lamp that doesn’t have one at all. Whatever your preferences, there are plenty of options on the market, from budget-friendly picks to splurge-worthy statement pieces. To help narrow down your selection, start by determining the type of lighting your space needs: ambient, task or accent. This will affect the kind of shade you choose and how it is positioned in the room.
An ambient floor lamp emits general, diffraction-style light and is a great choice for seating areas like living room couches or sofas. Typically the base is open to allow more ambient reflected light to flow upward, though many also feature a narrower opening near the top to reduce the amount of direct glare emitted. The overall effect is warm and inviting, perfect for a cozy reading nook.
A reading floor lamp provides more focused, direct light for reading and other activities. This type of lamp usually features a tilting shade or flexible arm to allow you to control the direction of the light as needed. Most also offer a six-way switch to provide different levels of brightness and the option to turn off the light completely.
Then there are decorative floor lamps, which add visual interest to a room with a unique shape or material. For example, the rattan trend is a popular style choice for these types of lights that come in various colors and finishes. Shown here, the Robert Abbey Collin Saki Shade Tray Floor Lamp offers a contemporary take on this trend with its bronze finish and dark antique nickel accents. It takes a standard 150-watt three-way bulb and measures 59 inches tall.
Shades on floor lamps often have a coordinating or partly contrasting shape to the lamp base for visual balance. For example, a round lamp base will often look better with a circular shade. This creates a smooth, flowing line from the base to the shade and helps the two elements coordinate with each other rather than compete for attention.
Since floor lamps tend to be larger than table lamps, they generally require a shade that is larger in proportion to the base. Drum-shaped shades are a good match for this purpose, as they’re designed to appear large enough to balance the height of a taller lamp base. Other styles include empire, bell and coolie shades, which can all work well when paired with a floor lamp base.
The shape of a floor lamp’s shade can be a big deciding factor in its overall appeal. For example, if you’re going with a torchiere lamp, its unique, upward-pointing shape makes it stand out from other floor lamps and can help draw the eye toward the space’s most interesting features. Likewise, an arched floor lamp like the Frederick Cooper Toyon Brass Bronze Floor Lamp can add dimension to a corner with its arced, curved shade and metal rod construction.