Lighting has a major effect on the appearance of any space. Lights can make colors appear duller or more vibrant, highlight artwork, and even create focal points in a room. Lamps are added to rooms for both aesthetic and functional reasons. When looking to transform your space, it is important to consider the many types of floor lamps, how lamps can be used in a room, and how to plot out the optimal placement for your lamps.

Types of Floor Lamps and Their Features

Better Homes and Gardens Magazine, one of the leading interior design resources, explains that lighting retailers like Lumens offer several types of floor lamps, each with its own set of features. Some floor lamps even come with additional features such as shelving and attached tables to add further functionality to their design. Knowing the differences between your floor lamp options can assist you in making the best choice to suit your personal style and needs.

  • Traditional floor lamps are known as console lamps. This design generally constitutes a single, shaded bulb perched atop a tall rod. The rod is attached to a geometric or circular base and the lamp casts a downward light that is useful for task lighting.
  • Torchière lamps are similar in design to console lamps. This style of lamp also has a long rod stand and a geometric or circular base. The difference between the two styles is in the shade; instead of a downward facing shade that casts light to the floor, a torchère lamp has an upward facing shade which forces light up and spreads it along the ceiling, casting a wider field of light in the room. This style of lamp is useful in rooms with no overhead lighting.
  • Arcing Floor Lamps are also similar to console lamps. They too, have the standard base and pole set up, but instead of the light source being at the top of the pole it is affixed to an arcing arm. Light produced by an arcing floor lamp is cast down, out, and away from the base of the lamp; this type of lamp makes a good reading lamp.
  • Multiple light source lamps add a whimsical functionality and beauty to any room. In addition to the standard base and pole design, multiple light source floor lamps have “arms”. The arms extend either out of the base or from the rod and each arm has its own light. With flexible construction, the arms are able to be twisted and bent in different directions allow the light to be focused in multiple angles. This style of lamp offers a sculptural aesthetic to lamp design.
  • Floor Lamps with shelves or tables are another option. Shelves and tables can be found added to any of the above styles of floor lamps. Modern shelved floor lamps have interesting geometric designs and are made with modern materials, according to This type of lamp is the height of functionality.
Modern designs use finishes like chrome and copper in lieu of the old fashioned brass finish. Contemporary design elements also include curved, as opposed to traditional straight, poles, and multiple lighted arms. explains that contemporary floor lamps do double duty as sculptural art in modern room design.

Uses for and Placement of Floor Lamps

Console, arcing, and multiple light floor lamps are good for reading and task lighting. They can be placed by chairs, sofas, and desks so that their light can shine down over you as you read, sew, or do other tasks. Floor lamps with shelves go well next to chairs and couches or in corners as they can either be used as side tables or as shelves to show off accessories. explains that torchiere lamps are typically used to light large spaces and to highlight hanging artwork as their light is direct both up towards the ceiling and in a circular plane that aids the light in reflecting off of walls.

Choosing the correct floor lamp for your space and needs can make a real difference in the look, feel, and usefulness of your room. Lamps can be used as decorative art pieces by adding a modern feel with curved and geometric designs and matte metallic finishes. By placing a different floor lamp by different pieces of furniture in your room you can create warmth and usefulness, shedding light on task specific areas. The right light can help you read, highlight a favorite painting or family portrait, or simply brighten up a dark space. Whether your style has a traditional feel or a modern edge, the variety offered in floor lamps can help put the finishing touch on your revitalized space.