Lamp Sizes - Why It's Important

When a client comes to us asking for a “quick” project, we hate to break it to them, but there’s no such thing as a “quick” project. This topic perfectly sums up why: there’s no “small” task. Even choosing the right lamp is a HUGE decision! This is one of those “aha moments” when clients realize exactly how much work goes into even the smallest detail!

The Front Door by Furniture Row does a wonderful job of explaining the guidelines, but we’ll give you the basics right here…

In your living space, lamps are not just used for tasks such as reading. Think of lamps adding an extra warm ambiance to the space! So if your designer says, “Let’s add a lamp to that side table next to your armchair”, don’t immediately scoff at the idea even if you don’t sit in that particular chair to read. The designer is probably suggesting it to add ambiance or even to add height/interest to an otherwise unassuming side table.

In terms of the overall size of your lamp, there are a few basic general rules:

  1. The lamp itself should not be more than 1.5 times taller than the surface it is sitting on. So that means if you have a 28” tall side table, your lamp should NEVER be taller than 42”.

  2. The lamp shade diameter should be smaller than the width of the sofa side table. So if your side table is 30” wide, that lamp shade cannot extend wider than that.

  3. The lamp shade should also be within two inches of the lamp’s base length. So if the base length is 12”, the shade diameter should be no smaller than 10”, no bigger than 14”.

  4. The lamp shade should be about 65%-90% of the base length (or about 1/3 of the fixture’s total height).

Check out the image that we put together below (Design by Bee’s Knees Interior Design, Photography by Kyle Caldwell).

lamp size diagram.jpg

So, next time you’re staring at your side table, trying to figure out what to put there, try a lamp! And use these guidelines to help you along the way!