Everything You Need to Know About Lamp Sizes

Oct 21, 2021

Lighting and Lamps

Looking for a lamp size guide to help you light up your home? Here’s everything you need to know about sizing lamps, so that you can take your home design to the next level.

What is a Table Lamp?

(Pictured Above: Damon Table Lamp)

A table lamp is a light source that sits on top of a surface such as an end table, a console table, or a nightstand. They’re generally used to add additional area lighting, mood lighting, or task lighting to a room.

How Tall Should a Table Lamp Be?

A good rule of thumb is that your table lamp should be at about eye-level when you’re seated near it, or at about 58” to 64” inches from the floor. Table lamps should not be more than 1.5 times taller than the surface they’re sitting on and the diameter of the lamp shade should be smaller than the width of the surface.

If, for example, your lamp is on the end table next to the couch, you’d want the lampshade to sit around eye level for anyone sitting there. Most of the time, that ends up being about 30″ inches from the bottom of the base to the top of the shade. This number assumes that the table holding your lamp measures in at about 28” tall. When you’re shopping for a lamp, you’ll want to measure your table and lamp to make sure they’ll sit at about the right level when in use.

What is a Buffet Lamp?

(Pictured Above: Adelaide Buffet Lamp)

Like a table lamp, a buffet lamp sits on top of a surface, but they are generally used for spaces where taller lamps are needed, such as buffet server or console table. Buffet lamps tend to be skinny in stature with a small shade, so they don’t take up too much space. Buffet lamps are sometimes referred to as console lamps or candlestick lamps, and they can be used to illuminate the food on a buffet server, for low level lighting, and for mood lighting throughout your home.

How Tall Should Buffet Lamps Be?

Buffet lamps usually stand between 32 to 36 inches tall, when measured from their base to the top of the shade. Because they can be used on buffets, dressers, console tables, and sofa tables of varying heights, you should try to keep the combined height of the lamp and the surface in the 58 to 64-inch range. This is especially important if there are other table lamps or floor lamps in the room because you generally want the lamps to be at about the same height if you move your eyes horizontally across the room.

What is a Floor Lamp?

(Pictured Above: Brodie Floor Lamp)

A floor lamp is a tall standing lamp that comes up from the floor to add extra light to any room. In a living room, floor lamps are often placed behind or next to a sofa or a sectional. They come in a wide range of styles, including tower lamps and arc lamps, which feature an arched lamp base that bends so that the light is directly over a sofa, chair, or sectional.

How Tall Should a Floor Lamp Be?

The bottom of the lamp shade should be at or above eye level of a person seated next to it. Floor lamps tend to range from 58-64 inches, but finding the exact right height depends on the furniture around it. If the floor lamp is next to a short sofa, for example, you’ll likely want to choose a floor lamp on the shorter end of that range. You’ll also want to consider the other lighting in the room. If, for example, you have multiple floor lamps, you’ll want to keep them all within a close height range. That way, they look more uniform and coordinated.

What is Task Lighting?

(Pictured Above: Grady Task Lamp)

While many lamps provide general light or mood lighting, task lighting provides increased light for specific tasks you might complete in a given room. Task lighting is especially common in home offices, but it can also be used in other rooms in the house for people who like to read or do crafts like knitting, sewing, or painting. Unlike more general lighting, you’ll likely only have a task lamp on when you’re completing the allotted task.

What Size Lamp Shade?

The shade should be twice as wide as the base of the lamp and one third of the height of the lamp, including the bulb and harp. For floor lamps, the lamp shade should be 18 inches or larger at the diameter of its base. Buffet lamp shades tend to be on the smaller side and often have base dimensions about 12 inches or less.

Ready to start decorating? Check out Star Furniture’s huge selection of home lighting, including table lamps, floor lamps, and buffet lamps. In the meantime, check out our home inspiration blog, where we cover everything from how to hang a picture like an interior designer to how to make a room look bigger.