Tips on Finding the Right Lamp
Choosing the right lamp can be intimidating. Lamps of every conceivable style and shape are everywhere, bearing prices from $10 to $2,500, in low-price stores like Wal-Mart and Target all the way up to high-end furniture stores and lighting showrooms. Where do you start?
First, think about what you need the lamp to do. Does it have to light up an entire room? Will it illuminate a favorite family heirloom or a vase of flowers? Will it sit on a desk, where you'll work at a computer or do paperwork?
Table lamps can satisfy any of these purposes, depending on how tall they are and how large a light bulb they accommodate. Generally smaller than most table lamps, desk lamps often are designed to handle high-wattage light bulbs, and they may be flexible, so the angle of the light they cast can be changed. Floor lamps also illuminate large areas, or can brighten a dark corner behind a favorite reading chair. Lamps that take three-way light bulbs offer the option of a lot of light or a little, and the height of some floor lamps can be adjusted.
Next, determine what style you like. Do you want an understated brass lamp, or would you prefer a flashy lamp made of carved Chinese lacquer, or an angular, contemporary chrome lamp?
After you've made these decisions, make sure the lamps you're considering are certified by Underwriters Laboratories (UL), an independent third-party product safety testing and certification organization. UL certification means that merchandise meets electrical safety standards.
Metal and ceramic lamps should have smooth surfaces, with no sharp edges or rough spots. Fabric lamp shades should be lined, and the lining should be taut and should stand somewhat away from the fabric of the shade itself.