4 Great Table Lamps Lighting Functions

Photo of a bedside table lamp providing general lighting

The simple addition of a table lamp to your home can really enhance the atmosphere and mood. Being conscious of the different effect table lamps can give, and the various roles you can make it play, can help tremendously with planning your next table lamp lighting project. Here are 4 considerations you should think about:

1. General Lighting

General lighting is the most basic function any lamp can perform. It’s purpose, quite simply, is to provide ambient light! This can be bright, for practical purposes, or more subdued to create a pleasant mood. Either way, it’s purpose is not to draw attention to itself, but rather to the room around it.

2. Decorative Lamps

Some table lamps, such as stained glass Tiffany lamps, are works of great beauty in their own right. Adding such a lamp to your home is making a statement, and you certainly don’t want such an object playing a supporting role. It will make a centerpiece in any room, and you’ll want to show it off to all your guests. In some cases, the lighting it gives off may be impractical for general use, and you may need to rely on other lamp sources to supplement it (modern fiber optic lamps are a wonderful example of this). However, they generally make a great impression in any room.

3. Accent Lighting

Sometimes a table lamp is used for one purpose only: to draw attention to another centerpiece in a room. For example, a painting, or even simply a feature wall, can be enhanced by the addition of a well positioned lamp directly underneath, or on a nearby shelf. The purpose of accent lighting is to enhance something else, so you generally don’t want it to be a noticeable object in itself. Nor do you want it to serve too much as general lighting for the rest of the room, as that diminishes the impact of the item being highlighted. A table lamp with a directional design works especially well for this.

Photo of a Tiffany table lamp and two pigeon sculptures

Sometimes a table lamp can serve more than one role, as in this example of a Tiffany lamp that is a centerpiece in its own right, but is enhanced by providing accent lighting to some small sculptures and a vibrant red backdrop. Image Credit: WikiMedia Commons

4. Task Lighting

Table lamps are great for creating an atmosphere, but many can serve very practical purposes too. When they do, they are often referred to as ‘task lighting’. A desk lamp is a great example of this, as they focus your mind on the task to hand. There are specialized variations too, with some models even including a magnifying glass for precision work, well suited to model makers, stamp collectors, and many other disciplines.

Whatever type of lighting you need in your home, you’ll undoubtedly find a table lamp to fit the bill. With their ease of installation, you risk very little by trying out one of these specialized lighting functions. If it doesn’t work out, simply move the lamp somewhere else until it gives you the effect you want.

By understanding some of the roles a table lamp can play, you can make deliberate, and more informed choices the next time you want table lamps lighting to improve your home!

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