Lighten up your life with decorative lamps

MOST rooms need a combination of lighting to set the mood and provide illumination, and without the proper lighting even a nicely styled space can appear incomplete.

Generally lamps play both a functional and decorative role so size, shape and style need to be taken into account before you make your choice.

Home renovation and decorating television shows are all about finding statement pieces, a lamp with a beautiful shade for example, and decorating a room around that, but in everyday life it tends to work better if you start with the type of lamp you need and then decide on the style.

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Table lamps

These are usually made with a room in mind but of course feel free to mix and match according to your tastes.

They can be a standout sculpture or just complement the style of the room and are available in a range of colours and materials.

Think about how the particular lamp will be used. Do you need it for reading or completing activities (Chelsea Surveyors table lamp, $229), are you looking for a lamp that creates ambient light (Torna table lamp, $99) or one for the home office (Emac and Lawton Stamford antique brass lamp, $300).

Perhaps you are looking for a bedside lamp (Café Lighting Medina bedside lamp, $99) or a lamp that is mostly a decorative piece (Guiko table lamp, $505).

Because table lamps are free standing, consider choosing one that is made from heavy material like solid wood, cast iron, brass, ceramic or natural stone.

Pay attention too to the lampshade itself, as this not only completes the aesthetic appeal of a lamp but also plays an important role in how much light the lamp emits.

Size is also an important factor.

Choose a lamp that is at eye level when positioned on the table and the bulb should not be visible at this height.

The general rule of thumb is to go for wider bases if your table is wide and a lamp with a long stem or narrow panels if your table is small.

Think about opting for a lamp with a dimmer switch that can help create the right mood or incidental lighting, and it is also a good idea to consider the type of bulbs that can be used with your intended purchase.

Traditional incandescent bulbs will soon be a thing of the past so make sure your lamp can work with a CFL or LED bulb.


Floor lamps

Floor lamps are generally used in entrance ways and room corners, especially in dining and living rooms.

Like table lamps they have a functional quality in illuminating the space but also complement the decor of the room (Modern Crystal Chandelier floor lamp, $146).

They can also be used as ambient lighting (Barbados rectangle floor lamp, $199) to set the mood of the room.

Look for a lamp that is well made and durable (Copenhagen teak floor lamp, $299) and one that will not fall over with the slightest nudge.

Most floor lamps come with a separate base and shade. Make sure the shade not only complements the decor of your room but lets in as much or as little light as you need.

Whether you are into modern minimalist design or love vintage flourishes, you will find a lamp that will suit your room perfectly.

Don't forget to choose light bulbs that will go well with your colour theme.

Soft lighting goes well with reds and yellows while hard lighting for blues and greens.


Kids' lamps

There is a vast array of children's lights on offer in an assortment of colours and designs.

Here you need to think night lighting and what your child requires.

A night lamp (Dream light owl, $59.95) not only helps stop a child from being scared but also provides a way for parents to navigate in the dark.

For nurseries, consider a dim wall sconce or table lamp (Babushka kids' lamp, $79.95) that can be used for changing nappies or rocking little ones to sleep.

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