Floor lamps are a staple of interior home decor, offering not only functionality but also making a design statement through the type of lamp selected, the materials used, the positioning of the lamp within the room--even the choice of light bulbs has an impact on the mood and ambiance of a room.
This article will discuss eight general styles of floor lamp you can choose from. Remember that enormous variety exists within each category, and selecting from these types is just the first step in our design decision process.
A torchiere is one of the most popular and recognizable types of floor lamps. The name is derived from the French word for "torch," and it is identifiable by is upright, torch-like shape, with the lighting fixture pointing upward at the end of a column.
Torchiers do not take up or require a lot of floor space, and the unobtrusive shape may have a lot to do with their popularity. The other advantage that a torchiere has is its ability to provide general light. The shape directs light up at the ceiling, where it diffuses into a pleasing general light that covers the room.
A lamp featuring a dimmer switch and equipped with dimmer lamps add to the versatility of this style, letting you soften or turn up the light as needed. And since there are torchieres in all different styles, ranging from traditional to modern, you can find one that fits into your surroundings.
Before you buy a torchiere, make sure it is stable and won't tip over easily. A weighted base is the best; or make sure to position it so that it won't topple.
The example shown here is the Spiral Tulip Stained Glass/ Tiffany Torchiere Lamp from Meyda's Spiral Tulip Collection. Meyda is one of the oldest and best-known manufacturers of Tiffany lamps in the U.S. This lamp stands 70.5" high and takes bulbs up to 100 watts. It weighs about 20 lbs. and the finish is mahogany bronze.
A club lamp, another ubiquitous style, is a stick lamp designed for area lighting.
As with a torchiere, you can buy a club lamp in any style. The components are a base, a stick or pole and a shade that softens light radiating light out of the sides. Several of the following lamp styles are variations of this simple club lamp design. A club lamp usually has one 3-way socket or a twin socket operated by pull chain.
Shown here is a Tristan Club Lamp from Kichler, which has a base of polished nickel and polished nickel spheres The shade is a crisp white. It has a three-way switch and socket for more lighting control, with a maximum lamp size of 150 watts. The lamp stands 60 1/2" high. Its shade is 16" across the top and 17" across the bottom and is 11 1/2" high.
Glass Tray Lamp
The glass tray floor lamp is essentially a club floor lamp with a glass tray inserted at table height level.
The glass tray floor lamp is used for area lighting and can come in handy in small spaces as you can do away with end tables. The glass tray and the base seem to take up less space visually than an end table with a table lamp placed over it.
Shown here is the Robert Abbey Collin Saki Shade Tray Floor Lamp, offering a retro look. The lamp, which is 59" high, has a bronze finish over aluminum and dark antique nickel finish accents and a fabric shade which is 15" across the top, 21" across the bottom, and 13" high. The glass tray is 18" in diameter. The tripod base is 14 1/2" in diameter. The lamp accepts a three-way bulb with a maximum incandescent wattage of 150 watts.
Adjustable Club Floor Lamp
The adjustable club floor lamp is a variation of the standard club lamp but can be height-adjusted to suit however you plan to use it. It is mostly used for area lighting, too.
Shown here is the Port O'Call Floor Lamp from Crate and Barrel, which is available in pure cast brass and also an antiqued bronze finish.
The shade is in translucent white parchment, giving off a diffused light. The lamp can accommodate a compact fluorescent light bulb, or take a 150-watt incandescent bulb. It has a three-way switch.
You can extend its height from 49" to 58".
Six-Way Floor Lamp
The six-way floor lamp (sometimes called a mogul lamp) can provide a tremendous amount of light as it uses a center three-way bulb surrounded by as many as three additional bulbs, which can all be used simultaneously or separately as needed. These lamps are great for lighting up big rooms.
Shown here is the traditional style Bronze View Six Way Floor Lamp from Robert Abbey, which has a bronze finish over cast metal and steel. The shade is in parchment Saki fabric. The lamp has six different levels of light output and a six-way switch. It takes three 60-watt and one 100 watt bulb. The base is 10" in diameter and the shade is 14" across the top, 18" across the bottom and 9 1/2" high. The entire lamp is 56" high.
Tower Floor Lamp
Tower floor lamps provide ambient light and have the added advantage of looking like sculpture during the day.
There is a tremendous variety in the style of tower lamps, from Asian styled lanterns to modern, sculptural forms. It can even serve as a design focal point in a room that lacks any.
Shown here is the Lumalight 3 Light Ambient Floor Lamp from Roland Simmons, with a notable modern contemporary style. It uses three light bulbs of 40 watts each. The lamp is available in different colors and stands 76" high with a diameter of 14".
Down Bridge Floor Lamp
A down bridge floor lamp has the light directed downwards, and as such is a good reading or task lamp. It is excellent for directing a pool of light onto your project or page. It is an excellent choice for positioning next to an armchair. The socket and shade are directed at an angle, and often you will find the shade threaded around the bulb socket.
Shown here is the Frederick Cooper Toyon Brass Bronze Floor Lamp. It is very contemporary in shape and style, with an embossed faux-leather shade for added texture and interest.
The column has complementary fabric and metal with a brass bronze finish.
Since it takes a 150-watts 3-way bulb, you can control the amount of light you need. The total height is 58", and the shade is 13" wide at the bottom.
Pharmacy Floor Lamp
A pharmacy floor lamp has a very small profile and is used more for its function than as a design statement. However, that does not mean that you cannot find very attractive pharmacy floor lamps.
Pharmacy lamps provide very specific directed light. The height is adjustable, and you can swing the head in different direction--towards or away from you, as needed.
This example is the Coach Adjustable Floor Lamp from the House of Troy. It has an oil-rubbed bronze finish and uses a 60-watt Type A bulbs. You can adjust the height from 35.5" to 52.5", depending on how you want to direct the light. Shade measurements: 7" x 4" x 3.25"