Light ’em Up-Up

Tips for choosing a table lamp - Two Purple Couches.jpg

Now that we’ve been in our home for over 2 years, we’ve come to realize several things, like we should have done hardwood flooring in our dining room, we should have made our deck a bit bigger, and our family room is either too dark, or too bright.

Our three overhead can lights give off a lot of light. Which is great. But also completely unnecessary for evenings when the two of us are watching TV.

In our 2+ years here, I’ve also realized something somewhat surprising about myself—I’m intimidated by lamps. Weird? Probably. But it’s the truth. I just don’t know where to start with lamps. I can go through 500 rugs and pick out several that feel like they’re my style. I have clear visions of the kind of decorative wall mirrors I want. But when it comes to lamps, I’m lost.

Given our either too-dark-or-too-bright family room, I knew I had to come to terms with my lamp-buying fears. But where to start?

First, with size. I found some good rules-of-thumb here and here. Lamps should be scaled proportionally with your room; something too big would look out-of-place, and too small would get lost. It should also feel proportional to the surface it will sit on.

Next comes style. Which is where the intimidation really sets in for me. But my recent styling revelation helped me narrow down the vast amount of contenders:

With these guidelines in mind, I went a-hunting online, and here are the nominees that Tom and I selected. Cuz the hubs had to be on board, too. For better or for worse, right?

Target selection of bases.jpg

From Target: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4

Pier 1 selection of bases.jpg

From Pier 1 Imports: 5 / 6 / 7

– As far as bases go, I think neutral is best for us. A neutral base would work in any room in our home, and I like being able to “mix ‘n match” our decor where possible. Plus, I can always get a jazzy shade, or jazz up my own shade.

– I like metallics. And in my book, metallics totally count as neutrals. Gold, brushed nickel, mercury glass… yes please! Tom? Maybe not so keen on the metallics as I am… but I’ll get him there yet!

– I tend toward more substantial-looking bases versus thin, spindly versions.

– Drum shades, all the way. I prefer the casual & contemporary style that drum shades offer.

Which one gets your vote? Which one do you think we chose?


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10 thoughts on “Light ’em Up-Up

  1. Bex Beltran

    Wow – until I read your admission, I had no idea it was possible to be intimidated by lamps- but as soon as I read it, I realized, I too have the same intimidation! I have 2 lamps sitting in my guest room right now waiting for a makeover so I can put them somewhere.. but the part that gets me the most nervous is matching the shade to the base! You were so smart just to research the “rules of thumb.”
    Good luck with your lighting!

    1. Two Purple Couches Post author

      I though my fear might be a bit silly, but I am so glad to know I’m not alone!! We only have one set of lamps in our home (on our nightstands) because I’ve just never been sure of what I want! Good luck with your lamp makeovers! Matching bases and shades makes me nervous, too!

  2. Katie W

    Ooooh! I love #5! Since I know you were at both Target and Pier 1 on Saturday, I have no idea what you chose. I’ll just pretend you picked my favorite;)

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