Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Decorating With Lamps

Raise your hand if you normally use the overhead lighting in your home and don't bother with lighting lamps.  Anyone?  I'm definitely not raising my hand.  :)  I love lamplight.  It's one of the first things I want to set up when moving into a home, because once I have lamps to turn on in the evening or on a cloudy day, I really feel like I'm home.

I know those of you who read this blog have plenty of decorating and design sense, and more importantly, you know what you like in your own home.  Having said that, I just wanted to share some of my favorite ways of using lamps in our home.  Some years ago, I was shopping in a local lamp store, and the sales clerk told me that decorators recommend you have a minimum of three lamps in all your rooms (with the possible exception of bathrooms).  Of course back then, I thought the sales lady was just trying to sell me a bunch of lamps.  ;)  But I now know that three lamps per room is definitely not too many, especially in a house like ours where some of the rooms don't get a whole lot of natural sunlight.  The windows here are plentiful, but they're not large.

Our den, which you've seen in several of my blog posts, is one of the rooms that needs a lot of extra light.  A big reason for that is because it doesn't get good sunlight until mid to late afternoon.  Also, at night, the paneling and stained woodwork absorb much of the light from our lamps.  Because of these factors, and the size of the room, our den has four lamps.

The lamps in our den have changed several times because we've added new (and inherited) pieces of furniture over the years, and by necessity, we had to switch out some of the lamps.  The only lamp in this room which has been here since early days is our wall lamp.

This is just a basic wall lamp from Lowe's Home Improvement -- not too cheap, not too expensive.  However, it's been a good one.  I like the design, and the shade with box-pleats is original to the lamp.  I think the shade and the ring finial help to dress it up a bit.

This wrought-iron lamp has been in our den for many years, too.  It used to sit on a round table next to our sofa, but we replaced the table with a much smaller end table when we inherited the leather wing-back chair.  Later we purchased this chest and got rid of the floor lamp that sat in this corner, as it was over 20 years old and the base was damaged.

Before we got our flat-screen television, we had a different entertainment console with a larger lamp on it.  That lamp is now in the basement because we needed a smaller lamp for this space.  This is starting to sound like musical chairs, or musical lamps, isn't it?

This lamp is one of my favorites, maybe because it's not what I'd normally choose for a lamp.  The lamp is an actual glazed piece of pottery mounted on a base and the shade is a knubby linen.  The colors and style work really well in this room.

I pulled this picture from a previous post, and that's why the thimble is in the picture.  :)

We're back to the floor lamp that I started the post with and a closeup of the finial.  I think pretty finials add such a nice touch to lamps.

Here's the rest of the lamp, which I've never shown.  It's also an inherited piece from my husband's family.  It's so much nicer than our previous floor lamp.

Over the years, we've gradually managed to make our den brighter and ,therefore, so much cozier.  Four lamps is perfect for this room because it's the largest room in our house, and we seem to spend most of our time in here.

This is our dining room, and this ginger jar lamp is the first lamp I bought for myself when I moved out on my own.  I bought it at a place in town called Factory Direct Furnishings.  Ginger jar lamps were pretty popular at that time, so I'm sure that must be why I chose this lamp. Now I'm glad I bought it because it's kind of a classic shape, don't you think?  I do think it could use a new shade though.  ;) 

Our other dining room lamp is a basic, brass candlestick lamp.

 We really could use a third lamp in this room, but I'm not sure where I would put one.

You can't necessarily tell in this picture because I have the overhead light on, but the right side of this room is pretty dark.  I've thought about a floor lamp for the corner, but I feel like it would crowd the clock and the wall sconce.  Suggestions anyone?

I like to vary the style, size, and materials of the lamps (and shades) in each room.  I don't want all brass lamps or all wooden lamps, etc.  Our den has a shiny brass lamp, an antique-brass lamp, a pottery lamp, and a black, wrought-iron lamp.  Plenty of variety.  Lamps, like many other components of a home, are added over the years; they're part of that "layering" aspect that decorators talk about when putting together rooms in a house.

Our kitchen has two small lamps, which add a coziness factor to the room.  It has plenty of task lighting because of the light over the stove and sink, and the under-cabinet lighting.

This lamp belonged to my mother-in-law, and she was kind enough to give it to me after we purchased this baker's rack.  The style is perfect here.  The base is salt-glazed pottery from Seagrove, North Carolina, and I just bought a new shade for it.  Remember when punched-paper lampshades were so popular?  I've always loved them (still do) but I only have two in our whole house now.

This picture was taken before the kitchen remodel.

Our living room has four lamps.  You can see the floor lamp in the far corner.  It was also a Lowe's purchase right after we moved into our house, and it's held up beautifully.  This lamp was very reasonably priced, but it's a heavy lamp and well made.

I love the laurel wreath finial.

This pineapple lamp came from the Bombay Company (I still miss that store) and was a gift from my husband's grandmother.  One of my favorite lamps!

Our one and only crystal lamp; again, a little variety.

The lamp on our piano is an Ott® lamp.  Are you familiar with those?  They're good reading lamps, and I was looking for something that would look okay with my silver picture frames.  Another Lowe's buy.  :)

Maybe it's just me, but I don't think Lowe's carries as good a selection of lamps as they used to.  The ones I've looked at don't seem to be as well made, in my humble opinion.

How about those areas where you could really use a lamp, but don't have an electrical outlet?  That's the situation in our foyer.  Several years ago, we considered having an outlet put it in when we had an electrician doing some work in our basement.  We put off the decision, and then we kind of forgot about it.  I think lamplight looks so cheerful and welcoming in a foyer or entryway, especially from the street.  But there are other solutions if you don't have an electrical outlet.

This battery-operated candle was a Christmas gift from my in-laws last year, and it puts out really nice light.  The "wick" even moves like a real candle.

I've really enjoyed this flameless candle in our foyer, and it's a less expensive solution than having an outlet put in and buying another lamp.

Taking pictures around our home and posting them gives me a more realistic idea of how our rooms really look.  One thing that jumped out at me after looking at these pictures is that all my lampshades are the same color -- white or ivory.  Bor-ring.  How have I not noticed this before?  I have a good variety of bases, but not so much with the lampshades.  Hmmm.  At one time I had some lampshades with patterns and color, but either they faded and had to be thrown away, or the pattern no longer matched in the room where I was using them.  I found some pretty pictures online of patterned lamp shades that I'll share in my next post.  This has got me thinking that I want to put a patterned lampshade on our ginger jar lamp in the dining room.    

The spare/guest bedroom I've been working on has some neat lamps in it.  I hope I'll have the room ready to share before long.  I took some of my Christmas money and splurged on a nice lamp for that room.  Initially, I cringed at the price, but now I'm glad I got it.  I also have an antique lamp that belonged to my grandparents and a hobnail lamp that belonged to my MIL.  I'll share those one of these days, too.  I think that lamps are a kind of investment in our homes; if you choose well, you can keep them for many years.  They can even be re-wired if they quit working properly; my husband has re-wired several of our favorite lamps over the years.

Do you have a favorite lamp, large or small, in your home?  Please share -- I'd love to hear about it!  :)


Linking To:
Share Your Style, 21 Rosemary Lane
What's It Wednesday, Ivy and Elephants 


  1. Very interesting post about lamps. We don't have very many in our home. We seem to need overhead lighting to give us enough light. In your dining room, have you considered a picture light above the tapestry?

  2. Denise, you have almost as many lamps as I do, maybe more. Like you, I love lamps and hate to have the overhead lamps on, but I don't like bright light bulbs so in order to read the paper or whatever we almost have to turn on an overhead light, but whoa, hard times to the person that forgets to turn it off asap! Our library is an inside room and the only natural light is from a french door that opens on my storage room so the shade is pretty much always pulled.Don't want to look at that! So I keep a lamp on every day even when it is sunny outside. As soon as a cloud goes over the sun lamps come on. I just love them and think they feel so warm..I love what you are doing so keep the light on!..Happy Tuesday..Judy

  3. Love all the lamplight in your home. We could use more light in our living room because we host small group each week in there and the lighting isn't really sufficient. I really enjoy those battery candles. I can't say that I have a favorite lamp. I have a few lamps I wouldn't mind replacing! :)

  4. HI Denise! Oh, you have some very pretty lamps and like you, I love the extra light they bring. I need to buy new lamps but they're a bit pricey. I like cheap! :)
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

  5. I too am a lamp person and can't abide a ceiling light. Even in the dining room I need lamps and don't like the chandelier on too brightly. Do you have room for a small cabinet or narrow table on the dark side of your dining room? Upon which to place a lamp … The other thing would be wall sconce lamps on either side of the wall hanging but that would be costly.

  6. This was such a fun post :) I have an older home and the lighting is not the best or brightest..I rely on lamps and a few ott-lights to deal with that in the months without much natural light! :)

  7. I'm a lamp fanatic too...I love lamp light over overhead lighting the house feels so much more cozier! You have such pretty lamps!



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

My Blog Designer