Types of Lamps and Bulbs: Buyer's Guide

With a lot of lamps available in the market, you will surely have no problem looking for the right one. But because of the vast choices, it might also be confusing and overwhelming for you. 

Choosing the right lighting for your space can be tricky if you do not know the difference between what you really need vs what you want. Luckily, your needs and wants might be found in the same product these days. All you need is a little patience and less impulsive buying (or clicking if you are doing your shopping online). 

Types of Lamps

Let us break down for you the different most common types of lamps available in the market, their uses, and sizes to help you choose the right one for your space.

Floor Lamps

Floor lamps are tall stand-alone lamps that you can move around your space as long as it is near an outlet. It usually provides more light compared to a table or desk lamp and more stylish. They are usually positioned to a corner of a room, beside a chair, or in your reading nook to provide more light.

This type of lamp doesn't need a professional electrician to be installed. Also, there are various types and styles of floor lamps available in the market. So, you can be sure that you can find the best style for what you need in your space. Here are some tips to help you place your floor lamps.

Floor lamps are not all the same. Each has specific functions and here are the 3 main purposes of using floor lamps:

For Ambient Lighting

Scatchard Stoneware Floor Lamp by House Of Troy GS500-SNBM     Windsor 2 Light Floor Lamp By Kalco Lighting 5419     Ponderosa 1 Light Floor Lamp By Kalco Lighting 873

If you are looking for a floor lamp to be used to provide ambient lighting, you should look for standing lamps that reflect the light off the ceiling or with a shade that diffuses the light. This type of floor lamp should be positioned at the corners or edges of the room.

For Tasks

Forate 3 Light Floor Lamp with Pearl Gold Finish by CWI Lighting 1144F21-3-270     Lewis Floor Lamp by House Of Troy LEW800-BLK     Barton Counterbalance Floor Lamp by House Of Troy BA701-CHB

There are certain tasks in our homes where we need help when it comes to lighting but not all the time, like reading. Choosing a floor lamp with a local-focused light or spotlights can be helpful. For this task, floor lamps are usually placed beside or behind a seat or sofa.

For Decoration

Renous 5 Light Floor Lamp with Black finish by CWI Lighting 9862F20-5-101      Chained 1 Light Floor Lamp with Gold finish by CWI Lighting 5627F11G     Charismatic 8 Light Floor Lamp with Chrome finish by CWI Lighting 5011F15C (Clear)

If you are looking for a more decorative rather than functional floor lamp, you can go for traditional lamps. They are the ones with shades. Don't worry, they are not boring. A lot of traditional floor lamps come with various stylish shades made from different materials like glass, fabric, and more.

Also, you also need to consider the poles of the lamps. You might want to consider choosing floor lamps with intricately detailed poles.

Table Lamps

Scatchard Stoneware Table Lamp by House Of Troy GS150-DCG     Aspen 2 Light Square Table Lamp By Kalco Lighting 896     Sheer 4 Light Table Lamp with Chrome finish by CWI Lighting 5002T20C(W)

Table lamps are typically 24" to 36" in height which is the perfect size to be put on a table, chair, or desk. It a usual go-to because of its practicality and functionality. You can use it as decor and as a reading light. If you are looking for a light that you can put almost anywhere, easy to install and create a nice soothing ambiance in your home, table lamps might be the one for you.

Desk Lamps

Steamer Desk Lamp by House Of Troy DSK440-ABMB     LED Desk Lamp by House Of Troy DSK500-BLKPN     Generation Adjustable LED Desk Lamp by House Of Troy G450-NB

Desk and table lamps are very confusing. Basically, table lamps are more often used for ambient lighting while desk lamps provide more of a task lighting. Table lamps usually have shade while desk lamps have spotlight style. 

This type of lamp is great for studying or work to avoid eyestrain.

Piano Lamps

Grand Piano Clamp Lamp by House Of Troy GPXL-617     Grand Piano Counter Balance LED Floor Lamp by House Of Troy PFLED-617     Grand Piano LED Clamp Lamp by House Of Troy GPLED26-7

Basically, piano lamps are used to help you see the keys on your piano. They are commonly used when the area you are playing is a bit dark or the lighting is dim. One of the best designers and manufacturers of piano lamps is the House of Troy.

Bonus: Picture Lights

Steamer Picture Light by House Of Troy DSTLEDZ42-SNBLK     Mendon Direct Wire Picture Light by House Of Troy DMLEDZ43-91     Direct Wire Halo LED Picture Light by House Of Troy DHA36-WT

If you are a huge art fan and owns a couple of paintings yourself, you will probably need picture lights to put a spotlight on your beloved collections. Picture lights hang over the paintings or attached them to their frames. There are a lot of designs, styles, types, and light bulb options for you to choose from.

Different Types of Bulbs

Just like the different types of lamps, we should also give a sneak peek to various types of bulbs that go with your lamps. It will depend on your space, how much illumination you need, and the use (for task lighting or ambiance lighting). Before you get your lamp, it is also better to know which bulb should go with it.

 Type of Bulb



Incandescent Light Bulbs

No Cheap

Halogen Incandescent Light Bulbs

Yes compared to incandescent light bulbs Cheap

Fluorescent Light Bulbs

Yes Affordable compared to LED light bulbs

Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs

Yes compared to incandescent light bulbs Cheap
LED Light Bulbs Yes A bit expensive

Here are the 5 commonly used light bulbs for lamps:

Incandescent Light Bulbs

Incandescent light bulbs are the most common type of bulb used in any home. The main problem with using incandescent light bulbs is that only 10% to 25% of electricity is used to produce light, the rest is heat. This might be a problem if you use your lamps for studying overnight or reading for long periods. 

Halogen Incandescent Light Bulbs

Compared to incandescent light bulbs, halogen incandescent light bulbs are more energy-efficient but still used 3 times more than compact fluorescent and LED light bulbs. Halogen is often used for lamps where high or focused light is needed. Many halogen lamps have parabolic aluminized reflector (PAR) which is known to improve light focus.

Fluorescent Light Bulbs

Fluorescent light bulbs are invented to satiate people's hunger for more energy-efficient bulbs. If you want an energy-efficient light bulb but more affordable than LED bulbs, fluorescent light bulbs might be what you need.

Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs

Compact fluorescent light bulbs are on the brink of extinction because of LED bulbs. But let us get this straight, CFLs are cheaper and more energy-efficient than your regular incandescent bulbs, using 75% less energy. The downside of CFLs are they needed time to light up, the light it produces might sometimes feel harsh to the skin, and the glass tubes contain mercury (which is toxic and not advisable if you tend to break glasses often or clumsy). 

LED Light Bulbs

LED light bulbs are almost completely made from recyclable materials which are very good for nature. You might think that because of this, LED bulbs are cheaper but you cannot be so wrong. LED light bulbs are more expensive because there are certain additional processes and equipment needed to recycle materials and make them reusable. 

However, LED light bulbs are very energy-efficient which makes up for it being a bit expensive.

How to Choose Your Lamp and Bulbs...

When you are choosing the lamp for your space, make sure to keep in mind which part of your home you are going to put it and what it is for. Knowing this will make your life easier and shopping for a lamp will be faster.

But if you are looking for a more permanent light fixture for your space, you might want to consider getting yourself a chandelier or pendant lights. They are also a great way to add task lighting or ambiance to your home.

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