Table Lamp Size Guide

A perfect table lamp can change or complete the look of a whole room. You just need to know a variety of factors, from what height a table lamp should be to what type of bulb you need, and we’ve got you covered!

Variety of different sized table lamps

Size matters when choosing the perfect table lamp, and deciding on the height, size, and even the shape is vital to keep everything proportionate. A shorter table lamp is perfect for a home with a lower ceiling, while a taller one would complete a higher ceiling.

What is a Standard Lamp Size for a Table?

Standard table lamp size

The most important thing for a typical table lamp is it should not be taller than the floor lamps. An average floor lamp reaches a height of 58 to 64 inches or 147 to 163 centimeters, including the tabletop height

This could be a height of 27 to 30 inches or 69 to 76 centimeters for the end table height and 30 to 36 inches or 76 to 91 centimeters for the height of the lamp. You can add dimension to a room by adding different sizes of lamps or design continuity by having them all the same height. 

Lamp Height for End Table

Living room with flower cushion sofa, coffee, side table with lamp and brown paint

The lamp for end tables has the standard size of 30 to 36 inches or 76 to 91 centimeters. However, going higher or lower is alright as long as the light together with the end table has the same height or is lower than any floor lamps in the living room

Floor lamps reach at least 58 to 64 inches or 147 to 163 centimeters, so a table plus an end table should be this height or lower. 

People used to prefer different sizes for floor and table lamps once upon a time, but the height difference was deemed as distracting. As a general rule, there should be different sizes of lights when it comes to the ceiling, walls, and floor.

How Big Should a Lamp be on a Table?

One of the most vital things when it comes to picking lamps for all tabletops is the proportion. A too-small light on a large tabletop and a too large lamp placed on a small tabletop will look awkward. So, looking at what you have first— whether the table or the lamp, will help you decide what light to choose. 

If it is a bigger and heavier, more traditional table, then another bigger, heavier, and more conventional-looking light design would be perfect for it. In contrast, a more modern piece of furniture would require a smaller and more contemporary-looking light design. 

Table lamps should at least be one and a half times taller than the table it would be sitting on. 

How Tall Should a Lamp Be on a Sofa Table?

Sofa lamp dimensions

The main activities requiring table lamps for the living room are crafting, reading, and watching television. Since much time will be spent in this room, especially on the weekend as a family, these lights will add the needed illumination and ambiance to this room. 

So, for the living room, the total table-to-table lamp height should at least be 42.75 inches or 109 centimeters. These dimensions should account for 26.5 inches or 67 centimeters of the lamp’s size. 

Overall, the ideal table lamp height should range from 24 to 34 inches or 61 to 86 centimeters, with the lampshade diameter being 16 inches or 41 centimeters and the shade height being 12 inches or 30 centimeters.

In comparison, the lampshade base is 14.5 inches or 37 centimeters. See our guide to sofa table dimensions here for more on end tables.

Should All Lamps in a Room Be the Same Height?

Yes, the standing rule today to avoid distraction from varying degrees of light from different lamp sizes is to have every lamp from the floor to the table the same size. However, it was not forever this way, and layering lights on different parts of the house used to be the norm. 

But if we are talking about the correct lamp height for each end table, it would, in the end, depend on the size of your end tables. 

When purchasing the perfect lamp, you need to remember that the combined height of both the light and the end table should not exceed 58 to 64 inches or 147 to 163 centimeters of baseline height. Whether you are buying tabletop, buffet, or even floor lamps, this should be the standing rule. 

What Size Lamp for a Living Room End Table?

Living room lamp on black table

We have learned that the size of a lamp will depend on three factors. The first is your ceiling height, the second is your end tabletop height, and the third is whether or not it meets the 58 to 64 inches or 147 to 163 centimeters requirement for the range in table lamp height. This rule will also hold true, especially for living room tabletop lamps

Typically, a table lamp for the living room would be 26 to 34 inches or 66 to 86 centimeters high, but you also do not want to be on eye level with the hardware, so this is the rule you should note.

Your ideal light should at least be as tall or taller enough that the end of the lampshade is what a person sitting on a sofa should be at eye level with.  This size is also ideal so that the glare of the light bulb wouldn’t directly hit your eyes. 

How Big of a Lamp for a Nightstand?

Bedside lamp

Table lamps for nightstands are used for activities such as getting ready for bed, light reading, and providing ambient lighting for conversing with loved ones. A rule of thumb when choosing bedside lamps is to make sure that they are easily accessible, especially if one is in a seated position in the bed. 

Lamps should be 1.5 times bigger than the side tables, they are seated on. For example, if you have a 27 inch or 69 cm high nightstand, the lamp would be approximately 40.5 inches or 103 cm tall. This makes for an aesthetically pleasing setup for the nightstand and the light. 

One thing you also need to remember is the chin level measurement. This rule states that the end of your lampshade be leveled with your chin when people are seated on the bed. 

How Do I Choose a Lamp?

A great and easy way to control and set the mood for any room in your home is by playing with the lighting in your home. Playing with the lighting can turn the air in the room into something totally different from the vibe to functionality. 

The first thing you need to do aside from choosing the right design or finding the right spot in the room is sizing things up. If you have a taller end or bedside table, it would call for a shorter lamp and vice versa. 

Remember that the end of your lampshade should be on your eye level whenever you or anyone else is seated. This rule should be your go-to whether you are shopping for bedside, or tabletop lamps. 

What Size Shade for a Lamp?

Nightstand lamp

There are many types of lampshades and sizes to choose from, whether you are looking for a cylinder, an empire shade, a scallop, or a gallery bell. The way to measure them is by gauging the diameter of the lampshade’s end.

So, as long as the bottom has a cross diameter of 12 inches or 30 centimeters, then the lampshade is a 12 inches or 30 centimeters shade. Shades ranging from 6 to 8 inches or 15 to 20 centimeters would fit perfectly if you have a smaller base.

For medium table lamp bases, a shade with a size range of 8 to 14 inches or 20 to 35 centimeters is the shade for them. In contrast, larger bases would require a lampshade with dimensions of 14 to 20 inches or 25 to 50 centimeters. 

Shade Size for Bedside Lamp

Bedroom with nightstands, black shade lamps and brick wall

Table lamps have two main parts: the base and the shade. Choosing a suitable lamp will also require you to choose a lampshade to balance the whole design.

As a general rule, the lampshade height should at least be two-thirds of the entire lamp’s body. The other one-third half would account for the lamp’s base to the edge of the light bulb. 

Measuring the lamp’s width, on the other hand, the rule is the width should be as wide as the most extensive part of the item. However, this rule wouldn’t work for lamps with thinner bodies, so the rule for that is the width should not be as wide as the lampshade so that the whole item will be proportioned. 

Another standing rule is that the edge of lamps should be level with your eyes when you are sitting on the bed or the sofa. This would guarantee the perfect lighting, especially if you are reading. 

How Many Watts Do You Need for a Lamp?

Deciding on how many watts your table lamp’s bulb should have would require considering some factors, like where it is situated and what you plan to use the lighting for. A higher watt would give a higher lumen; the higher the lumen, the brighter the illumination. 

For side table lamps for living rooms and even bedside, having 250 lumens is sufficient for writing and reading. For more delicate stuff like heavy-duty drafting and crafting with small pieces, a light with 400 to 500 lumens would be recommended. 

The watt and lumen equivalents would differ depending on your bulb type. But generally, for a fluorescent bulb (CFL), 60 lumens is equivalent to a watt. So, for a CFL bulb, the study bulb would require at least 4 to 5 watts. 

Which Bulb is Suitable for a Lamp?

Table lamps are more often than not used for general task making and less so as ambient lighting; this is why they are also generally known as task lighting. What bulb you should get would depend on what you need, whether you are required to opt for higher wattage since you do detailed work, and whether you want a dimmable light bulb. 

If the latter is what you are looking for, opting for a halogen incandescent light bulb is probably what you should go after. Not only does it use lower than 20 to 30 percent of energy, but it gives off a warm glow for your room that adds to the ambiance but does not take a point out as a task light. 

Although an LED bulb could be more expensive than the other types, it is cost-effective in the long term. It is energy-efficient because it reduces your electricity bills and makes your home more earth-friendly.

What Size Cable for a Lamp?

Lamp with cord

You might think that the longer the cable wires for your lamps, the better, but surprisingly, there are regulations and unwritten rules to dictate how long cable wires for a task and ambient lighting should be. 

The general rule is that lamps under 1 kilogram or 2 pounds should be made with a cable with a conductor cross-section length of .75 millimeters. On the other hand, lamps under 1 kilogram or 2 pounds should be fitted with a .5 millimeter cable that is not more than 2 meters or 79 inches long. 

For more related content, visit our guide to lamp shade sizes here.

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