A characterful table lamp can really set the tone for a space, both in style and ambience.
On dark nights, a good lamp can boost illumination in poorly lit spaces like hallways and dull corners of the living space. They can also create a cosy atmosphere in your home in times between daylight and harsher artificial light.
Fabric lampshades have done the job traditionally, and many modern styles incorporate shades and reflectors for directing and diffusing light, too.
Most lamps won’t include a bulb, so check carefully what is required and whether it is easily available. LED bulbs offer energy savings and a longer life than traditional bulbs, but can often lack the warmth and glow that’s desirable for use at home.
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Lightyears Night Owl Table Lamp: From £132, cloudberryliving.co.uk
The forms of the Night Owl table lamp are simple – a conical base under an oval shade – but the materials and finish make the end result outstanding. There are four finishes in a mix of ash and glossy painted aluminium.
The black and ash version looks striking both on and off. In true Nordic style, the shade washes light downwards to give spaces a warm glow rather than a bright light.
Warley Black Wooden Table Lamp: £130, habitat.co.uk
Shops like Habitat and IKEA are known for offering modern style on a budget. But spend a bit on their top range items, and you can find something with real quality.
The curved base of the Warley lamp is smoothly finished in black-stained ash and lets you see the wood grain within. With a drum shade and a height of 50cm, it has lots of presence.
The cable is fabric-wrapped, which is always a quality touch. The shade comes in pink, grey or striking yellow silk.
Chatsworth Table Lamp: £59, fishpools.co.uk
This is an antique style lamp that won’t break the budget. The light has plenty of period charm, with fluted details to the base, collar and tall profile.
It has a brass finish, and comes with a pleated shade in faux silk with a hint of gold. It’s sized to fit smaller tables or for use at the bedside.
The inline switch is a practical touch that saves you having to reach under the shade.
JWDA Concrete Lamp By Menu: £159, reallywellmade.co.uk
This smart lamp by Danish brand Menu, is a modern take on a traditional oil lamp. The opaque glass shade glows beautifully when lit, and makes a delicate contrast to the raw concrete base.
The oversized brass dial works as a switch and a dimmer when turned – you’ll need to buy a dimmable G9 bulb for this lamp (not included).
It also comes with a European 2-pin plug, which Really Well Made can supply a free UK adapter for.
Arles Table Lamp: £110, conranshop.co.uk
This is a refined designer table lamp that’s inspired by a scene from the town of Arles. It’s said that the painted steel shade is designed to look like a French lady’s hat.
The angled stem and looped base detail give this lamp an unusual form that is sure to draw looks. It comes in white, black or green with brass accents, and there’s a floor version, too.
The adjustable shade also makes this piece a good reading light.
Home Collection Macy Table Light: £35, debenhams.com
This cool minimal light looks like a find from a boutique store, rather than your local Debenhams.
It’s 46cm tall, giving a good spread of light from the downwards pointing bulb, but takes up only 14cm of your table top, perfect for a small desk or side table.
The teal finish is a good match for the industrial style of this lamp, but it comes in yellow and black, too.
Three Face Crystal Lamp: £119.99, zarahome.com
Three crystal globes make up the decorative element of this glam lamp from Spanish fashion store Zara.
The spherical shapes catch the light to create interesting reflections and patterns (when the light is switched on or off).
Use it to bring a subtle bit of interest to an otherwise dull space. The white linen shade is fresh and unfussy.
Lecia Ceramic Teal Table Lamp: £42, oliverbonas.com
The trend for naked bulbs is still going strong. But in place of a pared back concrete or timber base, Oliver Bonas’s lamp is a little jollier.
It’s made in ceramic with a tactile fluted base and speckled finish. The pink fabric wrapped cable is a quirky little touch that keeps this simple lamp interesting.
Choose an opaque bulb to complete it, for more of a subtle glow.
Hendaye Black Metal Lamp: £53.99, maisonsdumonde.com
This unusual lamp mixes a base and stem in contemporary black, with a large shade in woven plant fibre.
It casts a constellation of diamond-shaped patterns on the wall when lit, thanks to the wide weave of the shade.
It’s a little lacking in robustness, when compared to products by lighting specialists. But price considered, it’s a pretty good buy.
Verdict: Best Table Lamps
The Night Owl lamp is simple but well finished. As a good accent lamp, it adds to a room without overpowering it. Lightyears is a Danish lighting specialist, so you know that quality and care has gone into both the look and performance of the light over time.
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