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Living Room Lamps: Five Styles to Instantly Update Your Space

These different lighting sources will be a source of joy in your home.
Roxanne Robinson Feb 05, 2021
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Could a living room lamp elicit the same adoration expressed in the song “You Light Up My Life”? At NestCasa, we certainly think buying a new lamp can have that effect. The sappy ditty performed by Debby Boone, voted the number one song of the entire 70s, lives on today via weddings, AM radio, and of course, Muzak. Many misunderstood Ms. Boone’s object of affection which was in the devout Christian singer’s case, God. Beyond feelings of faith and romance, a well-considered lamp can light up your life. These five living room lamps will surely have you humming a few bars of the Grammy winning hit. Here, our breakdown of five styles, trusted advice from Nest Casa's Sara Colombo, and a slew of the chicest new shoppable lamps will bring light into your living room.

The Five Types of Living Room Lamps

First, to break down the key styles that look good in a living room. It’s important to remember sitting and entertaining rooms don’t need the same utility lighting that other rooms require. For instance, in a kitchen or bathroom, substantial overhead and spotlights are generally required to illuminate detailed daily tasks that take place there. In general, even bedrooms don’t need intense light, assuming there is a well-lit closet or mirror area. Thus, living room lamps are chosen for style as much as they are for substance.

The key types of living room lamps include: ceiling lamps for overall room light; floor lamps for both comprehensive and spotlighting; table lamps for accent lighting; statement lamps that provide light while also serving as objet d’art, and a reading lamp for cozy seating to read a book. Of course, there is a lamp for every aesthetic persuasion: modern, vintage, classic, rustic, bohemian, and traditional.

Ceiling Mounted Living Room Lamps

Definitely the showstopper of the bunch, ceiling lamps, whether mounted or chandelier style, set a room’s tone. For instance, this Parisian ‘hotel de particulier’ designed by Austin-based firm Christina Cole & Co. retains its typical Haussmanian charm while infusing modern elements made for today’s lifestyle. This traditional chandelier is cast in white for a stylish finish. Because not every room can manage this much drama, we love the following other favorites at NestCasa.

Sara Colombo’s Suggestion:

There is so much to play with when choosing a ceiling mounted fixture as this piece really becomes the focal point of a room. Whether it’s a traditional fixture or a minimalist approach, the ceiling fixture is a key element to design. For example, my favorite heirloom in my own home is an exquisite crystal antique chandelier that hung in my family’s home in Milan. Definitely a topic of conversation for our guests.

Editors’ Picks - Living Room Ceiling Lamps:

The Beautiful Blob - Purho’s fairy-tale-like objects are more than impressive to look at, as demonstrated in the Blob chandelier designed by Karim Rashid, whose glass light encasements uniquely look like colorful balloons.

Gift from the Gods - The Apollo chandelier from Saint-Louis infuses centuries-old crystal techniques into an expressly chrome futuristic looking lighting fixture that hangs from the sky of your living room.

Cloud Coverage - A bevy of small hand-frosted glass orbs truly creates an irregular technique reminiscent of the 19th-century, which emit a soft glow throughout the space.

History Repeats - Designer Jonathan Browning’s design approach is looking to the past to create the future, specifically evident in this 1960s-inspired faceted sphere fixture, Boule de Cristal.

Living Room Floor Lamps

A living room floor lamp can command a space. To explain, its role in staging is to provide a room’s grounded focal point. For example, this three-shade floor lamp draws the eye toward its placement and spatial relationship in the room. However, because a floor lamp tends to be placed next to seating in the house, how these two pieces interact is due careful consideration. More specifically, in this case, Mid-Century style chairs facing the fireplace work to  accent the floor lamp.

Sara Colombo’s Suggestion:

While hard lighting is essential, and quite frankly an art form to get it right, there is no substitute for ambient lighting from floor lamps.  For example, not only can you play with mood using soft wired fixtures but they add a design element to a room.

Editors’ Picks - Living Room Floor Lamps:

Bois Verre - In partnership with designer Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance who looked to the forest surrounding the famous Saint-Louis manufacturers, this crystal dome sits atop a streamlined ash wood base.

Day Break - Designed by Damien Langlois-Meurinne in conjunction with Pouenat, this Another Day table lamp definitely and expressly interprets a planetary play with its triplicate of orb-shaped glass shades.

Triple Threat - Classic Mid-Century styling in this three-lamp floor ultimately adjusts to almost any decor and lighting need.

Marble Stature -  This uniquely carved and stacked impressive marble base lamp comes in four color types of marble which can be customized by choice of shade to top it off.

Living Room Table Lamps

The requisite side table in a well-appointed living room was invented to showcase table lamps. To demonstrate, often these accent tables are only for displaying a useful but show-stopping table lamp. In this image, Australian interior designer Nickolas Gurtier shows off his personal space where the “Acropolis” table displays the “Atollo” lamp. Significantly speaking, this iconic lamp has a stronger pedigree than most humans. Designed in 1977 by Vico Magistretti and winning the Compasso d’Oro award in 1979, this geometry-laden bedside or living room lamp has become the gold standard of table lamps.

Sara Colombo’s Suggestion:

A key decision to choosing a table lamp is size and scale for the room and surface being lit.  Expressly, materials like glass, bronze, horn  and stone make the selection of these pieces endless and can really elevate an interior.

Editors’ Picks - Living Room Table Lamps:

Horn of Plenty - Indeed this brass and horn table lamp from Arca Horn adds a spark of curiosity to any room with its unique horn base atop a brass base topped off with chic black shade.

Simply Italian - Uniquely designed and manufactured by family-run Ghidini 1961, this One-on-One lamp boasts pure and gentle lines whose modern appeal elevates any space.

Ivory Coast - This cylindrical lamp by Riviere Italy prides itself on its excellence of construction and silhouette especially demonstrated by a hand-braided leather base.

Bamboo or Bust - Riviere Italy’s unique twist on a bamboo motif displays a unique take on the strong and versatile plant as a white intersecting sphere for this lamp’s base.

Living Room Statement Lamps

By definition, a statement lamp is part art, part lighting piece – meant to be conversational, attractive, and useful at the same time. Of course, this is a tall order for anything, inanimate or otherwise. Frequentlly, they are highly sought after as a  popular way to infuse art and practicality into one. In this 1970s retro-inspired Brazilian living room, the statement floor lamp has a chic caveman vibe whose unique shape blends with the other exciting curves of the space.

Sara Colombo’s Suggestion:

Try to think of it as an art piece which is functional too. Some of the most renowned names in design focus on statement lighting, experimenting with shape, material and sheer size for fixtures that double as art.

Editors' Picks - Living Room Statement Lamps:

Get Your Zzzz’s This Zig Zag 423 lamp from Parisian-based designer Herve Van der Straeten combines his signature contrast use of materials, bold variations of form and ‘defiant volumes’ with perfect proportion.

Solid Gold - John Wigmore’s yellow gold ceramic block sculpture sitting on top of a bronze base is notably topped off with geometric shade and evokes an Abstract Impressionist mood.

Magic Mushrooms -  This creation by Studio Molen founder and Dutch Design Movement member, Frederick Molenschot, is a funky take on a classic chandelier that  implies the movement of a little mushroom through a mystical forest.

Wooden Wonder - A vintage piece made by artist and designer Wendell Castle in 1970 in Rochester NY, is certainly a compelling stack-laminate walnut abstraction topped by a glass globe.

Living Room Reading Lamps

Perhaps the most utility minded, reading living room lamps are meant to illuminate by providing a direct light source to a small area. But utilitarian doesn’t have to mean unattractive. On the contrary, function and form can equally exist in tandem with  the best reading lamps. Additionally reading lamps can manifest in the form of floor lamps or table lamps, depending on the placement and setting. For example, pictured here is a perfect little reading nook full or texture and tonal color. London-based designers Martin Brudnizki and Nicholas Jeanes, responsible for revamping the The Royal Academy of Arts, Soho House and Annabel’s, established AndObjects to sell furniture and objects once made for commercial projects to the general public. To demonstrate, this glass-base lamp perfectly straddles the gap between functionality and beauty, providing light in Brudnizki’s reading nook in his home.

Sara Colombo’s Suggestion:

Functional and universally necessary, these fine fixtures with directional light are not only elegant but essential for those of us who still love paperbacks.

Editors' Picks - Living Room Reading Lamps:

A Wilde View - Holly Hunt Studio’s Oscar reading Lamp truly marries purpose with personality and is perfect for anyone who knows the importance of being an earnest reader.

Simply Read - The Up Floor Lamp by Massimiliano Raggi is simple and to the point, yet packs loads of tony sophistication into its sleek, tailored style.

Student Teacher - Though called the Grasshopper floor lamp, this brass reading lamp is almost human-like in its stance, but it can wisely add function and pop of color while its essential good reading light.

Doctor’s Orders - Kelly Wearstler’s precision pharmacy floor lamp features perforated metal shade which aptly diffuses the light, delivering just the right dose for reading.

Roxanne Robinson
Roxanne Robinson is an award-winning Paris-based American journalist covering luxury and fashion industries with over 25 years of experience. I spent over 18 years at WWD, covering sportswear, accessories and fine jewelry. My career witnessed the shift from print media to the digital age. I gained expert knowledge of the design world, wholesale and retail markets as well as the marketing that supports them. I met endless creatives and business people who create luxury from inception to POS with the consumer. My work has appeared in Forbes.com, BoF, The Hollywood Reporter, CRFashionbook.com, The Jewelry Journal as well in-house publications and websites at Bally, Pomellato, Au Depart and Editorialist.com among others.
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