Why floor lamps are your interior design secret weapon

Swing articulated floor lamp

They’re versatile, practical and can do something that nothing else can. We think it’s time to see floor lamps for what they really are: an invaluable weapon in the interior designer’s armoury. Here are six reasons why…

When planning a room, interior designers start with the big elements of the overall scheme: the general theme, the colours of the walls, ceiling and floors, the materials, the major items of furniture, and the lighting design. And rightly so. Fixtures, ornaments, artworks and decorations tend to come later, and are chosen to fit in with the larger picture. But floor lamps have a unique role. First, they’re usually the largest thing that counts as a ‘fixture’, so they can make a real impact on the ‘scenery’ of a room. But they also come into their own in those inbetweeny periods when you fancy a bit of a change, but aren’t ready to spend the time (and money) on overhauling your entire scheme. Here are six reasons why floor lamps are the stylist’s secret weapon…

Skellig floor lamp

1) They can be used for all three kinds of lighting

As you’ll know if you’ve read our complete guide to layering light, there are three main kinds of lighting to think about when designing a room: ambient lighting (the general light), task lighting (for doing things) and accent lighting (for drawing attention to room features, like interesting corners or artworks). Floor lamps can do all three tasks – separately or simultaneously. Having a couple of tall standing lamps enables you to create different moods of ambient light. You can position one craftily in a reading nook for reading task light (see our guide to reading lights here.) And if you have an interesting architectural feature to highlight, a floor lamp with an opaque shade can provide suitable accent light. The more floor lamps you have, the more options you have.


2) They’re eminently portable

It’s not practical to re-Farrow & Ball your walls every few months, and unless you have a very large home there are only so many ways you can re-arrange your sofas, cabinets or dining table. Floor lamps, on the other hand, are substantial items of furniture – large enough to make a transformative impact on the look and feel of a space – that are also easy to move around, from place to place or room to room. And moving their pools of light into new corners can give a totally new mood. They can even look good in hallways.

Samarkand in ebony


3) They add height and elegance

One of the classic interior design tricks for making a small space look bigger is to utilise the verticals and make the most of height (long stripy curtains, high narrow bookshelves etc). Tall, slim floor lamps are perfect for adding height and elegance to a room, while using a minimum of floor space.

Bamboozle in antique brass

4) They can make a statement…

Lisa in white wood

Floor lamps can be a principal feature of a room, either complementing or deliberately clashing with your theme – for example, you can make a statement with a midcentury-style angled standing light, an unusual resin floor lamp or a traditional base with a big, striking shade.

Mo floor lamp

5) …or just surreptitiously contribute useful light

If you don’t want to make a statement but just need subtle elegance and the ambient go for a simple brass floor lamp. Tip: use a square shade and you can position a floor lamp flush up against a wall or in an alcove.

Wrappling in antique brass

6) You can dress and re-dress them with designer lampshades

Keeping your floor lamp and changing your lampshades is a simple, cost-effective way to introduce novelty into your interior design. Try different materials for different theme (from block colour rolled silk shades to vibrant marbled paper), use shades for accent colour or make a statement with an ikat pattern. Try it – you’ll be surprised at what a difference a change of shade can make to a room. (Hint: Our mix-and-match system allows you to play around, so you can easily find a shade to go with your lamp and your room. Take any floor lamp base and try it in different shades.)

Cranling articulated standing lamp


Browse our complete range of floor lamps here.