Usually cast in corners or shoved between sectionals and chairs, a floor lamp is one of those easily overlooked pieces that shouldn’t be — it’s practically a stand-alone piece of furniture, and choosing the right one can change a room’s décor scheme. “You should have fun with lighting, as they are illuminating sculptures in your space,” says interior designer Lauren Ashley Allan, adding that lamps can act as “the jewelry to a room.” But do you go decorative or trendy? Or should you focus on task and function? To find out, we reached out to 13 interior designers and other design-adjacent folks for their recommendations. Below, 16 floor lamps for every style and budget, from surprisingly expensive-looking ones under $150 to splurge-worthy lamps that make an impression.
Among the hundreds of thousands of floor lamps out there, most of them fit within just a handful of categories. You’ve got your basic upright floor lamp that’s supported by a single post; tripods that stand on three legs; arcing lamps, whose shades suspend over a space; task lamps that let you direct the light right above a reading chair; and lamps that have columnlike supports. Everything else is a variation therein, with different shade types dictating the overall look of a lamp. Fabric drum shades are among the most classic kind, but you also have mushrooms, globes, cones, and pleated options, among others. In my own never-ending search for floor lamps, I’ve found it helpful to search by basic style, so I’ve categorized the ones below that way as well, and then by shade.
The basic components of a floor lamp — base, support, and neck — are typically made of metal or wood, but many lamps also mix materials. Marble is a popular base material, and sculptural, ceramic bottoms have recently become the darling of the high-end-design world. You’ll also find lamps whose posts act as the light source itself, which we see in paper column styles as well as in more contemporary LED options.
Unlike desk lamps, floor lamps are typically fixed, but a few do come with adjustable components. Task lamps, for example, usually allow you to adjust the shade and even a swing arm, if they come with one. Some upright styles come with telescoping necks that are height adjustable. A couple of floor lamps are even dimmable.
Style: Drum shade | Material: Linen, metal | Adjustability: Telescoping neck
TV and film set decorator Kimberly Fischer told us about this lamp from West Elm when we wrote this highly specific story on floor lamps a couple of years ago, and she called it a staple. “I’ve used it multiple times,” she said. “It’s classic and shows up well on-camera.” She points out its natural linen shade, and the fact that it is height adjustable makes it that much more versatile. It’s got a slender metal stem that incorporates both antique brass and satin black finishes (for a little extra detailing) and a base that will fit small spaces comfortably, which is why, along with its just-below-$300 price tag, I’ve dubbed it the best overall floor lamp on this list.
Style: Bent neck | Material: Metal | Adjustability: Dimmable
For something completely different in look but equally adaptable and multipurpose (and much more affordable), here’s an LED lamp that will provide light without stealing the show thanks to its slim profile. It’s recommended by Stacy Harwood, a senior designer at the online interior-design service Havenly, for its “sleek design,” and she calls it “super-versatile,” meaning it pairs well with any décor style — which is why I think it will work well for most people. Designed by Strategist-favorite Hay for Ikea, it also has a swiveling base and head and full dimmer capability for just $70, a price that truly can’t be beat.
Style: Tripod, drum shade | Material: Metal, cotton
Tripod floor lamps are as classic as they come, but this one that Havenly lead designer Toussaint Derby recommends stands apart thanks to its black-and-gold combination that she says “makes it feel more glam” than your run-of-the-mill lighting out there. Gold accents offset the black fabric drum shade and sleek legs for a moody, high-impact look.
Style: Tripod | Material: Metal | Adjustability: Adjustable head
If you like a lamp that stands on three legs but prefer something with a slimmer profile, consider this lamp by Greta Grossman’s original 1947 Grasshopper design that Allan recommends as an “alternative reproduction if you are working toward building your own iconic collection.” It has a tubular steel tripod stand that is “tilted backward, creating a modern silhouette,” and a conical shade with an elbow joint that can be adjusted up or down to direct the light where you please. In terms of placement, Allan recommends “placing it behind your favorite reading chair in a family room, bedroom, or kids’ room.”
Style: Arc, drum shade | Materials: Metal, cotton | Adjustability: Dimmable
A floor lamp with a dramatically arcing neck can double as overhead lighting if you position it correctly — above seating or even a dining table, for example. Another favorite of Harwood’s, this more traditional option has a simple metal base and cotton shade, making it especially versatile. “With an extending arch that’s over six feet high,” Harwood says it is a practical option for both small and large rooms. She adds that it comes with full dimmer capacity and that you can get it in two finishes (brass and nickel).
Style: Arc, globe shade | Material: Metal, marble
This arcing lamp has more of a ’60s vibe thanks to its globe shade. It’s recommended by home decorator Carrie Carrollo, who, tired of what she calls the millennial-approved “all gold- (or brass-) toned everything,” suggests trying chrome. “This lamp feels like a nice way to potentially experiment with the tone,” she says. It also marries two of the shapes she mentions above, with a shade that is both orblike and mushroom reminiscent.
Style: Task | Material: Metal | Adjustability: Adjustable height, swing arm
For something a little more traditional, try a task lamp, like this one that design historian Alessandra Wood recommends. “I love a good pharmacy lamp,” she says, adding that because of its classic look, this will always be in style. “This has the perfect blend of vintage and industrial charm, and the aged brass introduces an upscale feeling of warmth to any rustic space.” It’s available in other finishes, including nickel and bronze, and has an adjustable height and swing arm.
Style: Column | Material: Plant polymer, aluminum | Adjustability: Dimmable
Photographer and designer Tommy Lei turns to California-based Gantri, which makes 3-D-printed lighting using plant materials, for his floor lamps. “It works directly with reputable designers to produce cutting-edge products with a high-design flair,” says Lei. The Pavone, designed by Viviana Degrandi, is one of his favorites that he uses in both his home and with clients. The LED light source is ensconced between two tail-feather-shaped shells that diffuse light radially and sit atop two aluminum rods that are anchored by a slim cylindrical base, giving it a slender profile. Lei prefers to use it as a corner lamp to “elevate any sitting or living room,” adding that it “pairs easily with a wide range of décor styles because of how timeless the silhouette is.”
Style: Upright, drum shade | Material: Wood, linen
Here’s an upright, shaded style that would fit in just about anywhere. Harwood calls it “simple,” with a “versatile design that pairs well with coastal, Cali-cool, and transitional styles.” I would agree. The pale rubberwood base and textured linen shade feel so relaxing and make it easy to imagine this lamp in the living room of a (theoretical) summer cottage.
Style: Upright, drum shade | Material: Resin, fabric
“An ’80s nod with a muted, ancient feel” is how Shannon Retseck, the owner of Cuttalossa, a home-goods and textile company, and Cuttalossa & Co., a retail space in Philadelphia, describes this unusual lamp. The twisting resin neck and woven drum shade are muted enough in color that the lighting won’t overwhelm a room, she says, adding that this would be “such a great way to add visual interest to a space lacking charm.”
Style: Upright, mushroom shade | Material: Metal, marble
And a more minimalist take on a floor lamp is this mushroom-shaded one that Derby likes. “This lamp has sleek, modern lines with a classic marble base that makes it feel more expensive than it is,” she says.
Style: Column, vertical light | Material: Metal | Adjustability: Dimmable
“This floor lamp is one of my favorites, mainly because of the marble base but also because it’s unique and it doesn’t take up a ton of space,” says interior designer Tiffany Thompson of Duett Interiors. It comes from Canadian-based brand EQ3 and doesn’t immediately look like lighting because of its matte-anodized-aluminum shade that emits a vertical shaft of light. “If you live in a smaller apartment, or you’re looking for a light fixture to go in a corner space, this is a great option while still being a conversation piece,” says Thompson.
Style: Column | Material: Metal
If the above light works best in a corner, this shiny stainless-steel lamp that Victoria Adesanmi, founder and principal of interior-design studio Aesthetics Studios, recommends is meant to stand out. “I’m obsessed with this,” says Adesanmi. “It’s modern, simple, and perfect for any place in your home.”
Style: Column | Material: Corrugated parchment
Made of corrugated parchment (think cardboard chic), this paper column lamp channels the spirit (and look) of Isamu Noguchi’s Akari light sculptures (more on those below), according to Jenny Kaplan, the owner of design firm An Aesthetic Pursuit and a co-owner of Pieces. She told us this makes a worthy dupe if one of the Japanese designer’s actual paper lamps are out of your budget, adding that “a pair of these clustered together would create an interesting sculptural moment.”
Style: Column | Material: Washi paper
If you want the real deal, like this Akari lamp made of washi-paper triangular panels, you’ll want to act quickly, as inventory is in short supply. “We think it’s hard to top a Noguchi lamp,” say Meghan Lavery and Daniel King, owners of vintage-furniture and design store Home Union in Brooklyn. “They fit with anything and give the nicest glow.”
Style: Bent neck | Material: Metal | Adjustability: Dimmable
Another minimalist LED lamp, the Leaf from Scandinavian design studio Muuto comes recommended by Clémence Polès, the creative director and founder of online magazine Passerby. “I recently discovered Muuto and have been fawning over their designs,” she says. “The Leaf floor lamp is beautiful. It’s really elegant, thin, and doesn’t take up much space.” Slightly more sculptural than the Ikea lamp above, this “feels like it could be part of an Alexander Calder piece,” according to Polès. The shade, which is shaped like a leaf, can be angled in the direction you desire.
Style: Orb, low | Material: Plastic | Adjustability: Dimmable, 16 LED color options
For a different kind of ambient light, two of our experts, Thompson and Retseck, suggest trying round floor lamps, like this one recommended by Thompson. “This is a nontraditional version of a floor lamp,” she says. “I love it directly on the floor or propped up on a stack of books.” It casts a soft glow and comes with 16 LED color options. Retseck, who recommends a similar lamp, agrees that “well-placed glowing globes bring a serene diffused light.”
• Victoria Adesanmi, founder and principal of Aesthetics Studios
• Lauren Ashley Allan, interior designer
• Carrie Carrollo, home decorator
• Toussaint Derby, Havenly lead designer
• Stacy Harwood, interior designer
• Jenny Kaplan, co-owner of Pieces
• Meghan Lavery and Daniel King, owners of Home Union
• Tommy Lei, photographer and designer
• Clémence Polès, founder of Passerby
• Shannon Retseck, owner of Cuttalossa
• Tiffany Thompson, founder of Duett Interiors
• Alessandra Wood, design historian
Additional reporting by Mimi Faucett.
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