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What are Floor Lamps?

Floor lamps are self-supporting lighting fixtures often used as reading lamps or auxiliary light sources in a living room or office space. Most floor lamps use a solid base for support, with a centralized pole holding the individual light fixtures in place. A lamp shade or other shield is used to diffuse or direct the light produced by the bulbs. Many floor lamps have multiple settings for different levels of illumination.

Floor lamps are often used in conjunction with overhead lights to provide visual interest and additional illumination for reading. Home decorators select floor lamps which match the overall design theme of the room, from antique brass to modern stainless steel. Overhead lighting may provide general illumination, but floor lamps offer concentrated light in dark corners, over sofas and beside beds. Because floor lamps are freestanding, they can be placed anywhere near a electrical outlet and a favorite reading area.

Some floor lamps are intended strictly for lighting, while others may have shelves built into them.
Some floor lamps are intended strictly for lighting, while others may have shelves built into them.

Some floor lamps are intended strictly for lighting, while others may have shelves or magazine racks built into them. Because they are self-supporting, floor lamps are generally placed out of high traffic areas. It can be far too easy for small children to trip over floor lamps placed in an open area. Floor lamps are commonly positioned in corners or to the side of living room furniture. Floor lamps may also be left on for security purposes or plugged into cut-off switches for quick illumination of a dark room.

Many homeowners use smaller lamps for reading and overhead lighting fixtures for general illumination, but professional decorators suggest adding a third layer of lighting. Floor lamps provide a middle level of lighting which eliminate dark corners and provide accessible lighting for individuals. It is easier for house guests to turn off floor lamps than to walk across the room for overhead lighting controls. Floor lamps also provide visual interest of their own, while smaller desk lamps may need additional tables for support.

Overall, floor lamps fill a lighting niche between the flooding illumination of overhead lights and the specific areas covered by track lighting or desk lamps.

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Discussion Comments


I really like that types of floor lamps that look contemporary, or at least more classic. A few years ago my college dorm's council had to buy new lamps, and they settled on floor lamps because they were great for setting next to couches for reading, and they found relatively cheap floor lamps that would look nice in the space.


@nanny3- that is too bad, that sounds to me like a really pretty lamp. While it might seem depressing to have it compared to lamps in a funeral home, at the same time, that just shows it was something of a classic and old-fashioned lamp. I hope that someday, if you ever have consider floor lamps for lighting again, you can get past that memory.


I hate to say it, but I’ve never been a big fan of floor lamps myself. It might go back to the fact that my father always referred to them as ‘funeral home’ lamps.

I bought one and only one of these kinds of lamps when I was in college. I thought it was so awesome, but I probably didn’t choose one that most college kids would have went with. It had wrought iron scroll work and a milky, semi-clear shade.

When my daddy came up to visit to see one of my shows (I was a theatre major), he came into my dorm room and became really upset. He demanded to know why I had a funeral home lamp in my room!

I had no clue what he was talking about, but then he walks over to my lamp and told me that that was the kind of lamp that were in our local funeral home to light the caskets.

I’ve never been able to look at them quite the same, and that one went to the goodwill shortly thereafter.


When I first got married we bought this old cottage. It was a major fixer upper, but we got a great deal on it and, in the words of my father in law, turned it into a mini-mansion.

The only thing was that the lighting options were limited for such a small space. We wanted light that was adjustable, and the easiest way (and least expensive) that we could do that was to buy floor lamps with different light intensities.

We loved these lamps – they were just awesome for us. Then we traded in our mini-mansion for a bigger home and decided to have a baby. And those floor lamps were still great.

But then, that baby started crawling. And she went straight for the floor lamp, which she quickly and efficiently pulled over on herself.

Needless to say, the floor lamps are now gone


When shopping for a floor lamp for my office, I was surprised at all of the choices that are available. You can by any kind of design or look to fit your decor. Many of the contemporary floor lamps are very unique and can make a statement in any room.

I choose something very sleek and simple for my office area, but saw a few other styles that I would love to buy for my home. They would make great accents for my living room and would be interesting conversation starters.


One of the things I like about floor lamps is they are convenient and portable. As long as you are close enough to an electric outlet you can move them anywhere you need the lighting.

I have two vintage floor lamps in my living room that add a lot of character and charm to the room. Not only are they beautiful, but functional as well.

If I want to sit in my recliner and read, they add the extra light that is needed. Since the overhead light doesn't provide enough light for reading, this is a great solution.


Decorating can be very exciting and creative. One important aspect of decorating is lighting. Lighting is important in every room. Lighting helps the eye determine what colors, shades, etc. can be seen and how all objects in a room will come together. At Jovin, they custom make floor lamps and lampshades as well as a variety of other lighting products.

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    • Some floor lamps are intended strictly for lighting, while others may have shelves built into them.
      By: venusangel
      Some floor lamps are intended strictly for lighting, while others may have shelves built into them.