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 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.