When you’re choosing a lampshade, ivory whites will disperse more light, but metal shades, which are very popular at the moment, won’t allow light through.

Lighting is a topic I usually visit in autumn or winter, and then out of practicality, when days are short and often gloomy, nights seem never ending, and your best friend for creating atmosphere and a feeling of cosiness — apart from a crackling fire, of course — is the lamp.

It does a sterling job of toning down the harsh glare of main ceiling lights, and in summer time when days are long and we’re reluctant to turn on main lights before 10pm, they’re a soft transition from July evening light to necessary indoor illumination until we head to slumberland

Eibhlish Scannell, lighting consultant with Lightplan, says, “When you’re choosing a lampshade, ivory whites will disperse more light, but metal shades, which are very popular at the moment, won’t allow light through.”

But before you get as far as choosing shades, Eibhlish advises to consider your main objective first of all. 

The Grok Hoop floor lamp has an ultra modern and sculptural aesthetic to provide a focal point in a large contemporary styled room (€1,495 at Lightplan).
The Grok Hoop floor lamp has an ultra modern and sculptural aesthetic to provide a focal point in a large contemporary styled room (€1,495 at Lightplan).

“Are you thinking about functionality or using a lamp as a feature?” she asks. 

“If you want directional lighting for reading or needlework, a contemporary piece with a movable head in a floor or table lamp will work.

“You can also use lamps as features in a room, as well as providing light output. A floor lamp can be like an art piece, especially arc lamps which can lean over a sofa, or mix a selection of floor and table lamps together.”

If you’re considering lamp light as an antidote to insufficient natural light, Eibhlish advises to think about where you intend to site a lamp in the room, and in particular, how much natural light is there to begin with, especially if it’s a corner removed from direct sunshine.

The Medusa floor lamp mimics the shape and style of a table lamp but in large scale for visual impact, while the white shade ensures maximum light diffusion (€775 at Lightplan).
The Medusa floor lamp mimics the shape and style of a table lamp but in large scale for visual impact, while the white shade ensures maximum light diffusion (€775 at Lightplan).

Creating ambiance requires soft lighting which Eibhlish achieves using textured fabric or silk shades. 

“Darker tones have less light output,” she says. 

“If you want brighter light, stick with crisp white. For a dramatic feel, stronger colours can be introduced to pick up on the tones of the room such as curtains and finishes which bring the room together.”

If you’re looking to achieve a specific effect, the lamp will be your best friend. 

“Cleverly positioned ground lamps behind plants and sculptures can be very effective and will add another dimension to the room,” she advises.

For a quirky look, she also suggests introducing various small feature lamps to shelving units, but also to think about the practical issue of scale. 

The Floral floor lamp (€79) is also available in a table top model (€35) from Very.
The Floral floor lamp (€79) is also available in a table top model (€35) from Very.

“If you have a large area, a small table lamp or floor lamp would get lost in the space,” she says. “

Large floor lamps which are dramatic and beautiful in design offer surprisingly warm and diffused light.”

Don’t ignore the wow factor either. 

Eibhlish suggests getting out of your comfort zone and adding a touch of glamour by introducing bold and bright colours to change the whole look of the room.

To get you started on your window shopping, this season’s lighting offering includes a selection from M&S which includes a range of artful floor lamps, designed for the practical function of spotlighting a task but which are individually designed for the contemporary home. 

The Samuel three-lighter can focus on multiple areas or tasks (€240), while the Loft tripod resembles a sleek alien, with a solid shade for honing in on one particular area (€115).

A more homely model in keeping with the trend for floral comes from Very, featuring a ceramic base and extra long shade (€79), which give it the aesthetic of a table lamp but outsized. 

Cable lights can be suspended from the ceiling or attached to a wall above a bedroom nightstand to work as a reading lamp (Ä28.30 each). The Arch floor lamp makes a statement in a large space (Ä350). Available at Harvey Norman.
Cable lights can be suspended from the ceiling or attached to a wall above a bedroom nightstand to work as a reading lamp (Ä28.30 each). The Arch floor lamp makes a statement in a large space (Ä350). Available at Harvey Norman.

Also available in a table version (€35), try a combination of the two sizes in a room to help pull a look together.

A fashionable alternative to a typical lamp is a bulb on a cable which can be suspended from the ceiling over a particular area such as a side table. 

This gives it the feel of a central pendant light but without the permanency, and also frees up the surface of the table for other things.

For added value, lamp light can transform the décor of a house that hasn’t seen a paint brush in a while, creating a uniform glow to absolve all decorating sins and improve even the shabbiest of rooms.


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