A great floor lamp can transform the dimmest corner of a room into the most inviting space for reading, relaxing, or working. And it can be the illuminating punctuation mark of a room’s decor.

Over the past few years, we’ve dedicated more than 60 hours to researching hundreds of floor lamps. Then we’ve assembled, inspected, and pelted them with basketballs to simulate the inevitable accidents that happen at home.

We know style is subjective, but we think our picks—for task, console, tripod, tree, arc, and rod lamp—will complement a wide variety of interior spaces.

Our pick

The Ranarp is the most versatile and affordable lamp we found. The cantilevered adjustable-length arm points the light just where you need it, and the matte finish reduces glare.

We recommend the IKEA Ranarp as the best task lamp for reading or any activity where you need direct, overhead light. It’s also one of the most affordable floor lamps we tested. It’s a thoughtfully constructed lamp, with details that are missing from other similarly priced floor lamps—including a powder-coat paint finish in either black or white (the black currently appears to be unavailable, though) and an adjustable-length swinging arm (which articulates upward and downward with a simple turn of the fastener-type dial). The lamp also proved more stable than other cantilevered designs we tried.

Our pick

This surprisingly sturdy console lamp offers nice ambient light. It looks similar to lamps that cost 10 times as much, and the tulip-style base should appeal to fans of mid-century design.

If you’re looking for a floor lamp primarily for ambience or to read under occasionally, and you also prefer the classic lampshade design with contemporary cues, the Adesso Oslo 60″ Floor Lamp is our favorite. It’s heavier and less likely to tip over than other console lamps—also referred to as “shaded” or “traditional” lamps—that we tried. Its tulip-shaped base barely budges when bumped, and with its soft-white, spun-fabric shade, this lamp looks great standing alone or paired with other pieces of furniture. There’s nothing particularly fancy about the Oslo, but it’s a classic floor lamp accentuated with modernist detailing we appreciate.

Our pick

A solid, three-legged lamp made with dense rubberwood that can take a nudge but will hardly budge. The Lepower adapts to many decor styles, and its large footprint makes it best suited for spacious rooms.

The Lepower Wood Tripod Floor Lamp is a real bargain, exhibiting the fit and finish of floor lamps twice its price and easily filling a large space with light. The legs angle outward (so this lamp takes up more floor space than most of our other picks), but they lend an attractive wood look, to complement a range of room styles. The lamp’s 18-inch faux-linen shade does a convincing job of mimicking the genuine material, and it diffuses the light into a warm glow associated with a relaxing bedroom or an inviting living room.

Our pick

Sleek and tall, this three-light tree lamp doesn’t require a lot of space but adds both ambient and task illumination, and its brushed brass offers a little glimmer of glamour. A heavy weighted base allays any concerns of accidental tip-overs.

The mid-century–inspired CB2 Trio Floor Lamp is an appealing multitasker with a compact yet exceptionally heavy base. If you need a multipurpose lamp for a smaller space, we think the Trio’s three individually adjustable lights work great separately or in unison for reading, relaxing, or illuminating an entire room. Its finely finished brushed brass is also some of the nicest we’ve seen on a lamp at this price, bringing sophisticated shine without seeming gaudy.

Our pick

If you want drama—and you have the space—we love this arc lamp. It’s less prone to tipping than other moderately priced arc lamps, and it provides a nice light for reading.

If you’re fortunate to live in a space with higher ceilings, we recommend the Basque Arc Floor Lamp, our largest pick. Compared with cheaper arc lamps we looked at, this one has a heavier and wider base, which should help keep the lamp from tipping. As long as you have enough room to lay out its parts, it is easy enough for one person to assemble. And you will need plenty of room for its nearly 6.5-foot height and nearly 4-foot arm’s reach. The Basque fills the bill as a statement piece, but it also effectively highlights a favorite section of a room or provides bright light for reading, without being overwhelming.

Our pick

If you have a dark corner where other lamps offer insufficient illumination or simply don’t fit, we recommend the Adesso Felix for its lightsaber-thin design and powerful, mood-setting glow.

A lamp best suited as a secondary light within a living room, a bedroom, or an office, the Adesso Felix LED Wall Washer is designed to bathe corners with a bright yet intimate glow, enough to transform a room from being simply lit to feeling warmly illuminated. Because this style of lamp is meant for placement against a wall or in a corner, knock-over concerns are minimal; plus, the lamp’s marble block base is significantly heavier than its 58-inch glass-tube LED rod. Although the Felix’s slim silhouette means it can be placed practically anywhere, the lamp’s touch dimmer is situated at the top of the rod (65 inches high), requiring some planning with accessibility in mind.


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