A good floor lamp can illuminate dark corners and bring light to chairs and sofas, where it’s needed most. But most floor lamps are fairly large scale, so they also serve as striking accent pieces.
And sometimes that’s the point of a floor lamp: “I actually use it less for the lighting, and more for the form,” said Maureen Winter McDermott, the founder of Winter McDermott Design, in Sag Harbor, N.Y. “It’s about the height and sculptural moment.”
Of course, there are many kinds of floor lamps, including those that direct light down for reading, torchiers that illuminate the ceiling and fixtures with translucent shades that provide an ambient glow. So when you’re buying a floor lamp, you need to think about how it will contribute to a room’s overall lighting scheme.
“If you want just a glowing light, it could be a frosted globe,” Ms. McDermott said. “But for reading, it needs to be more focused.”