Parts of a Floor Lamp

Written by alex burke
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Parts of a Floor Lamp
Floor lamp styles vary (lamp image by Bube from

Floor lamps add height and visual complexity to a well-designed room decor. Every combination of shade, post and base creates a particular look or style of floor lamp. Each of these components adds to the room's visual interest. The actual light level that the floor lamp emits is contained in the socket of the lamp. Lamps that allow for adjusting height and angle may require other parts or components to assist in their operation.

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The Lamp Shade

Lamp shades vary in size and shape according to the style of floor lamp. Torchiere shades are usually metal or glass and sit on top of a torchiere shade holder or cover that, in turn, hides the lamp socket. Other styles of floor lamps may resemble a traditional table lamp with a shade that is attached using a harp. Harps are formed with two pieces of metal piping that allow the shade to be placed over the bulb and socket, keeping the shade a safe distance from the heat of the light bulb.

Electrical Components

Types of electrical components can change with each style of floor lamp. However, all electrical floor lamps have a light socket with an attached cord and plug. Depending upon how many bulbs the lamp requires, the socket can be a single bulb socket, a two-way socket or a three-way socket. Typically, the socket sits at the top of the floor lamp post with the cord running through the centre of the post and out the side of the base. This allows the cord to be hidden from view and the plug to be easily placed in an outlet for use.

Floor Lamp Post

Floor lamp posts, also called tubes or columns, can be of varying heights, widths and materials. Wood and metal are common post materials. Posts are generally hollow, allowing the electrical cord to be placed inside them. Bridge-style floor lamps have posts with a "break" at the midpoint of the post along with a bridge arm and a swivel component at the socket. These additional parts in the post allow the lamp to be height adjusted and the socket to be angled and adjusted as needed by the user. Bridge lamps are sometimes called reading lamps and can be designed for tabletop or floor placement.

The Lamp Base

At the very bottom of the floor lamp is the lamp base. The base keeps the floor lamp from easily falling over or tipping while in use. Just like posts, sockets and shades, the base of a floor lamp will vary with the style of the lamp. Some floor lamp bases sit flat on the surface of the floor and others will have three- or four-pronged legs. Flat, floor-hugging bases generally have an access point along the side of the base that allows the socket cord to exit the lamp post. Bases with legs allow the cord to drop out of the post opening and fall freely to the floor.

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