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What are Accent Lamps?

Malcolm Tatum
Updated May 17, 2024
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Accent lamps are home lighting options that lean more toward the creation of a mood or look in a room rather than simply providing a source of light in the space. In general, an accent lamp is a relatively small device, with most professional and amateur interior designers agreeing that mood lamps of this type are usually no more than twenty-four inches in height.

The use of accent lamps in many rooms of the home is relatively common in many countries. As opposed to the practical but stark overhead lighting found in homes of just about every size and description, accent lamps are often used to diffuse the presence of light in the space so that the effect is softer and more relaxing. At the same time, accent lamps provide points of light around the space that can draw the eye to objects of interest that are within the range of the light output of the lamps.

Using accent lamps in a room is not hard to accomplish. In order to allow for enough light to sufficiently illuminate the space while still keeping the lighting somewhat soft, what is known as the triangle of light is often employed. This approach calls for placing accent lamps at three points around the room, with the placement more or less creating a triangle. For example, one lamp may be placed on a sofa table, while another small lamp is placed on an occasional table found on the opposing wall. As a third point of light, a third lamp recesses comfortably on a shelf found in a tall bookcase placed along a third wall. Depending on the size and general layout of the space, other accent lamps may be employed to enhance the basic triangle.

It is important to note that accent lamps also serve as decorating accents within the room. This means that the lamps do not necessarily have to match, but they should complement one another in some manner. The selection of decorative lamps may include a mix of bases that are brought to unity by using the same size and type of shade on each lamp. Ornamental lamps may also feature bases that are constructed with the same materials such as brass or teak. While the materials are alike, the design of the lamps may be different enough to allow each of the accent lamps to provide an additional visual element to the space.

Just about any room can benefit from the use of accent lamps. Since there are so many different types of lamps that can be used as accent pieces, it is possible to establish this kind of lighting in dens, living rooms, and bedrooms with equal ease. It is even possible to make use of an accent lamp in a bathroom if desired.

Purchasing accent lamps does not have to be an expensive endeavor. While it is possible to find a wide range of these lamps in home stores, boutiques, and even discount stores, it is also possible to purchase interesting accent lamps at thrift shops and yard sales. Often available at reasonable prices, these secondhand finds can be transformed into one-of-a-kind additions that make the look of the home even more unique and individual.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including WiseGeek, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.
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Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
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