Lanterns for the Bedside

What do you have on your bedside table? If you’re like most people, you have a boring lamp with a clunky beige shade. Or maybe you were feeling hipster and splurged for the teal bubble lamp from Target. Either way, isn’t it time that your bedside table stopped looking like a sad advertisement for an IKEA college dorm? One day I had that same though and went on a hunt for a stunning pair of bedside lamps.

Every bedside table, amirite? Just missing the phone charger.

What I found was that all the lamps were just…lamps. A stick with a shade on top. It didn’t matter if you covered the whole thing in gold foil and glitter; the effect was still so basic. I wanted that something that radiated light in a pure way. Where the lamp felt like one entity. Maybe I was on a spiritual high that day, but I wanted a little glowing orb on my table. I wanted the light to be free.

And so I looked for lamps with glass shades that would let the lights shine a little brighter. I found this Hudson Industrial Desk Lamp with an antique iron base and a transparent glass shade.

Look at that Edison bulb!

I really loved this lamp—except that I failed to measure it in the space before purchasing. All table lamps are roughly the same size, right? Wrong. This lamp was absolutely massive. The shade had absolutely no diffusion whatsoever (what was I expecting—it was clear glass) so the light shine out and pierced your eyes directly. But I loved the style so much that I decided to try the companion floor lamp and set it next to my bedside table. Both lamps are pictured with a Feit Vintage Bulb (sold separately) to really complete the Edison lamp look.

Better with a lot of free space around the lamp

Just like the desk lamp was massive for a desk lamp, the floor lamp was quite large for a floor lamp. It drew far too much attention awkwardly mashed in the corner by the bedside table. The bedroom was still without a secondary light source, and so again I went hunting.

Enter uplights, lanterns, accent, and ambient lights. Think stemless glasses. These lights are designed to show light throughout without a lamp post—the lamp “shade” is the entire lamp. First I gave the Lifeholder Ambient Light for a whirl. The light emitted was bright enough for reading but still had a soft, diffused quality.

Mixed feelings about the crosshatched shade

I still wasn’t happy with the overall look (apparently I’m hard to please in this area). I wanted something with a little more drama and elegance, but this lamp screamed IKEA and college dorm. So I went upscale to Pottery Barn (yeah, I really have a love/hate relationship with Pottery Barn) and found the Adeline Crystal Ambient Accent Lamp. Isn’t this gorgeous? It has an old world feel with a neutral bronze frame that goes with any room color scheme. My house is largely cool tones (whites, silvers, blues) and I don’t have any bronze fixtures anywhere—but this lamp blends in seamlessly anywhere. The cut facets of crystal refract the light in a truly stunning way. And the light is bright enough to read by, but not so bright that you couldn’t fall asleep with the light on.

Hey, let’s be gorgeous together

Not too big, not too small…just right

Crystal me up, buttercup

That price tag, though! Pottery Barn never ceases to amaze with its endless price hikes and meager sales. Pottery Barn also  has well-known problems in production, quality control, and shipping. I had to order replacements twice because my first order of lamps were all scratched up on the crystal, and then one of the replacements was broken on arrival. Each time there was a month lag because of low supply. Their products are beautiful—if you can get one undamaged in a timely manner. If Pottery Barn still gives you sticker shock, there is a pretty little silver-toned crystal lamp by Seaside Village.

Have you considered replacing traditional lamps with ambient lights?

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