Mad About . . . Floor Lights

Good lighting is the perfect finishing touch to any room. A wise woman (Sally Storey, design director of John Cullen lighting and author of Lighting By Design) once told me that it doesn’t matter how cheap your furniture is if you spend money on clever lighting. She claimed to have a house full of Ikea products that was so well lit it looked as if everything had cost ten times that amount.

Think about it; just as candlelight is said to be so flattering to a woman’s skin, so the right lighting will enhance your furniture.

Sally says you must aim create a layered effect and that is done in three ways: ambient, task and accent lighting. Each one should be controlled separately and used to create different areas within a room.

Finally, she said that too many of us insist on placing spotlights symmetrically in the ceiling rather than thinking about what they are there to illuminate.  Consider instead whether they are lighting your work surfaces correctly.

So here are some floor lights which can be used both as task, accent and ambient lighting.



Just prop it against the wall and, if you use a gentle 40W bulb it will give off a soft light. Designed by Chris Slutter it comes in a range of colours with a shade in blue, orange, white or yellow.



Perfect for today’s fashionable industrial chic look, this is a great way to illuminate a feature in a room by throwing light up onto a picture for example. It comes with a European plug but an adapator is provided.



Don’t dismiss Ikea, I too am a huge fan. If you rootle about you will find fantastic products, particularly in the lighting department. A well-chosen Ikea product can more than hold its own in a room full or more expensive pieces of furniture. Imagine wearing Jimmy Choos with Topshop Baxter jeans – a well-kept fashion secret. It’s the same principle. This is a great task light and its nickel colour gives it a slightly retro feel.



A modern design classic if ever there was one. This is a twist on the traditional standard lamp, with a glossy lacquered base which is just gorgeously tactile and intense in colour. I have this version in a table lamp and a burgundy floor lamp as well. It’s currently also available in chocolate brown. The shade is sold separately, which, while that might be annoying from a price point of view, does mean you can mix it up with another colour. I believe Mary Portas has a burgundy base with a lime green shade. Or vice versa. Either way, doing that makes it even more funky.



There’s nothing worse than a jumble of wires to mess up the most carefully planned room. This lamp makes a feature of the cord by transforming it into the stem of the light so it appears almost like the Indian rope trick. Perfect for tucking into a corner of a bedroom or sitting room as the lack of shade also means that it doesn’t take up too much space.



So this one’s cool. The packaging, which would normally be thrown away becomes the casing for the bulb and you can fix as many as you like wherever you like – wall, ceiling, door.



With its simple shape and mirrored nickel base, this is both understated and stunning. It looks fabulous in this monochrome setting, or imagine it next to a bright pink chair or by a neon rug.

Kate Watson-Smyth

The author Kate Watson-Smyth

I’m a journalist who writes about interiors mainly for The Financial Times but I have also written regularly for The Independent and The Daily Mail. My house has been in Living Etc, HeartHome and featured in The Wall Street Journal & Corriere della Sera. I also run an interior styling consultancy Mad About Your House. Welcome to my Mad House.