The teensy lamps are really decorative only and can be used to light up a kitchen counter at night or fill in a space on a bookshelf or are pretty in a powder room.
Ambient lighting, like those interesting candlestick lamps (sold everywhere from $-$$$$) are really decorative and lovely to turn on at night to light up your foyer or dining room or a small corner – but they are not suitable for tasks or reading.
To really have functional light, you need good wattage. I prefer the three-way (I am not talking about Skyline Chili here or any other weird thing that might pop up in your head) bulbs, that have a 150 wattage at their highest point. A lamp has to have a broad enough shade to actually let the light spill over you. Dark shades of course are cool looking, but they won’t give enough light unless they are very wide at the bottom and tall. Light colored shades have a glow from top to bottom. A mix of shades and styles work the best in a room (please no matchy matchy) but to actually read or do needlework or whatever, keep the lamp close and bright.
*Becky Knows Everything: I would love to see pictures of your favorite lamps or comments on what works for you! Send them to me at email@example.com or leave a comment on my blog.