I'm getting a floor lamp for my small apartment and want to get the best lighting I can from a single fixture.

I basically have two choices:

  • A reading lamp: a single 100W bulb directed towards the ceiling, plus a 60 watt bulb pointed downards.
  • Three 60W bulbs on one pole pointed various directions.

Which of these fixtures will put out the most light for a roughly square room?

  • Watts to lumens calculator: rapidtables.com/calc/light/watt-to-lumen-calculator.htm With incandesent bulbs, 1 big one is usually brighter than 3 small ones. Jan 18, 2015 at 0:37
  • Perception of this light is probably a bigger concern than lumens, and what the light is for and how your room is setup will influence the best answer to your question. If you are trying to read/study, a task light (for example a "reading light"), even at lower wattage, will probably be a better choice. But if you want the entire room to feel bright, more lights and/or indirect lighting (bouncing off light-colored walls/ceilings) can be better. Whether you can get a single fixture that adequately can light the entire space for any purpose is impossible to answer with the info you've provided.
    – gregmac
    Jan 18, 2015 at 3:58

1 Answer 1


For incsndescent bulbs, usually the opposite. -- a 100W incandescent bulb puts out more light than two 50W bulbs. Though as a single source, shadows may be more of a problem.

Not sure about fluorescents.

LEDs are probably closer to a linear relationship between wattage and lumens.

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