Lampshades can provide pattern in a decorating scheme, she says. "People are paying more attention to lighting - accessorizing, getting an eclectic mix. Floor lamps are a great way to do that."
Even high-end furniture designers are feeling the need to address this. To complement his own collection for Baker Furniture, Bill Sofield designed a line of contemporary lighting that is as elegant as it is spare.
One lamp, called Branch, looks like tree bark made of cast brass; it sits on its own tripod. Another, Polarity, consists of three smoky Plexiglas columns through which gold electrical cording is visible. The lamps are pricey, selling for $2,300 to $3,850.
Richard Frinier, a leader in innovative casual-furniture designs, created Japanese- and Indonesian-inspired lamps for Currey & Co. - a range of styles for outdoors that includes lighted columns topped by rice paper and hammered metal pieces.
Indoors or out, floor lamps add verticality to a space and create symmetry when used in pairs.
Decorative floor lamps have a history that dates to the early 20th century. Vintage shops often turn up floor lamps from the 1920s, with bases crafted from marble or onyx and silky shades that often were embellished with beaded fringe.
Mid-century floor lamps brought the metal pole style, which features several lights that can be turned or swiveled in the direction needed. Retro styles similar to these are being shown today, as well as the giant drum shades popular in the 1960s.
In addition, there are tripod-based lamps, including some that recall movie or stage lights, such as one carried by Pottery Barn.
What really signals a fresh look in floor lamps is a shift in proportions. The base can be a thin rod with a top-heavy shade or a chunky support topped by a rectangular or square shade that lends a modern flair. A square base updates the look, just as square plates have contemporized table settings.
And because of their simplified styling, many of these contemporary floor lamps can transition to traditional interiors. In fact, some designers relish the counterpunch, just like mixing antiques into a minimalist space.
The rectangular shade has been a signature of fashion designer Giorgio Armani for at least 20 years. When he introduced his Armani Casa home line, that profile was part of the mix.
A recent magazine ad showed an Armani lamp on a curving metal stand with a shade that hung like a bird cage. French furnishings designer Christian Liaigre's minimal style also is complemented by modern floor lamps with rectangular shades.
Floor lamps are echoing the trends in table-lamp design, says Residential Lighting's Pinto. That's especially apparent in the Globe model at West Elm. The lamp has an exaggerated tall shade that sits above a slightly elongated egg-shaped globe base. The 49 1/2-inch lamp can be placed on a table or the floor.
At last year's Maison et Objets furniture show in Paris, some table lamps were dramatically lofty - as tall as floor lamps, a scale that works in high-ceilinged rooms. Open loft spaces, with their characteristically soaring ceilings, finally have floor lamps that are more suited to the space - especially those giant arcing types.
In addition, some pendant lights or chandeliers easily translate as floor lamps. One model at West Elm features pieces of capiz, a natural shell, strung into rectangular strips that drip down to create the shade. With a breeze, the shells rustle, adding unexpected movement and sound.
Color can add not only a dash of energy, but also drama. At Maine Cottage, simple floor-lamp shapes are available in a palette of punched-up pastels. One model, the Lotus lamp, has a molded resin base. Shown in pale robin's-egg blue or a richer aqua, it also has a patterned lamp shade to match.
A black floor lamp with a matching black shade is especially powerful in a modern room with white or off-white upholstery and espresso furniture frames. The Nocturne floor lamp at Crate and Barrel has a bold base that's actually a beefed-up version of the classic turned-candlestick shape.
A white shade combined with a simple metal base can be strong but not overpowering, the perfect companion to mostly neutral furnishings. When the white is punched up with an accent hue such as lime green or orange, it's especially effective.
There's also a lot to be said for the use of metal, especially polished nickel. One of the favorite choices for bathroom hardware and faucets, as well as light sconces, is a mirror-like warm-silver finish, appealing as a base for floor lamps. Matte silvery finishes, gunmetal and bronze are other metal options.
One squarish flat column from Crate and Barrel rises up like a skyscraper. Crafted from rubberwood in a rich espresso finish, its platform lends a bit of sparkle.
Contemporary floor lamps embrace a variety of furniture styles. Homeowners with lamps that are simple and nondescript might benefit from a change in lampshades to update a room's decor.
But with their heightened scale and drama, the newest tall lamps can help create an unexpected floor show.