In these dark and frigid days we find cheer with the lamp.

The lamp glows when you walk into a room, evoking affection. Come sit over here, it beckons. Curl up with a book, vanilla hazelnut tea, a date.

The lamp's functionality is being overshadowed by its pretty face. This season's lamps don't just say artificial light but also "urban contemporary" and "streamlined relic." (Say these terms with confidence to your friends.)

"In the past, lighting was commonly treated as an afterthought of the design process, whereas the current attitude focuses on exciting trends at the forefront of the design plan," explains Douglas Burton, Apartment Zero's design development director. "We are experiencing more compact, multifunctional lighting, as well as a move toward an atmosphere of unusual materials, translucency and mood lighting."

And we're not talking lava lamps.

-- Janelle Erlichman

Octopi lamp with six bendable metal arms and multicolor glass shades ($130), at Chiasso.com.BiProduct's ST stackable lamp in yellow and stainless steel mesh ($305), at Apartment Zero, 406 Seventh St. NW.Elise lamp -- available 18 inches to 60 inches tall -- has a polycarbonate cylinder and aluminum base ($160-$405), at Habitat, 1510 U St. NW.Rosie NYC dangling glass table lamp ($575), at Zaidee Coco, in Great Falls and Reston Town Center.Matthew's Designs antique camera lamp ($425), at Zaidee Coco.