Inspect your lamp to determine the maximum wattage bulb that is safely allowed.
Determine if you need a higher wattage. If you are replacing an incandescent bulb with a CFL, you may not need a higher wattage bulb to get the same amount of light. A CFL uses around 20 percent of the power (wattage) to create the same amount of light. A 13-watt CFL produces about the same amount of light as a 60-watt bulb, so you can actually use less wattage by switching to a 13-watt CFL. If you want a stronger bulb, a 23-watt CFL gives you more light at a safe wattage than if you had been using a 60-watt incandescent bulb.
Switch out a CFL with a CFL of a higher wattage as long as the replacement does not exceed the maximum wattage of the light fixture. Since CFLs use much lower wattage than incandescent bulbs, and most lamps are built for incandescent bulbs, it is unlikely you will exceed the maximum wattage for most household needs.