Desk Lamps

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Advice & Info

Desk Lamps


Whether you’re reading, writing, or working on your computer, desk lamps are perfect for task lighting. But with so many designs and types, it can be daunting picking one that reflects your personal style.

It’s important to pick desk lamps that emit clear, bright light with minimal glare. Keep in mind that lamps with an adjustable design can be positioned to accommodate different tasks.

If you’re in the market for a new desk lamp, explore this guide to learn about the following:
  • Desk lamp styles
  • Types of desk lamps
  • LED desk lamps
  • The best desk lamps: What to look for
  • Where desk lamps work best in your home
  • FAQs about desk lamps

Desk Lamp Styles


Desk lamps can add to your existing style and décor. But with various shapes and sizes to choose from, there are many factors to consider. Whether you’re looking for vintage, modern, or mid-century desk lighting, we’ve rounded up the top lamp styles below.

One of the best go-to desk lamps comes with a classic metal base and glass shade. These types of lamps are perfect for a traditional space. Whether you’re looking for vintage, modern, or mid-century desk lighting, we’ve rounded up the top lamp styles below.

If you want similar lines but your desk space is more transitional, look for comparable silhouettes with muted details. Both style types often feature brass, bronze, and nickel office desk lamps. For more contemporary or modern desk lamps, opt for minimalist and sculptural lamps, often with non-halogen bulbs.

If mid-century desk lamps are more your style, we’ve got many to choose from. Light fixtures of this design combine sturdy materials like oak and steel or aluminum to withstand the test of time. These types of lamps can add a hint of retro mixed with contemporary flare to your space.

Types of Desk Lamps


Desk lamps are meant to illuminate what you’re working on without causing eyestrain or glare. Before you land on the perfect one, consider the following questions.

Do you want a desk lamp that comes with a swing arm and is adjustable? Do you prefer ones that plug into an outlet or are battery-powered? Explore our desk lighting guide below to help narrow down your options.

A swing arm desk lamp is very versatile. The lamp’s swing arm lets you direct the light at whatever you’re working on. If you need the light closer, just swing the arm down for better illumination.

A swing arm is perfect if you’re working on a lot of drawing or drafting projects. It spreads the light across the width of your desk with ease.

Keep in mind that a swing arm desk lamp is just one type of adjustable desk lamp. Other adjustable lamps feature telescoping poles to alter the height up or down. Others may come with features that can tilt the light up or down depending on how much light is needed.

Lastly, not every desk lamp has to plug into an outlet to work. Some use battery power or an alternative source. For instance, some desk lamps can plug into a USB on your computer and run off its power. Many desk lamps in today’s market also come with built-in outlets or with a built-in charging feature.

LED Desk Lamps


LED desk lamps are incredibly energy efficient, with some lasting up to 20 years. For example, these types of lamps use 90% less energy than incandescent ones. They also provide the same kind of task lighting as other traditional bulbs, remain cool to the touch, and don’t create heat as incandescent bulbs do.

There are several LED desk lamp types, sizes, and styles to consider before picking the perfect one. First, decide whether your space pairs well with a battery-powered desk lamp or one that plugs into an outlet.

For instance, a USB desk lamp makes it easier for you to charge your phone or other electronics right on your computer. These types of lamps plug into a USB port on your computer and run off its power.

Unique desk lamps are perfect alternatives if you’re looking for something to make a statement in your home office space. For example, LED gold desk lamps create the perfect ambiance in homes with a rustic or traditional style.

The Best Desk Lamps: What to Look For


The best desk lamps often have distinct metal finishes and illuminate your desk or table with an even pool of light. Oil rubbed bronze, brass, or satin nickel finish coupled with a sturdy base and a distinguished shade is a classic example of a desk lamp that works for many different styles. A popular alternative to this classic look is a desk lamp with an Arts and Crafts inspired design. However, if you are looking for modern desk lamps, you might choose to forgo those classic details and look for something that is sleek and minimal, possibly with a cantilevered swing arm for graceful movements.

Where Desk Lamps Work Best in Your Home


Desk lamps are perfect for tasks that require a surface. If you have a home office, artist’s workbench, or a designated homework area, an office desk lamp is the perfect fixture to add style and illumination to your space. Alternative places in your home that work well for desk lamps are on sofa tables, reading nooks, and on bedside tables. Because many of them feature an adjustable height or a swing arm, desk lamps offer versatility for many different tasks. You might position it lower for nighttime lighting or higher for increased concentration or attention to detail.

FAQs About Desk Lamps


How tall should a desk lamp be?
The typical height of an adjustable desk lamp is between 28 and 38 inches. For living rooms or offices, opt for desk lamps that are between 26 and 34 inches tall at their highest extension.

The best way to determine the height of your lamp is by conducting a “hand test.” For example, place one arm in front of you with your fingers extended upwards. Then touch the light bulb at eye level as if it were hanging overhead. Adjust the lamp to your desired height to avoid hunching over.

How do I pick a desk lamp?
There are a few factors to consider when picking the perfect desk lamp. For example, consider whether a fixture can provide clear, bright light to accomplish tasks. One with a focused beam and minimal glare is also important. Lastly, you may choose a desk lamp with an adjustable design to better accomplish specific tasks.

Are cordless desk lamps a thing?
Yes, cordless desk lamps do exist. Battery-operated desk lamps can range in size between one foot and 2.5 feet high. They come in different designs, varying from traditional and classic lamps to contemporary and transitional ones.

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