The best desk lamps are essential for making working from home comfortable and easy on your eyes while enhancing your home decor. From simple and functional lamps to chic design pieces, find the best desk lamp for your home working set-up.
Some of us use a spare bedroom as an office, so it doesn't always make sense to replace ambient lighting with harsh task lighting. A desk lamp is the solution – light right where you need it, when you need it. And, even in a dedicated home office, a lamp can be great if your desk is in a dim corner, or for when the daylight starts to dwindle.
Let's not get caught up in just the practicalities though. You want your new lamp to look the bizz too. So, whatever your style; we’ve put together a list of our favourite desk lamps that’ll make your home office work for you... and look fantastic too. Once you have picked your favourite, see our selection of the best desks – just in case you haven't already got one or need an upgrade.
Best desk lamps
The original and best, the Anglepoise Type 75 table lamp (opens in new tab) takes over 80 years of innovation and packs it into the perfect light for offices. With its endlessly adjustable stalk and focused light, it manages to look both classic and modern, as well as allowing you to focus in on the finer details of the task at hand. Helpful and handsome, this iconic design earns our top spot for superior design and perfect performance.
If you’re a lover of all things old-fashioned, then this classic bankers lamp (opens in new tab) will complete the look and feel of your traditional home office or bureau perfectly. It’s not the brightest of lamps, but if you’re looking for something to create an atmosphere while you work then this gives off a gentle warm glow which is ideal for reading. If you’re a bit of a night owl, then this lamp won’t be too overbearing and bright for working in the evenings. An iconic desk lamp for anyone with a traditional home office space.
If rising and working in the dark has you feeling down in the dumps, the Lumie Desklamp (opens in new tab) can help. Engineered for sufferers of Seasonal Affective Disorder, it mimics natural sunlight to boost your mood when real light is scarce, and can even improve your concentration and energy levels, perfect for freelancers and anyone else who works from home year-round. It doesn’t look the smartest but it’s a very useful little gadget to keep handy in any home workspace, with touch-adjustable brightness and an adjustable stem. For sheer mood-improving qualities alone, this SAD lamp has earned its place in our top list.
This stunning Bell Table lamp (opens in new tab) has a touch of the Art Deco about it, looking just as at home as a statement-maker in a light, airy modern office as in a richly decorated study. Its all-over mirror-finish copper (also available in chrome) adds a dose of warm colour and interesting texture to a room. Tapping into the current rose gold trends, this designer copper desk lamp is a feature as much as it is a functional light.
Liven up your study with this retro steampunk-style bulb lamp (opens in new tab). This small industrial lamp is surprisingly bright, yet not overbearing and is ideal if you‘re looking to create a vintage atmosphere in your workspace. The recommended wattage for the bulb is 30–40w, and yes, unfortunately you do need to purchase the bulb separately. However, this is sometimes better as you can choose the shape and design you want, and Vintage Edison bulbs don’t cost very much at all.
If you're going for an industrial or Mid-century decorating scheme, the Baldwin (opens in new tab) will fit right in. It's one of John Lewis's bestselling designs for a reason: compact and beautifully shaped, and it comes in lots of different colour combinations. The pewter/copper combination is our favourite: the copper paint on the inside of the shade makes the light warm and inviting, while the pewter outer maintains a cool industrial look. These lamps are nice and steady, too, thanks to being made from steel.
For the modern looks of the Anglepoise desk lamp at almost half the price, look no further than this sleek No.045 lamp (opens in new tab) from John Lewis which comes in a range of colours. Whether you choose the almost imperceptibly pale pink to suit a bright and airy or glamorously girly office, or the satin-finish black, you’re assured of a cool minimal look thanks to the industrial concrete base, curved shade and brushed brass hardware. This lamp doesn't quite have the sturdy feel of a true Anglepoise design but, it has got a modern and high quality finish.
If you are after a traditional desk lamp for your home office, but don't want to go all out vintage, this Hampton Lamp (opens in new tab) is a perfect happy medium. This lamp gives off a traditional-meets-contemporary vibe, with the copper-effect finish which is bang on trend. This traditional desk lamp works well as a task lamp and is ideal for placing on a large desk and focusing in on a particular area. Great for doing late night paperwork or illuminating your desk without having the main room light on.
For something a little bit different, this piano lamp (opens in new tab) is sure to bring an air of 1920s glamour to your home office. Whilst traditionally used to shed light on the music sheets of a piano stand, these horizontal lights make for the ideal desk light in vintage office spaces, illuminating paperwork perfectly as well as bringing an air of tradition to the table. The polished brass lamp is slim and elegant, making it perfect for placing on a desk or indeed a bookcase. It has a simple on-off switch on the base and customers love how bright this lamp is. Take note, unlike most lamps, the LED bulbs in this piano lamp give off a colder white light as opposed to a warmer glow.
How to choose the best desk lamp
The best desk lamps share a few common features that set them apart from your standard table lamp. These are the things that make them suited to task lighting and provide better visibility to work by.
Adjustable lamp head:
We are all familiar with the iconic Anglepoise lamp with its adjustable head – if you don't think you are, watch the first minute of a Disney Pixar film. Designed in Britain in the 30s they are now seen as a designer buy, but started out as a task lamp – note the moveable head, complemented by joints and springs for a wide range of movement. This made them a common fixture in not just offices, but workshops, studios and even dental surgeries.
You don't have to splurge on an Anglepoise lamp now to get these benefits (although they are very stylish and very functional). Many desk lamps have a wide range of movement with a tilting head and sometimes a bendy stand too.
The brightest lamps usually have an LED bulb which also makes them energy efficient and perfect for your desk. Also think about what sort of brightness is right for you, and what colour temperature you’d prefer for your workspace. A yellow light will provide a warm and cosy atmosphere, whereas a white or blue light creates a colder environment.
Check where the switch is on any new model. The preferred place on most lamps these days is on the wire a few inches from the base. This means you can easily reach it, but also drop the wire down the back of your desk and hide the switch out of the way. Look out for touch lamps too. These can be switched on and off by tapping the base or stalk of the lamp – very handy.
These are not just for aesthetics. Where a bare bulb is involved, the lampshade helps direct the light to focus on what you are looking at, rather than blinding your with all-round glare. There are plenty of options so it is never hard to find one that suits your style, but you can check out our home office ideas if you need a bit of design inspiration.