The best traditional desk lamps

Kit out your traditional home office with lighting that is both practical and stylish

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Designing a home office? Getting the right lighting if key for a successful workspace, so we have rounded up some of the best traditional desk lamps, from delicate antique brass designs to industrial-looking task lights. 

How to choose the right desk lamp

The brightest lamps usually have an LED bulb which also makes them energy efficient and perfect for your home office desk. When deciding what desk lamp is right for you, 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 whiter or blue light creates a colder environment – most people prefer a warm environment but this is all down to personal preference and what helps you work best. 

If you’re going to be switching between tasks such as writing, reading and using a computer, then make sure you opt for a traditional desk lamp with an adjustable neck, such as the anglepoise. These types of lamp are perfect for directing light to where you need it, and if you don’t always like your light super bright, then opt for one with a dimmer so you can adjust it to your needs when necessary. 

The rest is down to personal style, and we’ve compiled a list of some of the best traditional desk lamps to suit all décors and if you don’t have the cash to splash on designer items, don’t panic as we’ve rounded up a wide range of lamps to suit all budgets, too.

1. Glass and Brass Bankers Lamp

This bankers lamp will add an air of sophistication to any home office

Specifications
Best for: Creating ambience
Colour: Green and brass
Dimensions: H43xW18xD26cm
Material: Brass
Reasons to buy
+Energy-saving +Old-fashioned style
Reasons to avoid
-Won’t be bright enough for some 

If you’re a lover of all things old-fashioned, then this classic bankers lamp 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.

2. Polished Brass Piano Desk Lamp

Add a touch of old-school elegance to your office

Specifications
Best for: Something different
Colour: Gold
Dimensions: H12xW12xD30cm
Material: Brass
Reasons to buy
+Small base+Adjustable arm
Reasons to avoid
-Cold temperature lighting

For something a little bit different, this piano lamp is sure to bring an heir of 1920s décor 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.

3. FSLiving Steampunk Iron Table Lamp

A vintage looking bulb which would make for a quirky reading lamp

Specifications
Best for: Retro bulb
Colour: Brown
Dimensions: H8cmxDi9cm
Material: iron
Reasons to buy
+Decorative+Surprisingly bright
Reasons to avoid
-Bulb not included

Liven up your study with this retro steampunk-style bulb lamp. 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.

4. John Lewis Hadley Task Table Lamp

An antique-style lamp which adds a feminine touch

Specifications
Best for: Vintage lovers
Colour: Gold
Dimensions: H51xW19xD32cm
Material: Glass
Reasons to buy
+Etched glass +Ideal for reading
Reasons to avoid
-Not the brightest 

Antique lovers can look no further than this vintage etched-glass lamp. We love the traditional design and curved neck which holds the glass shade. The bulb isn’t the brightest, but it should create just the right atmosphere for reading and working in your home office. If you are looking for a traditional desk lamp that is a little more feminine than the structured Anglepoise, this vintage glass office lamp is ideal.

5. Anglepoise Original Mini Table Lamp

The classic Pixar lamp that works in any environment

Specifications
Best for: Classic and practical
Colour: Dove, Linen, Black
Dimensions: H51xW13xD28cm
Material: Metal
Reasons to buy
+Adjustable neck+3 colours
Reasons to avoid
-A bit basic 

The Anglepoise is one of the most popular desk lamps. It may seem basic, but it is a reliable lamp that has been around for years and is still going strong. If you’re not a fan of fancy, flamboyant traditional desk lamps and simply want something to get the job done, then the Anglepoise is for you. This is one of the latest Anglepoise lamps and it comes in three neutral colours with a new pyramid base with easy on/off switch. Customers love the quality of this lamp and can’t fault it’s timeless look and reliability.  For a traditional desk lamp that won't look out of place in a modern office, this is the one.

6. Linea Winston Task Lamp

A sophisticated twist on the traditional tabletop lamp

Specifications
Best for: Luxury feel
Colour: gold/silver
Dimensions: H51xW33.5xD16cm
Material: Brass with Nickel finish
Reasons to buy
+Pivot arm+Antique finish
Reasons to avoid
-Only one colour 

This dusty nickel-finished lamp has a unique look that is different to some of the other more traditional desk lamps. It has a luxurious feel that some of the more striking lamps don’t and it is softer on the eye while still providing an angled lamp with a bright light perfect for home office spaces. It has an easy on-off switch and stands alone meaning you can move it around if necessary. If your desk is currently looking bare but you don't want to overcrowd the space with an over-engineered light, then this desk lamp will certainly bring vintage simplicity to your home office without a shabby chic tassel in sight.

7. St. Mary's living room lamp

If you like oriental style, this Chinese Republic retro desk lamp looks traditional and elegant

Specifications
Best for: Continental style
Colour: Black & yellow
Dimensions: H54xdia31cm
Material: Metal and glass
Reasons to buy
+Pretty design+Warm glow
Reasons to avoid
-Bulb not included

This retro-style Chinese lamp boasts a soft and elegant design. If you’re a lover of all things vintage, the warm soft glow of this retro desk lamp coupled with the bell shaped curves of the metal stand aim to provide a traditional, yet cosy feel. This oriental lamp is great for using as a reading lamp as the shade can be moved and pivoted so it is hanging downwards or standing upwards, depending on the amount of light you require and where you would like to focus it.

8. Firstlight Hampton 45cm Desk Lamp

Vintage meets the Anglepoise with this copper-effect lamp

Specifications
Best for:
Colour: Gold
Dimensions: H45xW16.5xD40.1cm
Material: Metal
Reasons to buy
+Copper effect+Bulb included
Reasons to avoid
-Not very flexible

If you are after a traditional desk lamp for your home office, but don't want to go all out vintage, this Hampton Lamp 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.

Want more office inspiration? Check out more of our buying guides...