A bedside lamp isn’t just a source of light, it’s a gateway to relaxation. There are several factors to think about while shopping, including whether or not they offer storage compartments or charging ports, the material they’re constructed with, and the bulb types available—in addition to choosing from a wide selection of styles and finishes.
Read on to learn more about what goes into picking the best bedside lamps for your bedroom, and why the following models are top performers.
- BEST OVERALL: BCMASTER Table Lamp
- RUNNER UP: Yuusei Table Lamp Set of 2
- BEST MIDCENTURY STYLE: Globe Electric 52095 Belmont Desk Lamp
- BEST CONTEMPORARY STYLE: Nintiue Industrial Table Lamp
- BEST TRADITIONAL STYLE: Regency Hill Ben Traditional Table Lamps Set
- BEST FARMHOUSE STYLE: Oneach Maria Rustic Table Lamp Set of 2
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Bedside Lamps
Bedside lamps come in a variety of materials, designs, and styles with price points across the spectrum to signify quality, capability, and special features. Take these factors into account when shopping for a new bedside lamp.
A larger lamp doesn’t necessarily equate to more light. When shopping for a new bedside lamp, the base circumference, height, and nightstand table size should be taken into account. Be sure to measure the table before making a new purchase, as larger lamps may leave little to no space for extras, such books or an alarm clock.
Note that tall lamps with skinny bases tend to be more easily knocked over. Additionally, a tall lamp may spill light that disturbs sleeping partners. If this is a potential issue for you, opt for a shorter lamp, one with a flexible head for directional lighting, an adjustable shaft, or extendable arm.
Like other lamp varieties, bedside models are available in numerous types, offering different functions and benefits. Consider which of the following forms are suitable for you:
- Traditional bedside lamps feature a base, shaft, and lamp head finished with an empire-style shade (narrower at the top and flared at the bottom). These models cast light above and below the shade, illuminating the surrounding area of the lamp.
- Swing arm lamps are ideal for tasks that require targeted light, built with an adjustable arm that pivots and swings into various positions. This design allows users to control the height and direction of downward light.
- Adjustable lamps, unlike swing arm versions, can adjust in other ways. Some have telescoping poles to alter the height up or down or allow for tilting the head. The most flexibility can be found in a gooseneck lamp, which can twist and bend into various configurations.
- Torchieres contain long, tall shafts with flared heads at the top. They direct light upward, so they are ideal for adding ambient lighting to a room as well as brightening dark corners.
- Clip-on lamps are space savers, since they don’t require the use of a table. As the name implies, these models attach to headboards or bedside tables using a strong clip or clamp. These lamps are almost exclusively directional lights.
- Wall-mounted lamps, or sconces, are another option for those limited on space beside the bed. These light fixtures attach to the wall and come in numerous forms, including traditional, swing arm, and wallchiere.
- Floor standing models are similarly a general type that encompasses many forms. These bedside lamps have long shafts and provide either directional or multi-directional light. If selecting a floor standing lamp, take note of how easy it is to access the on/off switch from the bed; the most convenient models have a pull-down cord close to the shade or a button along the shaft.
Style and Finish
The lamp market has something to complement every style and theme, from unique pop culture-inspired art pieces to affordable, mass-produced options. Lamp designs incorporate different shapes and visual elements to match popular interior decor styles, such as:
- Modern bedside lamps have clean lines and a sleek aesthetic, with elements like matte finishes, ultra-thin shafts, and muted colors. Modern designs are understated to match minimalist home decor.
- Mid-century modern lamps have a retro nostalgia to them, particularly reminiscent of the design styles popular in the 1950s and 1960s. These models are a blend of minimalism and curved forms, such as slanting shafts, as well as semi-circular and globe shades.
- Industrial bedside lamps draw inspiration from warehouses and urban lofts, featuring exposed bulbs and all-metal designs. Some include glossy metallic finishes for a modern look, while others have finishes that create an aged appearance for a vintage industrial aesthetic.
- Traditional bedside lamps tend to have rich color palettes and textured fabric shades. Some include distressed-looking finishes, and many have vintage-style shafts reminiscent of another era. Their classic shaft designs draw attention to this part of the lamp, with forms such as those resembling a candlestick or vase.
- Rustic bedside lamps often contain antique visual elements with a certain rugged aesthetic. Reminiscent of forest cabins and older homes, this lamp style centers on subdued colors and an aged look; common designs include dark metal with faux tarnished finishes, fabric shades in brown or beige, and additional elements shared with traditional lamps.
- Farmhouse lamps and home decor blends traditional, rustic, and modern elements. Drawing inspiration from cottages, country homes, and farmhouses, this style features warm and natural tones, with a softer look compared to rustic designs.
- Bohemian lamps vary significantly in form, centered around an eclectic and carefree decor style. This can include brightly colored or patterned lamp shades, geometric bases, and other unusual forms.
Bulb Type and Wattage
Wattage is often confused with bulb brightness, but these elements are distinct. Wattage is a measurement of energy use; the more watts a lightbulb supports, the more energy it consumes to generate light. This is an important distinction to keep in mind when considering the main bulb types for wall sconces: LED, incandescent, and CFL.
- Light Emitting Diode (LED) light bulbs generate a significant amount of light at a lower wattage, consuming less energy than the other types. Compared to incandescent and CFL bulbs, LEDs are more environmentally friendly and energy efficient. LED bulbs have a long lifespan (approximately 25,000 hours) because less heat is emitted and there is no filament to burn out. LED bulbs are more expensive than incandescent and CFL bulbs, but if you use LED light fixtures often, their value is shown over time.
- Incandescent light bulbs generate light using a glowing tungsten filament while expending significant energy on heat. This makes incandescent bulbs inefficient and ultimately increases your energy bill. Incandescent bulbs are inexpensive upfront compared to LED lights, but once the filament eventually burns out, after a lifetime of around 1,000 hours, they are more costly to replace in the long run than LEDs.
- Compact fluorescent (CFL) light bulbs are often a compatible alternative for wall fixtures that require an incandescent bulb. CFL bulbs last between 10,000 to 15,000 hours and are slightly less expensive than LEDs. CFL light bulbs are less energy efficient than LEDs, but more efficient than incandescents.
Based on energy consumption (wattage), lifespan, and value, it’s not difficult to understand why LED bulbs are favored in modern light fixtures. To emit equivalent amounts of light, LED lights require a lower wattage, CFL bulbs require more watts, and incandescents even more.
Brightness and Color Temperature
Brightness is determined by lumens, a measurement indicating the amount of visible light generated. Simply put, more lumens means brighter light. Naturally, task lighting tends to have more lumens to effectively illuminate a target area.
For ambient lighting, choose a bedside lamp that has at least 400 lumens. If you require light for reading, writing, or other tasks, a lamp with between 450 and 850 lumens is ideal—anything brighter than that would likely be excessive for bedside illumination.
The color temperature of light bulbs is rated on the Kelvin light scale that ranges from 2000K to 6500K—at the bottom of the scale, the warm color temperature contains amber and yellow tones. As the light progresses up the scale, it becomes crisp white, and eventually takes on a bluish, cool tone at the upper end.
Keep the following temperature color ranges in mind, which are most suitable for bedrooms: between 2700 and 3000 K provides a warm yellow glow, 3000 to 4000 K amounts to yellow-white light, and 4000 to 5000 K creates a bright white light.
Smart devices or e-readers can be found on nearly every bedside table. For some, ensuring a full charge for a smartphone is an integral start to the day. Luckily, there are bedside lamps that offer USB charging ports. Traditional plugs are also in the mix when it comes to charging. Some bedside lamps come with built-in, three-pronged outlets for quick-and-easy charging.
Touch Operation and Dimming
Many bedside lamps offer adjustable lighting modes through touch or mechanical inputs. Different settings are great for watching television, reading while a partner slumbers, or keeping a night light.
Touch lamps were designed to prevent fumbling around in the dark. A simple brush of the base activates the light. Combined with adjustable bulbs, these lamps help to facilitate an overall mood, as the brightness can be adjusted depending on what the user is doing.
While bedside lamps have been around for over a century, models are continuously adapting to the lives of their users. Beyond device charging and dimming features, modern bedside lamps are also available with storage areas for phones, books, glasses, and other bedside accessories, built-in alarm clocks, color-changing bulbs, and more.
The best bedside lamps add to the environment. If the bedroom is a place to snuggle and watch videos, extra plugs could come in handy. If it’s a place for quiet solitude, however, a simple design may be more ideal.
Our Top Picks
Taking into account features, design, cost, and other shopping considerations, this list showcases some of the best bedside lamp options in their respective categories.
This bedside table lamp from BCMASTER provides a blend of functionality and style to serve well on modern bedsides. The BCMASTER provides virtually any color of light thanks to its red-blue-green color spectrum function. The LED lights within produce soft light in numerous colors. The compact lamp can be set to auto-cycle through a selection or glow constantly in a choice of color and brightness.
A tap of any spot on the metal control base toggles three brightness levels of warm white light suitable for intimate spaces. This multifunctional bedside lamp is suitable for modern and minimalist interiors thanks to its ultra-simple aesthetics. No switches or toggles mar the cylindrical lamp. For design, simplicity of use and multi-functionality, the BCMASTER table lamp makes an excellent choice for establishing mood or tone to the bedroom.
This pair of table lamps from Yuusei fills both sides of the bed with dimmable light operated by convenient touch controls at the base. Each lamp comes with two LED bulbs: one warm white light (2700 K) for a softer glow, and a cool white light (5000 K) ideal for bedtime tasks. Linen fabric shades diffuse the light, which can operate at four brightness levels.
The plastic base on each table lamp has an incorporated USB charger for smart devices. Low-voltage needs translate to safety and reduced risk of electric shock or electric leakage. Cover both sides of the bed with this budget-friendly and functional pair.
The Belmont bedside lamp from Globe Electric pairs modern technology and twentieth-century aesthetics, with a base that doubles as a USB charging port. A curved matte black shade and an arched shaft with antique brass finishes offer an interesting mid-century visual element to bedrooms. The lamp head can pivot nearly 360 degrees, so you can point the light where it’s needed.
The Belmont requires a 40 watt bulb (sold separately) and illuminates the room with warmer light suitable for reading to fall asleep or relaxing in bed. This sleek bedside lamp is a stylish option for mid-century, modern, and industrial interiors.
The Nintiue table lamp offers a unique retro design with an included vintage-style Edison bulb that emits 800 lumens. A rotary dimmer switch allows for dimming the light from full brightness to one percent brightness with a twist. Next to the switch, two USB ports allow for smart device charging.
This bedside lamp is great for modern, industrial, and rustic interiors with its minimalist and raw appearance, featuring a matte black finish and exposed bulb. The body is heavy-duty tubular metal with a clear glass shade. The 2700 K LED bulb falls precisely in the spectrum considered optimal for bedrooms and living rooms.
These Regency Hill table lamps have a classic design with subtle antique flair. The candlestick shafts have a dark bronze finish, with painted gold detailing for an artfully worn look. Topped with linen drum shades in a neutral beige, they fit well in country homes and bedrooms with traditional, rustic, or farmhouse decor styles. The elegant lamps offer bright light, suitable for those who desire ample illumination.
Sturdy metal construction guards against damage and the extra-long, 8-foot cords are ideal if there isn’t a wall outlet close to your bed. Each lamp has a simple on/off switch on the socket, which accommodates incandescent, LED, CFL, and halogen bulbs. They’re also dimmable when used with compatible dimmers and bulbs (sold separately).
Oneach’s table lamps blend multiple decor styles. The rough textured burlap shade in brown offers a rustic aesthetic, while the dark brown shaft is built to reflect a traditional aesthetic. Their rustic meets traditional charm is well-suited to both styles, and even some farmhouse interiors.
The pull chains on these lamps are easy to operate in dark environments. They’re particularly suited for couples who do not wish to disturb a sleeping partner, since the lampshade offers some diffusion of light, but keeps it focused downward. This classic Oneach set is compatible with LED, CFL, and incandescent bulbs, designed for bulbs no more than 60 watts.
FAQs About Your New Bedside Lamps
For a quick start learning how to choose the best bedside lamp, check out the frequently asked questions sections.
Q. What makes a good bedside lamp?
Certain features of a good quality bedside lamp are standard, while others depend on your space and personal preference. The most durable bedside lamps are made of metal and contain LED bulbs, which last the longest. While bedside lamps vary in their on/off mechanism, any model should have one that’s conveniently accessible.
On the other hand, features such as USB ports and dimming functions, may not be important to some shoppers. Style preferences also vary, since there are numerous styles of home decor. Similarly, the most suitable lamp height and lamp type depend on factors such as bedside table height and whether you want ambient or task lighting.
Q. How many lumens do I need for a bedside lamp?
For ambient lighting, a bedside lamp that’s at least 400 lumens is suitable. If you want to read, write, or work in bed, something between 450 and 850 lumens is best.
Q. How tall should bedside lamps be?
Bedside lamps are ideally between 24 and 27 inches tall. Keep in mind that taller lamps are more likely to tip or wobble, especially ones made of a lighter material like plastic or aluminum. They also may shed more light on the other side of the bed and disturb another person’s sleep.
Q. Can I leave a bedside lamp on all night?
Since bedside lamps vary in bulb types and construction materials, it depends on the product. If you like to fall asleep with a bedside light kept on, go with an LED light with a metal shaft and base; these are the most long-lasting in terms of bulb type and material.