Today’s lamps are manufactured in many different types of designs with a range of functions. Some are dimmable, and many others can do more than simply light up a room. Since numerous options are on the market, making a decision can be more involved than simply selecting one that provides a good light source.
When choosing the best table lamp for a room, think about how you plan to use it in the space. Consider when it will be lit and the available space. These considerations help narrow the choice for a table lamp. However, considering other details can help you sift through the seemingly endless options.
Keep reading to learn more about how to choose a lamp, and find out why the following lamps made the list for some of the best table lamps of 2021.
- BEST OVERALL: Décor Therapy TL7910 25″ Huntington Table Lamp
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Mainstays Silver Grab and Go Stick Lamp
- BEST DESIGN: SkyeyArc 4-Circle Dimmable LED Table Lamp
- BEST FOR SMALL SPACES: JKSWT LED Eye-Caring Table Lamps
- BEST SET: Industrial Lodge Home Maeve 27.75″ Table Lamp Set
- BEST FOR KIDS: WINICE Seabed Starry Sky Projector
- ECO-FRIENDLY PICK: JONATHAN Y Elicia Seagrass Weave LED Table Lamp
- MOST INNOVATIVE: Ausfore 4 USB Ports and AC Power Clock Table Lamp
- INDUSTRIAL PICK: Williston Forge Chevonne Brown Desk Lamp
- ECLECTIC PICK: Signature Design by Ashley Syler Faux Wood Lamp
Types of Table Lamps
When shopping for a table lamp, think about where it will be displayed. For example, the type of lamp suitable for a nursery is usually different from one used in a dining room. Knowing the location of the lamp in the home helps narrow the choices further by size and style. Consider the following types of table lamps.
Bedside Table Lamp
Even if a bedroom has an overhead light, a bedside lamp not only helps create a soothing ambiance but also serves as a nighttime reading lamp. Bedside table lamps are typically sold in a pair to place matching lamps on both sides of the bed.
Bedside lamps are typically large enough to produce enough light but small enough to allow space for a book, glasses, a drink, or other nighttime essentials on the nightstand or table. Dimmable nightstand lamps may be easier on the eyes than a ceiling light, especially in the early morning hours or late at night.
Another practical lamp, a desk lamp provides concentrated illumination, enough to complete important tasks such as working, writing, reading, making detailed drawings, or creating models.
Brighter, more focused light, such as that offered by 5- to 10-watt LED bulbs, helps reduce eyestrain. Desk lamps that swivel or pivot allow light to be directed on a user’s work, preventing problems like neck pain and blurry vision.
If the home doesn’t have overhead lighting in the living areas, many people put lamps on tables next to chairs or at the ends of their couches. However, end tables also provide space for framed photographs or artwork, books, tablets, or beverages.
If additional lighting is needed, these spaces are often illuminated with floor lamps instead of end-table lamps. Decorative table lamps can brighten the room’s space and improve the overall aesthetic.
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Table Lamps
In addition to determining the best place for lamps in the home, also keep in mind how the light will illuminate the space. Certain factors contribute to the dispersal of light throughout the room, including:
If the lamp is not proportionally large enough, a large room may drown out the effects of the lamp, and a huge table lamp can provide too much light in a small room. When choosing a lamp for a room, keep the room size in mind as well.
The height of the room also may factor into room size. For rooms with taller ceilings, aim for taller lamps and consider smaller ones for rooms with lower ceilings. Doing so helps the lamp look proportional in the space.
To determine how much light output a room needs, find out the square feet of the room and multiply that measurement by foot candles, a unit of illumination that’s used to show the distance that light can cover. Experts recommended foot candles for both bedrooms and living rooms as between 10 and 20 foot candles. Therefore, a 100-square-foot bedroom needs between 1,000 and 2,000 lumens. Home offices usually require more, between 60 and 80 foot candles. If the square foot of the area is also 100 square feet, the necessary lumens is between 6,000 and 8,000.
In living rooms, lamps are typically spread strategically along the edge of the room to prevent them from getting in the way of the direct flow of traffic. If concerned about lamp cords becoming trip hazards, particularly in larger rooms, hide the cords under rugs or tape them down with strips to help minimize the problem.
Selecting the correct-size lamp primarily depends on the room’s size, the lamp’s purpose, and its location in the room. For instance, if the lamp is on a narrow nightstand, shade size is important, particularly if the shade is round. A wide, round shade won’t always fit comfortably on a narrow table. Ideally, the diameter of a lampshade should be about 65 to 90 percent of the lamp base’s length.
Also consider the height of the lamp. Look for a lamp that’s about 1.5 times the height of the piece of furniture it sits on. For optimal illumination while sitting in bed, make sure the lamp lines up with the bed occupant’s chin. On a couch, it should align with eye level. This alignment allows for even dispersal of light without creating a glare.
Choosing a lamp isn’t all about the technical aspects; also consider its style. For instance, an industrial-type lamp complements a condo in a converted factory building or loft to correspond with exposed architectural details. On the other hand, a lamp for a modern home should complement that design’s straight lines, geometric shapes, and angles.
Most lamps have two settings: on and off, which the user operates through a push button, rotary switch, or pulley. More advanced options allow the user to choose the level of brightness; these lamps are often referred to as “dimmable” lamps. To make the light brighter or dim it, simply use a sliding button or a switch.
Brightness of light is determined in lumens. The higher the lumens, the brighter the light output, and vice versa. However, dimmable lights may also disperse white light, bluer light, or various colors along the spectrum. The color temperature is described in Kelvin (K) units.
- At the lower end, between 2,000 to 3,000 K, a light may produce a warm white that gives off an orange or yellow hue. This light color is regularly used in table lamps for bedrooms and living rooms.
- At 3,100 up to 4,500 K, a lamp produces a cool white color that’s slightly bluer.
- Above 4,500 K, a light has a much bluer light, which resembles daylight. Lights in the middle and high Kelvin range are usually best for overhead or security lighting.
Our Top Picks
After determining the location of the lamp in the home and the amount of light needed for the space, it’s time to start shopping for a table lamp for the space. The following list contains some of the best table lamps in a variety of categories to help brighten a space and fulfill the lighting needs for a home.
Lamp lovers who want a simple lamp that provides an adequate amount of light may want to consider the Décor Therapy Huntington Table Lamp. A good height for bedrooms or living rooms, it complements a traditional home decor. Its aged bronze finish also may work well in rustic decorating. The lamp takes a three-way 100-watt light bulb, which is activated via a rotary switch. Despite the high-wattage light bulb, the taupe-colored shallow drum lampshade softens the light to a warm glow. Assembly is easy, and its slender 4.75-inch base allows it to fit narrow spaces such as on a console table or credenza.
- Dimensions: 14 by 14 x 25 inches
- Weight: 4.89 pounds
- Materials: Resin with a bronze finish
- Three-way light with rotary switch
- Sleek design that suits most decor
- Minimal assembly required
- Warm glow provided by the shade may not be to everyone’s taste
The Mainstays Silver Grab and Go Stick Lamp has a USB plug-in for recharging phones while allowing it to charge in proximity to the user. Because of its clean lines, this lamp works well with modern decor, and its simple, clutter-free design also complements its minimalist design.
The lamp is easy to power off and on via an easy-to-push button at the lamp base. It takes a 40-watt incandescent bulb or a 5-watt LED bulb, which provides a soft light that makes it ideal as a desk lamp or lamp on nightstands and accent tables. If several lamps are needed, the price makes it easier to buy more than one.
- Dimensions: 8 by 8 by 19 inches
- Weight: 3.5 pounds
- Material: Fabric, brushed nickel
- Minimalist design
- Ideal for home offices and bedrooms
- Takes up little space on a table
- Fabric lampshade is very delicate
For the art lover who loves to reflect that passion in furniture, the SkyeyArc Table Lamp may make a perfect statement piece. This lamp design comprises four different-size circles that each contain a 12-watt built-in LED light. The lamp stands 18.9 inches tall and blends well with minimalist, modern, urban, or futuristic decorating styles.
The lamp has three different temperature settings: warm white, cool white, and user-defined. The user-defined setting allows the operator to choose the lamp’s color temperature, ranging from 3,200 to 6,000 K.
- Dimensions: 10 by 2.76 by 18.9 inches
- Weight: 1.76 pounds
- Materials: Aluminum, iron, silica gel
- Unique design
- No lamp assembly required
- Three temperature modes
- No shade
- LED lights can’t be replaced
The JKSWT LED desk lamp fits in small home office spaces. The movable arm allows the user to straighten or bend it as necessary.
The lamp’s 72 soft light beads don’t flicker or cast a shadow, which helps minimize eye fatigue. Users don’t have to worry about a harsh glare, making the lamp ideal for typing, knitting, reading, drawing, or studying. The lamp has five lighting modes and 10 brightness settings that can be activated at the touch of a button. The LED in the lamp has a long lifespan, lasting up to 20,000 hours.
- Dimensions: 5.27 by 10.11 by 19.84 inches
- Weight: 2.64 pounds
- Materials: Aluminum, metal
- An eye-friendly lamp that helps prevents eye fatigue
- Five lighting levels and 10 brightness levels
- Adjustable arm and a base that can tilt 100 degrees
- “Remembers” and activates last brightness setting, which may not be convenient
- Modern style may not fit some decor
Because of its clean lines and simplicity, the Industrial Lodge Home Maeve Table Lamp Set fits well with both modern or minimalist decor styles. The lamp, which turns on and off via its three-way rotary switch, uses a 150-watt light bulb. Since the lamps come in a set, they can be used on two nightstands or end tables to create a balanced look in a living room or bedroom space.
At 27.75 inches, these lamps are tall. The linen shades are 13 inches across at the bottom, and the lamp has a slender base. The symmetrical shape of the lampshade and thin base make the lamp easy to display on a narrow piece of furniture such as a sideboard.
- Dimensions: 27.75 by 13 by 13 inches
- Weight: 5 pounds
- Materials: Metal, faux concrete, manufactured wood
- Traditional design with a slender base
- Easy to clean
- Blends well with modern or minimalist decor
The WINICE Seabed Starry Sky Projector lamp is multifunctional: It can serve as a light for studying or transform into a projector that reflects constellations and other designs onto the ceiling.
The lamp is also portable. Children who need it as a night-light can carry the lamp to their destination to avoid tripping or injury. The lamp, which has four brightness settings, can rotate 360 degrees to display six film projections. The unit also comes with three LED bulbs: white, blue, and yellow.
- Dimensions: 4.72 by 4.72 by 4.72 inches
- Weight: 10.6 ounces
- Materials: Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene
- Task lighting for studying
- Versatile light that doubles as night-light or projector
- Easy to use and portable
- Quite loud when the projector is running
Made primarily of sustainable, biodegradable seagrass braided by hand by skilled artisans, this lamp is a one-of-a-kind piece of art. Its seagrass material makes the lamp suitable for homes with coastal or boho themes.
The JONATHAN Y Elicia Seagrass Weave LED Table Lamp comes with an eco-friendly 9-watt LED bulb, but it can also use 100-watt incandescent bulbs or a 12-watt LED bulb. Operate the lamp with an on/off rotary switch. It stands 31 inches tall, making it an ideal size for end-table lamps in the living room or bedroom; however, it can also be used as a buffet lamp.
- Dimensions: 16 by 16 by 31 inches
- Weight: 3.63
- Materials: Linen, seagrass weave
- Made of sustainable materials
- An LED light bulb is included
- Stable drum design
- Lamp may be darker than it appears in the images
Ausfore is taking lamp making to a futuristic level. This transitional lamp has a three-in-one design that combines a clock with an alarm function, lamp, and charging station. The lamp is easy to disassemble, which makes it portable.
This multifunctional lamp includes four USB charging ports and two AC power outlets. The lamp comes with two LED light bulbs, allowing the user to experience warm white light at 3,000 K with a yellow glow and cool white light at 6,500 K.
- Dimensions: 7.5 by 7.5 by 19 inches
- Weight: 2 pounds
- Materials: Fabric shade, fire-resistant base, metal
- Sleek design that complements a home office or bedroom
- Includes charging ports and a power strip
- Removable alarm clock lamp base
- The many plug-ins could create clutter
The Williston Forge Chevonne Brown Desk Lamp provides a taste of the past in a design that resembles a cast-iron pipe. Although this simple modern design is not as high-tech as other lamps, it’s a charming faux-vintage piece. In addition, its unique exposed pipe design makes it work well in an industrial space that includes other exposed architectural elements.
This lamp can use up to a 60-watt incandescent light bulb or its equivalent in LED, halogen, or fluorescent. However, using a vintage Edison bulb helps it maintain its industrial charm. Even though this lamp can improve the ambiance of living rooms and bedrooms, it also can be used for everyday tasks like writing and reading.
- Dimensions: 13.7 by 7.8 by 3.4 inches
- Weight: 1.91 pounds
- Materials: Metal
- Simple, sturdy design
- Useful as a desk lamp but also for other uses
- Power off and on using a traditional rotary socket
- No extra features
- No shade
For homes with eclectic or modern decor, this Ashley Syler Faux Wood Eclectic Table Lamp combines several materials, such as faux wood, brushed silver, and a fabric shade, with geometric shapes and lines.
Not only should this lamp appeal to those who love geometric and eclectic furniture pieces, but it could also work well for those with contemporary decor or furniture with an artsy vibe. This lamp comes as a pair, and it takes a 150-watt bulb. It stands approximately 28 inches tall, making it ideal as a nightstand lamp or an end-table lamp.
- Dimensions: 15.25 by 9.25 by 28.75 inches
- Weight: 8 pounds
- Materials: Polyresin and metal
- Distinctive design
- Blends well with eclectic, contemporary, or artistic design
- Ideal height for bedrooms and living rooms
- Lamp only comes as a set
- No extra functions
For those who want a simple traditional lamp to illuminate a space with a good height for reading, the Décor Therapy Huntington Table Lamp is an excellent choice. Those who prefer a minimalist design with extra functions may want to consider the Mainstays Silver Grab and Go Stick Lamp. It has a USB port and is priced more economically than others with similar features.
How We Chose the Best Table Lamps
Lamps have evolved through the years, becoming more multifunctional. The lamps in this review were curated from 60 table lamps from various popular online purchasing venues based on specific criteria. Since many lamps are purchased in twos, affordability is a high criterion in this review: None of the lamps in this review exceeded $200.
Another important consideration is height. A bedroom lamp usually ranges between 24 and 27 inches, while living room lamps stand between 24 to 34 inches tall. However, lamps don’t always have to fall within a particular height range to be effective. The main goal when choosing any lamp is to maximize the light and minimize the glare from the bulb.
Each lamp’s design was also considered. Lamps provide light, but since they’re part of the decor, they also can serve as statement pieces. Finally, functionality is important. Lamps in this review are easy to power on or off. Some use a standard button, pulley, or rotary switch to turn off or on, while others can be adjusted by changing their brightness level.
With so many lamps to choose from, making a selection isn’t always easy. Beyond style and price, consider a lamp’s technical aspects, such as the amount of light needed for particular tasks and spaces. Read the following answers to some of the most common questions shoppers frequently have when choosing table lamps.
Q. Which table lamp gives the most light?
A lamp that gives the most light has a higher foot candle rating and offers higher lumens. For a lamp to give the most light, choose one with a light-color shade and a slender or clear glass base. Just make sure that the watts and the lumens are equivalent and that the bulb fits the lamp.
Q. How tall should a bedside table lamp be?
Most bedroom lamps are between 24 and 27 inches tall, a measurement based on the height of the average person sitting in bed. As the heights of people vary, it’s a good idea to choose a lamp with a lampshade that aligns with the chin when the user is seated on the bed. This helps minimize possible glare.
Q. How long do table lamps last?
If maintained, lamps can last a long time. Common items that may require repair on a lamp, the lamp socket and the cord, can be replaced. As long as nothing is wrong with the socket or the wiring, using an LED light can also increase a lamp’s longevity. Fixing common issues and using long-lasting LED bulbs may allow a lamp to last several decades. However, some LED lamps only last as long as their integrated LED light bulb.
Q. Should I match my table lamp with the rest of the interior decor?
Home styling is entirely up to you. While a lamp doesn’t have to match the decor, it usually has something that helps it blend into a space, such as material, shape, or color. However, if functionality is more important, choose a lamp for its illumination.