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Designer FAQs: Desk Lamps & Desk Lights
Where should I set up my desk lamp? How tall should it be?
A desk light sits on your desk to illuminate tasks like reading, writing, and working on a computer. In general, we like to set up desk lamps on the opposite side of your dominant hand. To limit glare, we recommend that the bottom of your desk lamp’s shade should be no higher than eye level with you.
Here are some more specific ideas:
- For smaller writing desks, a petite desk light like our Denten desk lamp can light up your space without overwhelming your desktop.
- If you frequently shift between looking up at a monitor and down at a notebook, or sometimes use a standing desk, try an articulating desk lamp like our Macie pharmacy task lamp.
- A larger desk gives you more freedom to make a design statement with accent lighting, like our bold Farida alabaster desk lamp.
Want a quick preview of how one of our desk lamps will look in your workspace? Try our EA inHome® app.
Do desk lamps give off much light?
How much light your desk lamp gives off depends on which style you choose:
- If you’re looking for more of a warm glow over your entire workspace, we recommend a full-size shaded accent light like our Milania tripod desk lamp.
- If you need desk lighting for something specific, like writing, choose a banker- or pharmacy-style lamp with an opaque shade that provides directional lighting. One example is our Wesley brass pharmacy lamp.
If your home office is part of another room like your bedroom or living room, a desk lamp is likely enough light for you. But, if you have a dedicated office space, you’ll need more than just one lamp to fully light the room.
Because these are such functional spaces, we always recommend having a variety of lighting types in a home office. Mix and match desk lights with floor lamps, wall sconces, or even chandeliers to illuminate your space in the way that works for you.
I work at a computer. What desk lighting is best for your eyes?
When shopping for light bulbs, look for LED bulbs with packaging that indicates they replace 100W incandescent bulbs or give off more than 1250 lumens of light. This amount of brightness is best for maintaining focus while you work.
When you think about light color, look for your bulbs’ temperature. Temperature is a measurement of light color from warm to cold. Measured in Kelvin—abbreviated K—higher Kelvin measurements indicate cooler light. A light bulb’s temperature has no impact on its brightness.
Our designers prefer a slightly cool hue when lighting home offices. Light on the cooler or bluer side—over 4000K—sends signals from your eyes to your brain that it’s time for focus and stay alert.
If you’re worried about the blue light from your computer monitor, feel free to go a little warmer with your home office lighting. Bulbs of 2700K mimic the warm glow of incandescent light, while 3000K offers a brighter-looking warm alternative.
For more tips about choosing and sizing desk lamps and more, read our lighting buying guide.
Speaking of computers, how should I light my desk for video calls?
If you need a lamp nearby and know you’re going to be on camera often, choose office lighting with these tips in mind:
- Fabric shades are better at diffusing light. Diffused light has a softer, more ambient glow that floods a space instead of pointing at a single point.
- Ensure that your office lighting is balanced—think of a floor lamp on one side of you and a desk lamp on the other—to minimize shadows on your face.
- Choose light bulbs with a temperature that best matches daylight. We recommend LED bulbs with a temperature of 4000K to 6000K for a natural light look.
A beautifully designed desk lamp can look great as part of your home office even if the light it casts doesn’t really enhance your video call look. Switch it off during your calls and clip a functional ring light to your monitor—you’ll still get plenty of compliments for your beautiful accent lamp.
Does my desk lamp need to match my other lights?
It can! Our designers also love to use a different style of lamp on desks to turn the tabletop into a stylish vignette; because of their smaller scale, a desk lamp is a fun way to add something unique to your décor.
Here are some ways our designers decorated with desk lamps:
- A petite modern desk lamp in a brass finish adds a modern touch to this country home office.
- A brass banker’s lamp coordinates with the gold-tone metal finishes in this glam office.
- A crystal accent lamp effortlessly creates an airy vibe in this neutral home office.
Do you have more questions? Click the Designer Chat icon, or contact your local Design Center—we’re happy to help!