22 Desk Lamps That Might Actually Get You Excited to Work
Mushroom-shaped, wicker, and everything in between.
Updated Sep 11, 2023 12:02 PM
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Our philosophy is that if your WFH desk is beautiful, the work you create will likely be, too (even if that just means a slightly more elegant spreadsheet). One of the fastest, simplest ways to make your area more stylish is by simply upgrading your desk lamp. Proper task lighting gives you the ability to work whenever inspiration strikes and will be a statement piece. But if the idea of online shopping for your office makes you yawn, we’ve got you: These are the 22 best desk lamps across a spectrum of styles and price points. With these pieces, you won’t need to burn the candle at both ends—or be left in the dark.
Adjustable Desk Lamps
With just a little rotation, many of these utilitarian picks can shift from a spotlight on your keyboard to an ambient upward glow. They bring a scholastic vibe that, in our opinion, encourages wildly productive work sessions. And if your lengthy to-do list gets you down, the rainbow colors of Anglepoise’s mini desk lamp are guaranteed to boost your spirits.
Nontraditional Desk Lamps
If adjustable task lamps are the most standard style, then consider these the complete opposite. From a powder-coated steel sheet base inspired by Luis Barragán Morfin’s architecture to oversize dimmable bulbs, they’re ideal for those seeking something a little more unconventional.
Modern Mushroom Desk Lamps
The ’70s are inarguably in vogue, and no article channels the groovy decade like a mushroom lamp. Offering a more even glow than your typical task lamp, these can move around your home as you redecorate, topping everything from a nightstand to a console. We’re especially crushing on &Tradition’s flowerpot design; the rare pale sand hue borders on butter yellow.
Multifunctional Desk Lamps
Desk lamps can help you see the task at hand, but that’s just the start of what these offer. IKEA’s doubles as a Sonos speaker, Lulu and Georgia’s has a USB outlet, and Crate & Barrel’s and DWR’s are charging pads. Warning: These might ruin all other table lamps for you.
Super-Natural Desk Lamps
Some metal desk lamps can feel a little cold, but these are sure to bring a heavy dose of warmth (not to mention coastal grandma) to your workspace. Wicker shades also happen to diffuse the light beautifully, making for a moody glow.
Pro Tips for Styling a New Desk Lamp
- Accessorize with art: A poster or painting hung above your desk will help balance the height of your lamp and provide a nonscreen visual for your eyes to rest on.
- Mix and match: Consider the material or color of your lamp and make sure there’s at least one other item on your desk that mirrors it, like an aluminum light paired with a metal pencil cup.
- Know your angles: Place your lamp opposite your writing hand so you won’t cast a shadow across your work.
Our Shopping Checklist
Brightness and Wattage
When it comes to lighting, you really just need to know the difference between watts and lumens. The higher the number of lumens, the brighter the light. The higher the wattage, the more power the bulb uses. Look for energy-efficient LEDs or CFL (compact fluorescent) bulbs, which use low wattage while giving off high lumens, ideal for a well-lit desktop area.
Trends may come and go, but when choosing a light, “it’s important to have a beautiful object you’ll like for many years and one that can serve multiple needs,” says Line Borella of Danish design studio Hay. Don’t just picture how this lamp will look on your current desk; also envision how it will grow with you and fit into your next space. And make sure the lamp of your dreams also functions the way you need it to. A simple way to assess this is to consider the two main parts of a lamp: the body and the shade. A stationary body can look more elegant, while an adjustable body provides more range and flexibility. If the shade is opaque, it will provide focused, downward light to a consistent area, while a translucent shade (either fabric or frosted glass) will cast diffused light in all directions.
It turns out you don’t have to be a tech wiz or electrician to outfit your home with smart lighting; just add a smart plug or smart bulb. Connect your light to a smart plug (which fits in any standard outlet) and you can control your lamp from your smartphone with an app like Apple HomeKit or via another connected device like Amazon Alexa or Google Home. You’ll be able to turn lights on and off no matter what room you’re in or even put your lights on a timer when you’re not around. Want to have some fun and be able to change the color of your light? Pick up a smart bulb and you’ll have a rainbow of hues to choose from based on the time of day and the mood you’re in.
How We Vetted These Products
Every product in a Domino guide meets these criteria:
- They blend form and function. We believe the best-designed products reflect your personal style and are a joy to use.
- They’re expert approved. In addition to our team of editors, we tap a range of designers, makers, renovators, and all-around knowledgeable people to share their intel.
- They’re endorsed by people who actually own them. We pay close attention to real reviews from both our creative community and third-party websites to know that they pass the test IRL.