Guide to Picking a Home Office Lamp


    The Purpose of an Office Lamp

    Laptop on a desk with lamp

    The primary purpose of a lamp is to provide light and add a vertical element to your desk. Various lamps are available on the market, but not every lamp is suited for your desk. When venturing out to buy a lamp, ensure that it suits your purpose and matches your aesthetic. That way, it can be functional and beautiful.

    Lamps are used in home offices for a variety of purposes. Not everyone is blessed to have a huge window lighting up their space with natural and adequate lighting. In such cases, it is necessary to have a desk lamp that will help provide ample light. Having enough light is extremely important because it prevents you from straining your eyes. Doing so can cause strain which can weaken your eyes and cause headaches.  

    Desk lamps are also called task lighting because they aim to increase productivity, and the right kind of task lighting can improve your mood. Due to this, a desk lamp is a critical element of a good home office. 

    Importance of Lighting on Workstation

    Comfortable modern home office workspace with laptop computer

    Proper lighting is essential when working on intensive tasks. It is known to facilitate all work tasks and helps reduce eye fatigue. When you have proper lighting, you can work long hours without feeling any fatigue or strain on your eyes. Due to this, you must purchase an office desk lamp with no glare or shadows. Additionally, good lighting also lowers the risk of injuries and incidents that result from momentary blindness. This phenomenon occurs when you suddenly enter bright or dark places. Since your eye is not used to those places, adjusting takes some time. 

    Different Types of Lighting

    Lamp on the desk

    There are five different types of lighting that can help brighten up your office. It is essential that you choose the correct kind of lighting for your office to help create a productivity-boosting environment. 

    Natural Lighting

    Natural lighting comes through windows and galleries during daylight hours. This kind of lighting can really help improve your mental and emotional well-being. Natural lighting is also known to reduce stress and enhance overall attitude. It is also best for working on colors as it reveals the most accurate colors. 

    Ambient Lighting 

    Ambient lighting is another name for general lighting, which provides uniform lighting all over the room. These are often in the form of ceiling lights but can also be supplied through desk lamps and wall lamps.

    Task Lighting

    Task lighting is when you use a light source to illuminate a specific area where you perform an activity. This lighting is usually provided through desk lamps.

    Accent Lighting

    Accent lighting is often used to create a specific atmosphere or to draw your attention to a particular ornament or piece of architecture. These lamps usually do not emit light well and are mainly used for aesthetic purposes.

    Different Kinds of Lamps 

    Modern workspace interior in cozy attic / loft apartment with skylight window letting the sun shine in

    There are a variety of different kinds of lamps available on the market. You can find ones differentiated based on their purpose, the type of bulb they use, etc. Here are some different kinds of desk lamps based on the bulb type they use.

    Halogen Desk Lamps

    Halogen desk lamps emit a bright light, which makes them perfect if you do a lot of reading on your desk. The kind of light they offer is often bright and natural, which allows you to focus easily on tiny texts. Additionally, the bright white light of halogen lamps reduces eye strain, allowing you to work for longer.

    These lamps are long-lasting and will last 2 to 3 times longer than a regular bulb. They also use 10 to 20% less energy than a standard light bulb.

    Full-Spectrum Desk Lamp

    A full-spectrum desk lamp is excellent for when you want to accurately see the colors on your screen. These lamps cover the entire electromagnetic spectrum from infrared to ultraviolet, allowing you to see the colors exactly how they are. In that sense, they are much like the sun because sunlight also covers the entire electromagnetic spectrum. Full-spectrum desk lamps also offer visual sharpness that helps increase workplace productivity. 

    Incandescent Desk Lamps

    Incandescent desk lamps use a typical light bulb, which produces light using the heat of the filament that burns inside the bulb. Such lamps give off a warm and yellowish glow, making them perfect for evenings. Incandescent lamps are cheaper than other lamps but also have short lives as the bulb fuses quickly.

    Fluorescent Desk Lamps

    Fluorescent desk lamps are quite popular and come in various shapes and styles. This means that you have ample options and can pick one that fits your space best. These lamps emit even lighting and help illuminate your desk with natural-looking light.

    Fluorescent bulbs are also highly efficient as they can last much longer than traditional ones. Additionally, they also give off only 30% of their heat, meaning they are eco-friendly. 

    LED Desk Lamps

    LED desk lamps produce the least heat among all the different types. They use LED bulbs, which produce directional light and create a concentrated light beam. Such lamps do not provide natural lighting and are used primarily to illuminate certain spots. Due to them being directional, LED lamps prevent glare and create a comfortable working environment. 

    LED desk lamps come in various designs, allowing you to choose a lamp that will best fit the aesthetics of your home office space. These lamps are also designed to last up to 50,000 hours, meaning that you can use them for years. Their longevity also means they are pricier, but they are also cost-effective as they reduce your electricity bill. 

    Factors To Consider

    Modern home office with laptop computer mockup

    When purchasing a desk lamp for your home office, it is essential to choose the right one. The right kind of lamp can be instrumental in helping reduce headaches and eye strain and improve concentration. With the correct light, you will be able to work a lot more comfortably, regardless of whether it is day or night outside.

    Purchasing a suitable lamp can be a bit troublesome because a large variety is available. To pick the best one, you need to keep the following factors in mind. 

    Consider Your Lighting Placement

    The most important consideration is the placement of your lamp. Before purchasing the lamp, deciding where you will be placing it is essential. Knowing the placement helps give you an idea of the size and kind of lamp you will need. You should also consider glare and how to eliminate it. Ensure the lamp you choose directs the lights upwards, as it helps distribute the light evenly. Sources of direct light create shadows, leading to an unhealthy focus on the area lit up. By having indirect lighting, you will have illumination in an even layer. This will help reduce glare and offer ergonomic office lighting. 

    How Much Light Do You Need

    Low illumination can often cause eye strain and headaches, which can be uncomfortable to deal with. So, you should ensure that your desk lamp is bright enough. Most lamps measure light distribution in two ways, either through foot candles or through lumens. Foot candles are a unit of measurement for illumination, and the most suitable range for desk lamps is between 30 to 50-foot candles.

    Lumens measure the light output, and commonly desk lamps emit around 1000 to 1400 lumens. Some lamps also offer the option to control the illumination through a high/low switch. Suppose you prefer to have different levels of illumination throughout the day. In that case, you should opt for lamps that allow you to do so.

    Power Source

    Desk lamps come in corded and cordless types. Corded desk lamps are the most common type, and they use cords to plug into a regular socket. Cordless desk lamps are also available, which can be recharged through a rechargeable USB port. Suppose you want something even more convenient that you can use even during a power outage. In that case, you should go for a battery-powered desk lamp. The only downside is that they require batteries, which you will need to replace from time to time. 

    The kind of lamp you purchase is also dictated by whether or not you have a power source nearby. If you do not, buying a rechargeable or battery-powered desk lamp is best. Rechargeable and battery-powered lamps are cordless, making them easy to move around. They also do not clutter up your desk with their wires.

    The Base

    The base of your lamp is an essential consideration because it allows you to adjust the lighting of your lamp throughout the day. A large base ensures that your lamp is stabilized, and no matter which direction you move the base in, it will remain stable. 

    You should ensure that the base of your lamp is large but not too much. Otherwise, you will have trouble fitting it on your desk. Ideally, your lamp should not take over your desk and leave you ample space to work on it. 

    Balancing Between Bright and Dim

    When purchasing a desk lamp for your home office, you must keep your comfort in mind. Do not purchase a bright or dim lamp just because it is trendy. Dim lights can adversely affect your eyes and cause strain, which can lead to headaches. On the other hand, too bright of a light can wash out the images you are working on, which can be a problem if color accuracy is crucial for your line of work. 

    You should consider the kind and intensity of light depending on the room. You should not purchase a brightly lit lamp if the room is brightly lit. On the other hand, if the lighting in your room is dull, opt for a lamp that has a brighter bulb. 

    Sometimes bright LED lamps become too bright, and you may feel uncomfortable. In such situations, you must have a light diffuser that allows you to control the intensity of the light. 

    The Height

    The height of your desk lamp affects the distribution of the light across your work surface. Due to this, you should ensure that the lamp you purchase is neither too tall nor too short. The ideal height of lamps is around 26 to 34 inches tall.

    The best way to discern the best height for your lamp is to sit beside it in your home office desk chair. The bottom of the lampshade should be at the same level as your eyes and not higher. Ensure it is not higher. Otherwise, there may be a glare.

    The Light Bulbs

    The bulb that your lamp uses is an essential factor to consider. There are many different kinds of lamp bulbs, and you should choose one that best fits your needs. The lumens or brightness of the lamp is how bright the lamp is. If you need a bright lamp for detailed work, choose one with a higher lumen rating. 

    Some light sources are designed to reveal the true colors of the illuminated objects. If color rendering index or color accuracy is essential, if you work with colors, you need a light that will not distort colors. In this case, you should choose an LED bulb, as they emit a broad spectrum of colors. 

    The size of your bulb is also an important consideration. Still, you may be limited by how large your bulb can be depending on the radius of the shade. The wattage is also an essential consideration as it depicts the electrical energy the bulb needs to generate light. 


    If you are in the market for a desk lamp, ensure you purchase one that allows you to adjust it. These lamps are excellent at allowing you to work on various projects that require certain areas of your desk to be lit up. They also help minimize glare. Other adjustability features include swing arms, swivel heads, and more.

    The On-Off Switch Position

    An on-and-off switch is essential for a lamp and is instrumental in a corded lamp, as you don’t want to unplug it when you are not using it. On and off switches come in various styles. Some have basic buttons, while others have pull chains. 

    Swing Arm

    A swing arm in a desk lamp allows you to adjust the lamp into whatever configuration you want. This feature is a must in home office lamps as it will enable you to direct the light in whichever direction to want. You can also bring it close to the desk if you are working on something intricate and want more light on it as you work. 

    Desk Lamp Materials

    Desk lamps are made using various materials, and you often have a lot of variety to choose from. Paying attention to the material that your desk lamps are made of is crucial. This is because it can influence your desk’s overall look. The material of your lamp is also connected directly to the quality and durability of the lamp.

    Desk Lamp Material Use
    Wood Wood has the most casual and natural look. They look best on wooden desks, have a sleek and contemporary style, and are generally pretty easy to find.
    Metal Metal lamps are sleek and stylish, giving off a utilitarian vibe. You can choose a bronze, chrome, or brushed steel lamp for a more sophisticated look. If you want a durable lamp, look for a desk lamp made of plastic but coated with metal.
    Plastic Plastic lamps are the most affordable lamps. They come in various colors and often look cheap.
    Glass Glass lamps are the most delicate lamps and are not very practical. Often glass lamps are complemented by metal to make them look sophisticated.
    Ceramic Ceramic is often not used to make desk lamps, but it is combined with other materials as an accent feature.
    Resin Resin lamps are gorgeous statement pieces that can elevate the look of your desk. These are incredibly eye-catching, and you can mold them into various shapes as well. Resin also allows you to dye it, so you can easily match it to your office.


    How many lumens is suitable for a desk lamp?

    When purchasing a desk lamp for your office, ensure that it is neither too dim nor too bright. 450-lumen lamps are ideal for many as it is sufficient for most tasks you would do on your desk, like reading, writing, and more. If you plan on doing more intricate tasks, you may want to check out an 80 to 1100-lumen desk lamp.

    What should I look for when buying a desk lamp?

    If you are in the market for a desk lamp, ensure that you purchase one that is adjustable, bright enough, has a broad base, and has the kind of lightbulbs you prefer.

    Are LED desk lamps better?

    LED desk lamps are often favored because they are energy efficient and do not produce much heat. They also have a long lifespan and allow you to control the color temperature. 


    A home office lamp is crucial for your productivity and the health of your eyes. If you do not have a lamp with the perfect lighting, it could have a lot of adverse effects. You could suffer from eye strain and headaches. On the other hand, you need to be comfortable when working to increase productivity. If your home office chair is uncomfortable and your desk lamp is too bright, you will most likely have trouble concentrating. 

    Home office lamps also add a vertical element to your desk and are an excellent desk accessory to make your space look more inviting and aesthetic.  

    To ensure that you purchase the right lamp, focus on the adjustability, the base, the lumens, the materials, and the balance between dim and bright that the lamp offers. 

    You may also read our Under-the-Stairs Home Office Setup post for more tips and recommendations when it comes to setting up a home office.


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