Small distressed reading table lamp switched on, on wooden console styled with other home accessories.

The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Perfect Reading Lamp

Posted by Maisie Yerkess on

There’s nothing better than curling up with a good reading book. Especially in the winter. That is at least if you can see the page. Reading at night under pendant or wall lighting can be slightly abrasive, and doesn’t create the atmosphere that you’re looking for. We almost never have the ‘big light’ on in our home. Luckily, there are a plethora of different lighting solutions to choose between, but it can be difficult to decide which is the best reading lamp for you.

The first thing to consider when picking your perfect reading lamp is the ambiance that you want to create. With this, you’ll need to think about the room that you’re setting the lamp in, and the colour of the bulb you’ll be buying. First things first, the bulb colour; the easy part. If you want to read as to send yourself to sleep each night, opt for a warm colour tone. If you’re determined to reach your reading goals and stay awake, choose a cool or neutral tone for your reading lamp.

Now to the difficult part – selecting the perfect lamp. Regardless of the atmosphere that you want to create and which room you want to put it in, the main goal is to softly illuminate and focus specifically on one area. The size of the area however will be determined by the room that your reading lamp plans to live in.


Floor Lamps for Living Room Reading


Wooden bobbin detail floor lamp with shade.


For living room readers, otherwise known as ‘those who can’t read in bed because they’ll fall asleep’, tall floor lamps will be your perfect companion. Floor reading lamps are a great option since they provide ample lighting coverage over a large area. Perfect if you want to illuminate the sofa for two people to read.

What’s more, they also don’t require a side table to perch atop of, making them ideal for smaller rooms where you can tuck them aside a sofa.


Lighting for a Dedicated Reading Space 


Round wooden table lamp on woven side table with white shade.

Dedicated reading spaces, such as a desk or cosy reading nook can usually afford some lighting that takes up a little more space. So take the opportunity to bring some style into the area with a statement reading lamp. In a reading nook, a taller wooden table lamp on a side table will create a warm glow that covers your reading chair sufficiently. If you choose a reading lamp that’s too short, you may struggle to find a console to put it atop of which ensures that the light reaches high enough. Particularly if your side table is at perfect hands reach for your tea.



White ceramic lamp with neutral shade on wooden console.

 Pippin Rustic Lamp with Shade

However, on a desk a tall, thin lamp could overwhelm the table and open the light space up too far. To create a more condensed, but intense light for focused desk reading or work, a shorter table reading lamp would be a better choice. If you’re partial to a late night office evening, you may also want to brighten up the darker space with a lighter coloured or more neutral reading lamp.


Bedside Table Reading Lamp


Small white distressed lamp on wooden console, switched on, with diffuser and other home decor.

Toba Antique Lamp Base - Small


In a bedroom setting, you may want to opt for a lamp that offers a glow to only your side of the bed. Just because you’re awake hooked in your new novel, it doesn’t mean your partner will want to be awake too. It’s also important that your reading lamp doesn’t take up too much of your all-important bedside table space. You want enough light to read in bed, without sacrificing a spot for your bedside essentials. Think small, but effective.


Time to Choose Your Very Own Reading Lamp


Now you should know more or less how to find the good reading lamps, wherever your reading spot of choice may be in the house. The simple checklist to consider; bulb colour, location, lamp height, and desired light coverage. Of course, choose a lovely looking reading lamp too.

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