Even if your desk is primarily a spot where you type on a glowing computer, we’re here to tell you that you still need a desk lamp. The reason? Having a light source can actually make you more productive: light can increase focus, and help you avoid eye strain. Desk lamps can also provide warm light to work by and are much more soothing than harsh, overhead lighting, plus they can add a touch of flair to your home office or work desk.
You can get a very basic, utilitarian desk lamp that still has a feeling of old-school charm, or you can go with something more decor-focused — either way, there are lots of affordable options. Vintage-inspired lamps can provide ample light and style to your space. Some models come in colors, and add a pop of vibrancy (or a soothing pasta or neutral) to your work space. You can even find LED lamps that fit these parameters, making them a long-lasting lighting solution.
It’s ultimately a matter of preference what works best for your desk and your space. Whatever your style and need, there are plenty of options that won’t break your budget. Here are five desk lamps we recommend.
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1. TaoTronics LED Desk Lamp
A common trait of many desk lamps is a small footprint: you don’t want a decorative table lamp taking up too much space on a surface that gets the kind of use a desk does. This cult-favorite lamp strips down the desk lamp to its bare bones to make it take up even less space, but don’t let the minimalist design fool you: this lamp can do a lot. There are seven brightness settings and five color modes, including a warm yellow light that’s great for nighttime. The head also swivels so the light, in whatever color or strength, can go in the right direction. A USB port also charges your phone and other devices close at hand.
2. AUKEY Table Lamp
This lamp takes on minimalism in a different way: its body is just a metal base that adjusts the color and brightness with touch, and a semi-opaque plastic top that lets the LED light shine through. In other words, it’s almost all light. On the brightest setting, it’s bright enough to work or read by. Turn it down, or choose a more calming color, at night. This is also a great pick for places where your office area might double as a living room or bedroom: switch it into a dimmer mode for ambient lighting when not at work.
3. LEPOWER Metal Desk Lamp
Based on vintage desk lamp silhouettes, this has been updated to the 21st century with a few great details. The contrasting copper and black make an otherwise industrial design feel stylish, and it uses long-lasting LED light bulbs. Choose between two bases: a flat base that can go anywhere or a clip-on base that can go on the edge of a desk or shelf. The clip is an especially good option for small spaces.
4. Simple Designs Antique Style Desk Lamp
The popularity of Edison light bulbs has created a wide variety of lamps where seeing the light bulb is the entire point. The clear or non-existent shades also mean you get plenty of brightness from the lamp, making them great in truly low-light areas. The otherwise minimal, industrial design also makes it a stylish option that works with a number of decors, from midcentury to farmhouse modern to eclectic. The only problem is that non-Edison bulbs will likely be too bright without the shade.
5. Simple Designs Metal Desk Lamp
Another classic desk lamp silhouette, it’s a value-driven purchase that still looks good. (Dare we say cute?) The head is adjustable, and choosing what kind of 60W lightbulb you want will also give you some control over brightness. A soft white LED 60W equivalent will keep you from straining your eyes without feeling like the lighting is too harsh.