10 Best Desk Lamps

Here, as part of the August updates is my round up of the 10 best desk lamps.  A desk lamp is not to be confused with a table lamp. Unless you want it to be and I have included a couple of table lights here as it doesn’t always have to be an angled, articulate, work type thing. Sometimes you just want a lamp. On the desk. Giving light. Anyway, you can make your own minds up as here, without further ado (well a little bit of fanfare and razamatazz) are the 10 Best Desk Lamps.



Holloways of Ludlow

jielde desk lights from holloways of ludlow as seen at
jielde desk lights from holloways of ludlow as seen at

When we converted the loft we knew the ceiling would be too low for a pendant light. Instead I wanted to have long arm wall lights which, I figured, we could swing out in any direction we wanted. From there it was a short step to the matching desk light. These are by Jielde and I love a) the rounded shape and the chunky elbow hinge and b) that they are not quite as ubiquitous as the Anglepoise (see below). Designed in 1950 by Jean Luc Domecq (who used his initials to inspire the name) these lights are still made in Lyon, where where they were invented, and each one is numbered. You can still pick up vintage ones if you search and they all come in lots of different colours.



vetro table lamp from
vetro table lamp from

Sometimes you don’t need a fancy angling lamp. Especially if your desk has to double up as a dressing table or lives in a corner of the sitting room. This is utterly simple and affordable and I rather like the way it nods at you. You could have the floor version tucked in a corner by the end of the desk too if you preferred.



cox and cox

ankur green desk lamp from cox and cox
ankur green desk lamp from cox and cox

Green, it’s coming so get ready. I have often noted in the 10 Beautiful Rooms series how a green industrial lamp can really bring a space to life. It brings a touch of something unexpected and there is something about that particular shade of vintage green that works beautifully in a slightly industrial or modern rustic space. This light, and this colour, is one to watch I reckon.



Johnny Egg

flock light by johnny egg
flock light by johnny egg

Another light that isn’t strictly speaking a desk lamp but with its vintage bulb that won’t hurt your eyes it can certainly double up as one. I have been a big fan of Johnny Egg for years and this is from his new collection. You can choose any colour you want – I love the olive green and grey versions – and there is also a small round version. I could be tempted to have one of each at either end of a long desk. Or, to go off message for a moment – on either side of the bed.



French Connection

soapstone base black desk lamp from french connection
soapstone base black desk lamp from french connection

The French Connection home collection is always strong. I can’t speak for their clothes since I don’t have any, but when it comes to homewares they are, to coin a phrase, nailing it. Lots of angle, lots of attitude and a fabulous dark grey shade. Wondering if I need another desk now.



anglepoise 1227 the original and the classic desk lamp
anglepoise 1227 classic desk lamp

The original, and, some may say, still the best. A design classic that came about by accident by a chap who worked in a car factory (you can read about in in my series here) it is beautifully made and every time I see and touch one I am reminded of that. I had a yellow one as my first ever bedside light. I took it to university with me and have a feeling I tried to paint it blue at one point. Sadly I didn’t know about spray paints at the time and it never recovered. I don’t know what became of it and I don’t own one at all now. It feels like the sort of light that the 15yo should have as he prepares for his GCSEs this year.


The Bouroullec Brothers for Flos



piani table light by the bouroullec brothers for flos
piani table light by the bouroullec brothers for flos

I don’t know about you but I have never liked those classic green glass desk lights – the banker’s lamp – but this, which is clearly reminiscent of the original, pleases me enormously. It’s a modern take on the old version and the gently glowing olive green is gorgeous. It comes other colours – red, black and white, which I like less – and you can use the base for pens, paperclips and all those bits of stuff that accumulate on desks.



Graham and Green

victor brass cross desk lamp from graham and green
victor brass cross desk lamp from graham and green

I have included this one because it’s quite a clever design. Firstly, the problem with many traditional lamps is that the shade takes up masses of room so the base has to be miles from the corner. But this one has been made with the shade off centre so you can stick it in the corner of the desk and the shade will be taller – certainly than a lap top, you might need to measure if you work from a full size computer. Secondly the base is also smaller so that it takes up less space and can also fit back into the corner. Clever. If you like a traditional lampshade then look out for something like this to save yourself precious desk space.




barometer nickel ikea desk lamp as seen at
barometer nickel ikea desk lamp

We’ve had this desk lamp for a few years now and I still love it. If I can make a bold prediction, I think there will start to be be slight shift away from copper and brass towards the end of this year and people return to silver. Chrome still looks cold and old but this, which is nickel plated, is a lovely warm silver and looks fabulous against the green which we are now seeing everywhere. Plus £30, why not? It also comes in a floor version which, if your desk is freestanding, is a great idea as you can stand it next to the table and free up space.



House Junkie

wood and brass desk lamp from housejunkie
wood and brass desk lamp from housejunkie

Now, clearly brass won’t disappear straight away so don’t panic. This is another light I have had for a long time. Unfortunately I can’t show it to you in a desk situation because it is near the television and I was being SO clever by hiding all the tv, sky box, dvd plugs etc behind a false panel that this one got hidden as well. That’s not to say I can’t move it but it means faffing about for ages and rebooting the internet and all sorts so, er I didn’t. Let’s call it a shot to show you how versatile this lamp is. Which it is. The clamp means you can fix it to the back or edge of the desk or table. It swivels in all directions and it has a sort of grown up industrial style. Still one of my favourites.


So there you have it. A selection of 10 best desk lights. I make no apologies for including some that I own because, well that’s why I think they’re the best! Which ones do you like?

By the way – I have been reading through your suggestions to improve the blog and you can look forward to the first ever guest poster either next week or the week after – depending on how quickly he can type…. I think (and hope) you will like him…..

Kate Watson-Smyth

The author Kate Watson-Smyth

I’m a journalist who writes about interiors mainly for The Financial Times but I have also written regularly for The Independent and The Daily Mail. My house has been in Living Etc, HeartHome and featured in The Wall Street Journal & Corriere della Sera. I also run an interior styling consultancy Mad About Your House. Welcome to my Mad House.


  1. I really like the brass clamp on one and would be interested in your thoughts on this… We are getting two kitchen shelves put up in our kitchen and I’m really keen to have a light on it – to highlight the pretty things I will put on the shelf and reduce shadow on the countertop below – but my husband hates the idea of there being a power cable hanging down the wall, so is currently saying no to any lamp at all :(. My personal feelings on this are that a visible cable isn’t ideal, but if its a nice fabric covered one, not going a huge distance and a similar colour to the wall, it’s ok and better than the dark alternative. I’ve looked for nice battery powered lamps, but can’t find anything, do you know of any?



    1. So the one answer is that you could chase the cable into the wall so that you don’t see it. You could also have a socket put in slightly above the shelf so that the socket is hidden by the lamp – if you put in a double then you could also have a radio on the shelf as well. It’s one of those jobs that feels like a pain as you will need to call in an electrician (I assume) and make good the wall afterwards, but it’s one of those things that you might appreciate every single day once it’s done. Otherwise, yes a fabric cable is the next best thing – you could have a real statement one – gold or neon orange or something that makes a statement rather than trying to hide itself and apologise for being there. Because, Finally, I am not aware of nice battery lights. I wrote about this kickstarterproject last year Edi, the first rechargeable, portable floor lamp but a) it’s a floor lamp and b)it’s not finished yet so mine hasn’t arrived. I am hoping it will come soon and, if successful, they might graduate to table lamps but you will need a quicker solution than that. I hope one of these will help. XK

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