As the days get shorter and natural light becomes more and more scarce, it’s time to take the reins from Mother Nature and do a little illuminating of your own.
Gentle pops of colour in the home create a warming atmosphere. Whether it’s while you’re unwinding in front of the telly, or toiling at your desk on WFH days, good lighting is key.
The good news is that there are myriad ways to lift the gloom. A table or desk lamp can act as an accent, bathing a small area in a cosy glow.
There are literally thousands of lamps out there to brighten up the atmos in your living room, kitchen, office or studio. You can get them in every style under the sun, from minimal designs that fade into the background when not in use, to statement pieces destined to hog the spotlight.
Whether you want to work better, dine in more style or boost your night-time mood, we’ve found the best desk and table lamps you can buy right now.
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IKEA Forsa Lamp
Now, let’s be honest: there are some things made by the Swedish uber-brand that people like because they are lovely, and there are others they like because they are really, really cheap. And sometimes, like the Forsa lamp, they are both.
This is solid, shiny and has that classic 20th-century design vibe: if you lined it up against a few rather more expensive lamps, there wouldn’t be a heck of a difference. It bends, twists, tilts and does everything else expected of it.
There are black, white and silver options, but the brass version is the nicest. If your budget is small but your tastes are large, this is your fist-punching-the-air solution.
Buy now £22.00, Amazon
Tala Knuckle Table Lamp in Walnut with Voronoi
They seem to be everywhere; those light bulbs with the cool-looking filaments in every other London restaurant and hotel. Well, this beauty outshines them with a giant, molten globule of a bulb, about the size of a small melon. Just move around this and the LED spiral filament reflects and refracts through the misshapen wobble of glass in a beguiling dazzle. It’s also finely dimmable so you can dial up the perfect atmosphere.
The responsibly sourced (and minimal waste) walnut and satin-finish brass base is a classy, satisfyingly weighty showcase for the light show, while you also get a long, top quality braided cable.
At dinner, beside your bed or in a cosy corner of your living room, this is your elegant new companion.
Buy now £160.00, John Lewis
Hay PC Double Arm with Table Base Lamp
You want something by a garlanded designer; a winner of designer of the year at Paris’s esteemed interiors trade fair Maison & Objet, no less. Then say helllo to Pierre Charpin.
The designer has created a precisely functional and refined task lamp here featuring what he describes as ‘no aesthetic overload’. So out go visually busy coil springs and in come internal gas springs, which hold the arm and head firmly in exactly the position you want them.
Charpin’s clean lines allows for subtle visual flourishes like the elegant lamp head. The LED light source itself provides a smooth, wide wash of pure light – which a touch dimmer – which is superb for doing exacting work. And we love the thoughtful little touches such as the mini arm for adjusting the head.
Buy now £355.00, Clippings
Lumio Teno in Lava Black
It is a bowl; is it a lamp; or is it something else entirely? Naturally, it’s all three. The exquisite Teno begins as an imperfect sculpture with a fissure down the middle, but the crack slides apart to reveal a softly glowing lamp; fully opened, it becomes a portable Bluetooth speaker too.
Inspired by kintsugi, the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery, it’s pure design genius and has already won multiple awards. And the Teno is wonderfully intuitive to use too; just slide your finger across the textural sand surface to control volume and brightness.
Buy now £295.00, The Conran Shop
Oliver Bonas Leopard Green Velvet Shade Desk & Table Lamp
The opulence of gold, the touchy-feely allure of velvet, the prowess of a big cat, this lamp pulls no punches. And at an imposing 60cm tall, it will demand space to shine. It’s just a beautifully evocative piece: conjuring rich images of an explorer’s parlour or an exotic boudoir.
Depending on the power of the bulb you use, it can also pump out enough light to fill a room. It also comes with a classy 2m-long fabric cord (plastic on this would be a travesty). Oliver Bonas describes this as ‘contemporary’, but we think it packs a gorgeously decadent hit of vintage too.
Buy now £135.00, Oliver Bonas
Classic British Lighting Bankers Table Lamp
At its factory in East Anglia, Classic British Lighting hand-makes perfect examples from the heyday of early electric lighting. Instant vintage, if you like.
This hefty bankers lamp is built from solid brass that will develop a ‘living vintage’ patina over time, but it’s the delicious green hue of the translucent shade that we love the most. If you have an uncanny feeling you’ve seen this lamp before, that will be because CBL are the last remaining manufacturer of these lights and get frequent requests from period film sets – Stanley Tucci’s endearing face was lit up by the one on his desk in the most recent Kingsman film.
Buy now £249.95, Classic British Lighting
Anglepoise Original 1227 Desk Lamp National Trust Edition
Anglepoise’s buttermilk yellow version is the second collaboration following the National Trust sage green collection. First launched in 1935, the 1227 is pretty much the same as it ever was and it has lost none of its shine, appealing to both vintage and modern sensibilities.
It remains an awesome task lamp, with ingenious springs and arms flexing just where you need them. And you’re obviously the type of person who doesn’t want to lose any of our modernist treasures, so luckily Anglepoise is donating at least £20,000 from the venture to The Homewood, a 1930s villa in Surrey now cared for by the NT. Win-win-win, we say.
Buy now £259.00, John Lewis
IKEA Frekvens Lamp
If you’re bored with light just, well, doing nothing but shining, the Frekvens will inject kinetic joy into your space. Designed for IKEA by Teenage Engineering (better known for making natty little synthesizers), this baby pumps out a choice of seven different light patterns on its LED grid that will dance in time to your music – heck, it was sensitive enough to react to the sound of me crunching my granola. If you want to go full-on stadium show, you can attach multiple units together for a mini spectacular. This is a little package of fun, cubed.
Buy now £35.00, IKEA
Habitat Jean Colour Block Desk Lamp
Habitat may seem expensive, but there are some great pieces for those shopping on a bduget. See this lamp: same excellent design but at an affordable £35.
The dinky Jean pops with classic modernist colours (even the braided cord comes in sky blue), there’s attention to detail in that funky conical shade, and it’s all reassuringly robust. It also twists and turns like a proper desk lamp, so is ideal for drawing up those late-night masterplans. If it’s all looking a little too beige and vanilla at home, this is your instant fix.
Buy now £35.00, Habitat
Lodes Easy Peasy Lamp in Chestnut
Venice-based Lodes has been crafting ‘Made in Italy’ lamps for more than 70 years and the Easy Peasy ticks all the quintessential boxes: delicately sculptural, gorgeous use of glass, a flirty personality. A clean column of light surrounded by a glass bell, it’s clever simplicity too. Portable, rechargeable, dimmable by twisting the glass knob on the top, it’s another put-it wherever-you-like lamp.
Buy now £274.42, Light Shopping
Hay Pao Portable Lamp
A collaboration between Danish Hay and award-winning designer Naoto Fukasawa means you get a double-whammy of Scandi-Japanese style.
This cute red lamp is modelled on traditional Mongolian pao tents to recreate the cosy night-time glow of light shining through canvas. We love the super-glossy red finish, while the mellow light (with three dimming settings) is diffused downwards from beneath the lamp’s brim.
Best of all, its powered by a rechargeable battery, so you can take it with you wherever you need a little light. It’s not super-bright, so it won’t flood your space in an ocean of light, but you’re guaranteed a homely luminescent lift to your mood when you turn this on.
Buy now £127.00, Smallable
Pablo Designs Talia Table Lamp
Boasting maximum function, minimal form – and an equally slender footprint on your table – the Talia lamp is a little beauty. With a flat LED panel of clean white light emitted from a sleek slab resembling an iPhone, it’s no surprise to discover Pablo Designs originates from California.
Besides the elegantly pared down aesthetic in black, white and grey variations, this is a hard-working desk companion brimming with features. The light swivels 180 degrees, while the arm will do a full 360. It also has two charging options for devices: USB or simply place your phone on the base for a wireless charge that’s powerful enough to work through a case.
Buy now £178.50, Arredare