How Tall Should a Desk Lamp Be?

Buying a desk lamp might seem like an easy task but to get the most value for your money, there are a few things you need to consider. If you buy one without putting any thought into it, you may end up having to buy a new one later on which would be a waste of money. It may not be a very big amount but every penny saved is a penny you can use in the future.

How tall a desk lamp should be is one of the most common questions anyone can have before buying one. The short answer is that it will depend on which room you plan to put it in and your main purpose. Based on the height of the desk lamp, you will also have to look at other parts such as the shade and base size.

Knowing the ideal height of the desk lamp will help you to get more value over time as it will help to light up the place just the way you want. However, along with the height, there are a few other things you need to look for.

How Tall Should a Desk Lamp Be?

When you buy a desk lamp, it should not only provide the right amount of illumination but also needs to look like it belongs in the room.

How Tall Should a Desk Lamp be

To get the ideal height of the desk lamp, you need to do the following:

  1. Check out your eye level when sitting down in your chair. Make sure you sit in the chair that you plan to use in the foreseeable future.
  2. Ideally, the bottom of the lampshade must reach the same eye level or bottom of your eye level. If possible, keep an object in front of you where you can mark the required heights.
  3. When marking the level for the bottom part of the lampshade, make sure you don’t make it higher than your eye level. If the shade extends higher, then the glare of the bulb will keep hitting your eyes whenever you sit down to read or work and will induce strain over time.
  4. It’s also important to take into account your general sitting posture. If you tend to slouch, then when you measure the level, you have to mark it somewhere between your eye level when you slouch and sit up straight.

Now that you have marked the correct levels, you will be able to get an approximate idea of how tall you want the desk lamp to be. If you are someone who changes their posture frequently, then it would be a good idea to get an adjustable desk lamp as you will be able to change the height whenever you want. However, these lamps do tend to lose firmness in their adjustable part if you keep changing the height often.

Most desk lamps come within the range of 2 to 3 feet so there is enough difference there to buy the ideal one for your needs.

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Deciding Lamp Height Based on the Room

Desk lamps are commonly kept in your home office or den but many use them in their living room and bedrooms as well. Based on the room you plan to keep it in, there will be a few things you need to consider to get the best bang for your buck.

Living Room

Apart from making sure that the lamp fits in visually well in your living room, you need to first decide where it will be kept.

If it’s on the table near your sofa or chair, you can sit on it and check out the ideal height by ensuring that the lampshade sits either on the same level or slightly below it. If you are sitting on a sofa, then try to sit in the position you are comfortable with.

Most people have to lean forward when sitting on the sofa to read so measuring the height while sitting upright might not be accurate. Another thing to consider is the size of the base.

As tables kept in living rooms are usually small, you need a desk lamp with a wide base so that it won’t fall the moment someone bumps into it.


Buying a desk lamp for your bedroom to keep on your side table is a bit trickier as you probably won’t be sitting at the edge of the bed when you are reading a book.

Here the ideal height of the desk lamp will be based on the height of your side table. In most cases, desk lamps that are about 30 inches in height will be ideal.

 If you want to be sure of the ideal height of the desk lamp, sit or lie down on the bed in the same position you would when reading a book. Look back at the table near the bed and you will be able to get a gist of where the lampshade should end.

Unlike keeping a lamp on a normal table and chair, when it comes to side tables in your bedroom, the light will be coming from behind. If the lampshade is below the level of your book or above, you will have difficulty in reading.

The lampshade must be at a height that looks parallel to the book you are holding in your hands. 


Whenever you are trying to figure out the ideal height for your desk lamp, always make sure you sit or lie down in a comfortable position. If you slouch a lot, you can either get a desk lamp that will perfectly illuminate the area as you slouch or you can get one that will be ideal only when you sit upright. This will help you to always keep a good posture whenever you are sitting down to read or write something.

Also, keep in mind the type of bulb you will be using as well as its brightness. The safest option is LED bulbs but they tend to be less bright than other types.

If you are going to use one that isn’t very bright, then you may have to buy a lamp which will have its lampshade slightly above your eye level so that more light will reach the surface of the table.

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