Best desk lamps for an enlightened workspace

Save your eyes from striplight tyranny and bring some design kudos to your cubicle with our edit of the best desk lamps out there

If you work in an office, the chances are that when it comes to interior design, it’s a case of function over form: open-plan spaces with identikit desk and swivel-chair combinations, white walls and carpet tiles. However, perhaps the most troublesome element of modern office design is the way these spaces are lit. Often these spaces use a combination of large windows and cornea-pummeling strip lights. Neither of these allow the average mortal at his or her desk to adjust the light strength they are working in, nor do they help ease the eyestrain you might get from working on a computer all day. Take back control by investing in a desk lamp – or more specifically one of the best desk lamps out there which can not only help bring some personality to your corner of a carbon copy workspace, but also help you work better.

To get the lowdown on how to choose the best desk lamp, we spoke to Russell Whitehead, who alongside his partner Jordan Cluroe, runs interior design company 2LG Studio from his home in London’s Forest Hill.

‘The key to good lighting when you are working is to make it adjustable and diffused,’ says Whitehead. ‘Make sure the bulb is bright enough to light your work, but not too bright to strain your eyes. Depending on the ambient light around you, the time of day and your own personal preference, there is no one size fits all solution to this. However, LED light is great to work by as it offers clean bright light and an adjustable lamp helps as you can change the brightness as and when.’

‘It’s important to position your desk light right. Put it behind your laptop so the strain on your eyes from the screen is lessened and at a height that lights the desk area you are working on, but keeps the bulb out of direct view when you are sitting at the desk. You do not want to be looking at the underside of a lamp as this will give glare.’

If you’ve got all that sorted, the rest is up to you when it comes to the design of the lamp you choose. The obvious option might be a classic black or white model, but right now designers are producing plenty of options that can bring colour to your cubicle, whether that be as a column of subtle pastel pink or a mix of eye-popping bolder shades (see: Paul Smith’s collaboration with Anglepoise). The choice is up to you – but, we say, if you’re going to be staring at your new desk addition for approximately eight hours a day, go bold or go home.

Whether you’re sitting in the corner office or out in the hustle and bustle of the main floor, here are the best desk lamps for making your workspace a friendlier – and more efficient – place.

1. Snoopy Table Lamp by Achille & Pier Giacomo Castiglioni for Flos

Three guesses why this lamp is named after arguably the world’s most famous cartoon dog (sorry, Scooby). Originally designed in the golden age of mid-Century Modernism back in 1967, this light feature is still as relevant as ever with an enamelled black metal reflector, Italian white Carrara marble stand and integral touch dimmer.


2. Albert table light by

The structure of’s metal and wood Albert desk lamp might be slim and minimal, but the four colours it’s available in take it into far bolder territory.


3. Type 75 Mini Desk Lamp – Paul Smith Edition 3 by Anglepoise

Now in its third season, what makes the Anglepoise and Paul Smith collaboration so exceptional is it brings together two titans at the top of their respective fields: tried and tested lamp design and near-legendary fashion kudos. The result has been three superbly stylish editions of the classic Type 75, but our personal favourite is the latest which brings all the colour the Dutch painter Mondrian De Stijl to your desk.


4. Biblio brass lamp by

Inspired by the lights at a New York public library, this brushed brass lamp will bring a vintage American zing to your workspace.


5. Bicoca portable table lamp by Marset

Imagined by German-born industrial designer Christophe Mathieu, this striking desk lamp is not only beautiful to look at, but also brilliantly practical. Its unique feature is that it can be charged using an in-built USB, allowing you to go wireless and take it with you wherever you need ambient light. Co-working spacers and hot deskers rejoice.


6. Clanger desk light by

For those who want a hit of Seventies style without sliding a shag rug under your desk,’s long-hooded, kahki and brass Clanger light is a winner.