While most of us think of task lamps as soulless, fluorescent white lights, the good news is that they don’t have to be. Task lighting can come in the form of table lamps, standing lamps, or overhead – as long as they fulfil their purpose of providing sufficient light for your work needs. When purchasing a task lamp, consider the following factors. 


Are you using this solely for work, or will it function as a reading lamp or ambient lamp as well? A multi-tasking lamp should have a dimmable function, so that you can adjust the level of lighting to your needs. It’s also important to consider the kind of work you do: those who do detail-oriented visual work, like illustration for example, may need a brighter light.

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Again, this depends on the type of work you do. Focused lighting, the kind provided by swing arm lamps for instance, is great for working on a desk. However, if you work mostly on a screen, a lamp with diffused light is less harsh on the eyes. 


Bright white LED lighting (4,600 – 6,500K) has been said to provide the same benefits as natural light, helping to improve your focus. However, the blue light present in this colour temperature range can impede your body’s natural circadian rhythm because your body is tricked into thinking it’s in the middle of the day. If you’re using the task lamp to work mostly in the evenings, consider getting a warmer colour instead (like warm white) so you can unwind more easily afterwards. 

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Table Lamps

These offer portability and are the most common option for task lamps. Choose one with a slim profile, so that it doesn’t take up too much space on your desk.

Floor Lamps

Standing lamps make a much bigger style statement since their height makes them visually dominating. These are better for more diffused lighting, or if you want to brighten a dark corner.

Time&Style Botan no Hana, price upon enquiry, from Grafunkt.

Wall Lamps

While wall lamps are space-saving, their fixed nature means that you have to plan your space and activities well. These are great for bedside reading lamps, especially when nightstand room is limited.

Petite Potence wall lamp, $1,670, from Vitra.