Where To Place Your Desk Lamp - The Ultimate Guide - Looney Lumens (2023)

The placement of a desk lamp is more important than you may think.

It will save your eye health in the long run and help you work more efficiently. With home lighting design in mind, we will coverwhere to place your desk lampfor optimal lighting when working or reading.

Now let’s dive into some common questions that occur when choosing where to place your desk lamp in your home or office.

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How To Maximize the Light For Your Desk Lamp

Unlike overhead lighting that illuminates the entire room with ceiling lights, light from desk lamps is usually directed towards a specific focal point like a book, keyboard, or work papers on your desk space.

Consider the following desk lamp tips:

Tip #1: Look For a Desk Lamp With Adjustable Angles

The reason to look for a lamp with adjustable angles is for greater lighting customization. With an adjustable arm, swivel or neck, you’ll be able to simply point the beam wherever you need the light at that moment without having to pick up and move the lamp.

Tip #2: Find the Right Size Desk Lamp for the Situation

Desks only have a certain amount of space, and most of that is needed for the activity the desk is being used for, like art, writing, or working. You’ll want to make sure you choose a big enough lamp that will give you enough light to work with but won’t take up too much space. Another alternative is choosing a lamp that clips onto the edge of the desk instead of sitting on top; this can save you precious workspace.

Tip #3: Understand That Placement Is Key

Placing your lamp on a particular side of the desk can impact glare and shadows. For example, if you are right-handed, place your lamp on the left side and vice versa; this will help you avoid annoying shadows. When using a computer, you’ll want to point the beam on the keyboard to ease eye strain yet away from the screen as it will create a pesky glare.

What Is the Best Lighting Position for a Computer Desk?

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The best lighting position for a computer desk is one that illuminates your keyboard, notebook, and mouse but does not shine directly on the screen or into your eyes where it will obscure your vision–we all wanted to avoid that dread glare.

For these purposes, we recommend an adjustable desk lamp like in the picture above as you can easily move the direction of the beam when needed.

You can also check out our article about how many lumens are ideal for a desk lamp for the perfect amount of brightness.

Where To Place Your Desk Lamp for Reading

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Nothing beats the joys of reading, except when you have terrible lighting!

Not only is poor lighting when reading bothersome, but it makes it harder to see the words. It can also be highly detrimental to your eye health in the long run.

So, where is the best position for your lamp when reading at night? Here are some helpful tips as to where to place your lamp for reading:

Place the desk lamp next to your shoulder and the lampshade at the same height as your head. This will help illuminate your book but reduce glare into your eyes.

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Understand that one standard desk lamp will light up 40-50 square feet.

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Mitigate shadows and dark spaces with multiple lamps. Perfect for relatively bigger desks.

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Where To Place Your Desk Lamp in Your Home Office

Your home office is another area of the house where you’ll want to pay close attention to the lighting. Here are some general rules of thumb when it comes to choosing office lighting:

  • Assess the natural light in your office for daytime work. Natural light is easier on your eyes and can be more pleasant
  • Use overhead lighting to help fill the space but don’t rely on it as the only light source as it can create hinder some shadows that can affect your workflow
  • Add a task light to your desk, like seen above, to illuminate your immediate workspace
  • Task lighting will help you see your work surface better, especially when writing, typing, or drawing
  • Use ambient light to set the mood for your office; this could be a soft white light or add some color to set the tone
  • Number one rule: stay away from fluorescent lighting. It can cause migraines, and fatigue and is overall unpleasant

Where Should I Place My Desk Lamp When I Have a Computer Monitor?

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The best place to put your desk lamp when using a screen is next to your computer with the beam pointing toward your keyboard or notebook. This will help to reduce glare and improve workflow due to having an optimal amount of light.

Where Should I Place My Lamp on a Desk With Two Monitors?

To avoid uneven lighting, shadows, and of course glare, it is recommended to use a swing arm desk lamp. These type of desk lamps distribute the light evenly across your desk but doesn’t point the light toward your monitors.

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You’ll want to place your swing arm desk lamp next to your monitor with the beam pointed towards your work area on the desk. The photo above gives a good representation of where to place the lamp.

Should the Light Source Be in Front or Behind My Computer?

Both in front and behind can be a problem for your computer screen.

Bright light in front of your monitors can shine directly in your eyes and create glare, shadows, and contrast issues. Although, if not too bright, a natural light source from a window in front of you can be nice, plus a lovely view can help with your daily mood.

In reverse, a light behind you can create glare shining directly on the screen, making it hard to see.

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It is recommended that the light source is from a mixture of natural lighting, overhead lights, and a lamp located next to the monitors or screen. By doing this, you will create even lighting in your workspace.

If you need help deciding which lamps will work best for your office or work area, then check out these helpful guides we’ve created:

  • Best lamps for drawing
  • Best desk lamps for college
  • Best computer desk lamps

Desk Lamp Placement: Frequently Asked Questions

How Tall Should My Desk Lamp Be?

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We can’t say the exact height the lamp should be as there are many factors that would influence this, such as lamp type, table height, what you need the light for, etc.

However, it is advised that the light is above your head yet out of your line of sight. If it is too low, it may shine in your eyes and not cover the area, while too high could create unpleasant shadows.

What Side Should My Desk Lamp Be On?

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The primary deciding factor for which side the lamp should be on is if you are right-handed versus left-handed.

If you are right-handed, place the lamp on the left side, and if you are left-handed, place the lamp on your right side. This will reduce shadows that could impede your workflow.

Where Should I Place My Desk Lamp To Avoid Shadows?

Follow the left-hand, right-hand rule and use overhead light to fill out the lighting in the room.

What Is the Most Ergonomic Position for My Desk Lamp?

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The rule of thumb for a task lamp is to measure 15 inches from the lampshade to your desk’s surface; this will create the ideal lighting for reading, writing, or typing.

How Should I Angle My Desk Lamp?

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A 30° angle is usually the sweet spot for lamps on a desk for reducing glare and keeping it out of your line of sight, creating bothersome hotspots in your vision.

General Tips for Lighting up Your Home

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Now that we have created the perfect lighting for your desk let’s move on to some general tips for your overall home lighting.

Tip #1. Choose Quality

Quality lighting is just as important as placement.Avoid using fluorescent lightingwhere possible and any other light sources that can create headaches and an unsightly ambiance. Most people prefer soft lighting around their homes as it creates a cozy atmosphere. While in your kitchens and office, choose light fixtures, lamps, and bulbs that will illuminate your workspace so you can cook and work more efficiently.

Tip #2. Consider Your Existing Lighting

If you are not happy with your home’s current lighting situation, consider changing out some of your light fixtures or adding some lamps to create a more pleasant ambiance.

Tip #3. Select the Best Light Color for the Situation

The lighting in your home doesn’t have to just be white light; you can also choose to have different colored lights. Various light bulb colors can help you create the perfect mood, from warm and welcoming fuschia to a funky green.

Tip #4. Consider Energy Efficient Lighting

While choosing your light bulb or lamp, consider the abundance of options for energy-efficient lighting such asLED or halogen. Why not make your house look good while being good to the planet? Plus, you could even save a bit of extra cash in the long run.

Tip#5. Consider a Floor Lamp for Added Lighting

Sometimes overhead lighting and desk lamps just don’t cut it when it comes to creating the perfect ambiance. An easy solution is to add floor lamps to your home decor that will not only add to your home design but also create your ideal lighting.

Quick Summary

With these common questions about where to place desk lamps answered, you’ll now be able to work or read effectively while keeping your eyes healthy.

Again, no one wants to deal with poor lighting, glare, or shadows when sitting down at their desk to get productive.

So, whether you’ve already picked out your perfect desk lamp or are on the hunt, use these tips to get the placement just right.

If you still have some pertinent questions about desk lamps or another lighting, check out ourdesk lamp guide.

Other Useful Links

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Where should a desk lamp be placed? ›

Height Matters

To light up the whole desk, the best position for your lamp is above and behind your screen, pointing down to bathe the whole desk in light without causing unpleasant glare from the screen.

How high should my desk lamp be? ›

A desk light should be between 26 and 34 inches tall. Another technique to see if the height of your lamp is just right is to sit next to it on your modern desk chair. The lamp shade's bottom should be at the same level as your eyes, not higher.

How many lumens should a desk lamp be? ›

How many lumens do I need for a desk light? The tasks you perform at your desk can impact the ideal number of lumens needed. Typically, 450 lumens is sufficient for reading, writing, or general work. For more intricate tasks, 800 to 1,100 lumens may be necessary.

Should light be in front or behind computer? ›

To prevent glare, the task light should not be placed behind you, as it will shine directly on the screen. The best location is either resting on or mounted just above the desk. It ought to be positioned on the same side as your paperwork.

Where do I put my lamp? ›

Step 1: Radiate light inward by placing lamps on tables and shelves at the corners of your living room. Step 2: Cast soft shadows with wall lamps. Mount them on both sides of the fireplace. Step 3: Position your floor lamp to the side of your reading chair.

Should my desk face the window for lighting? ›

Sunlight can help you have a positive mood and help create a better overall work environment. Although a great view is tempting, like I mentioned, most designers would say to place the desk in the center of the room facing the room entrance.

What color light is best for desk lamp? ›

Look for LEDs with high CRI ratings between 85 and 100. Color Temperature is a standard measure of a light's appearance, often referred to as the “warm” or “cool” look of a light. LED desk lamps in the color temperature range of 2700K to 4500K generally provide a clear and pleasing light to work beneath.

What is the rule of thumb for lamp shade size? ›

Three things to remember... The width of the lampshade (diameter at the bottom) should be roughly equal to the height of the lamp base. The height of the lampshade should be about two thirds the height of the lamp base. The lampshade should be the wider than the widest part of the lamp base.

What kind of desk lamp is good for eyes? ›

Desk lamps that are made with LED lights with adjustable brightness are best for the eyes. They do not emit much heat and deliver more natural brightness when compared to other lights.

How many lumens is good for eyes? ›

Below 3500 lumens, our eyes feel comfortable. When the brightness of direct or reflected light reaches 4000 lumens, the human eye starts to struggle to receive light.

Is 1000 lumens bright enough for a work light? ›

A 1000 lumen flashlight is an extremely bright flashlight that is very efficient for most tasks. Remember that the number of lumens you require in a flashlight depends on your use and the applications.

Is 2000 lumens bright enough for a work light? ›

The number of lumens you need for a good work light can range between 100 and 5,000.

Should light be centered with room or window? ›

Ceiling light fixtures should always hang dead-center on the most important architecture of the room. Like dead-center to the fireplace, where ideally your conversation area should be situated. Whenever possible, ceiling lighting should also be centered on windows and doors that are architecturally-significant.

Where should your eyes line up with computer screen? ›

Adjust the monitor height so that the top of the screen is at—or slightly below—eye level. Your eyes should look slightly downward when viewing the middle of the screen. Position the monitor at least 20 inches (51 cm) from your eyes—about an arm's length distance.

Is it better to have light behind the screen? ›

Should the light be in front or behind my laptop? To avoid glare, the light should not be behind you and instead placed at an angle that covers your screen. The best place for your display light would be either mounted just below or over the desk.

Which side we should not light the lamp? ›

It brings bad luck.

Should lamps be in the corner? ›

You may be able to position the lamp cord underneath the sofa or other furniture to keep it hidden. By placing lamps in the corners of your living room, you can radiate light inward.

Which direction does a lamp face? ›

Lamps and diyas should be placed in the south-east. Never keep a damaged idol. Ensure a clutter-free environment in the puja room.

Should you have a lamp on your desk? ›

Keep the Light On

Not only is it necessary for your productivity, but it also good for your overall health as well. Other than adding a desk lamp or two, you can help keep your eyes healthy through other means. For example, you can use dark or eye strain reduction mode on your devices or lowering screen brightness.

Which way should a desk face in a room? ›

R.D. Chin, feng shui master and architect, advises positioning the desk in the “power position” of the room — diagonally opposite from the door. This gives a commanding view of the room, allowing you to see your space and think clearly.

Is warm or cool better for desk lamp? ›

Warm or cool ? There are no rules - the choice is about personal preference and use. If you like the traditional yellowish colour of a conventional lamp then warm white around (2700-3000K ) would be the ideal choice, this is the most popular choice for homes.

Should desk light be warm or cool? ›

Your eyes must work hard to adapt to this, which is very tiring. Therefore, it's better to place lighting with higher color temperatures (3000 - 4000K) or cold white light (more than 5000K) in workstations like a desk, office or restaurant kitchens.

What type of light is best for office desk? ›

For large, open spaces like most office environments, fluorescent or light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs are the best option, but halogen and incandescent are also available. Fluorescent bulbs are the most common because they are the older technology, but LED bulbs have several advantages over their elder sibling.

How do I find the right shade for my lamp? ›

The shade should be twice as wide as the lamp base, and one third of the total height of the lamp. So for a 6-inch lamp base, the shade should be at least 12 inches wide. And if the total height of the lamp (including the bulb and harp) is 24 inches, the shade should be 8 inches tall.

Where should bottom of lamp shade be? ›

The bottom edge of the lampshade should fall midway on the neck of the lamp. You don't want the socket or the switch to be visible. When shade shopping, the shade size refers to the width across the bottom of the shade. The best shade will mimic the base of the lamp, and the shape of the table.

Can a lamp shade be too big? ›

A lampshade too large will appear top heavy and a lampshade too small will always look unbalanced. A great tip when trying to work out the best size lampshade for a table lamp is to measure the height of your lamp base, from the very bottom to the top excluding the bulb holder.

What lights are best for poor eyesight? ›

LED lighting: Light-emitting diodes are different than incandescent and fluorescent lights in the way they burn energy, and they also last much longer than other types of bulbs. LED lights are great choices for low vision because they're usually on the cooler side of the color spectrum and can be very bright.

Why do people use desk lamps? ›

What is the desk light for? The most obvious use for a desk lamp is for practical task lighting – that is, because you need to light up a specific area so that you can see what you're reading or typing (or, if you're retro, writing with a pen).

Are LED desk lamps better? ›

A LED desk lamp that meets international standards not only makes the eyes more comfortable, but also greatly improves the efficiency of work and reading. Check out BenQ's e-Reading LED desk lamp series that offers a wider, safer and more comfortable reading experience for screen and traditional reading.

Which light is better for eyes yellow or white? ›

It is recommended to use warm white in other words yellow color light in our living rooms, dining rooms, bedrooms and other rooms of the house. Because the yellow light contains less blue light, it creates a more relaxing effect for the eyes. It is a common fact that cold colors may cause sleeping problems.

How many lumens is considered very bright? ›

80 lumens is considered bright enough for most walkways — including commercial properties. For garden lights used as accent lighting, 50 lumens is generally sufficient to add safety, dimension, color and interest in your yard.

How many lumens do I really need? ›

Summary: Calculating Total Lumens Needed for a Room

Multiply your room square footage by the footcandle requirement. For example, a 100-square foot living room, which needs 20 foot candles, will need 2,000 lumens. A 100-square foot dining room, which needs 40 foot-candles, will need 4,000 lumens.

What is the best lumen for office? ›

Workspace or garage: 8,000 to 10,000 lumens. Kitchen work areas: 7,000 to 8,000 lumens. Bathroom: 7,000 to 8,000 lumens. Home office: 6,000 to 8,000 lumens.

How many lumens is good for a work light? ›

The best handheld work lights have between 250 and 600 lumens, with 500 being right around the sweet spot. Some handheld work lights are adjustable, making them perfect for most scenarios. Standing work lights can range in brightness as well, but power in the 3,000- to 10,000-lumen range offers the most flexibility.

Is 2000 lumens too bright? ›

A 2000 lumen light beam is too bright to provide comfortable brightness over short distances. For reading, ophthalmologists recommend about 300 to 500 lux, which corresponds to a luminous flux of about 100 to 200 lumens, depending on the distance and beam angle of the flashlight.

Is 2500 lumens bright for a work light? ›

The light is plenty bright for most working situations. At 2500 lumens, it's the equivalent of using a 150-watt halogen.

What is equivalent to 2000 lumens? ›

Compare lumens to watts
Type of bulb200-300 lumens1250-2000 lumens
Incandescent25-30 watts150-250 watts
Halogen18-25 watts125 watts
CFL5-6 watts20-33 watts
LED2-4 watts13-20 watts
1 more row

How many lumens are in a 60 watt bulb? ›

Lumens measure brightness. For example, a 60-watt incandescent bulb produces about 800 lumens of light. By comparison, an LED (light-emitting diode) bulb produces that same 800 lumens but uses only about 9 watts.

What is the best position for light in room? ›

You want the light to hit at eye level, where artwork hangs. If we use a pendant or a semi-flush ceiling fixture, it's usually centered in the room, often over the bed. So, we try not to hang it too low—typically 8 to 12 inches from the ceiling.

How low should a light hang over a table? ›

Generally the advice is that a light should hang around 3 feet above a dining table with 'the bottom of the light to hang just above eye-line, so it doesn't obstruct the view across the table,' says Simon Temprell, interior design manager at Neptune (opens in new tab).

What window placement is best for light? ›

In hot climates, north-facing windows provide the highest-quality light without also exposing a home to excess heat. ​In cold climates, where heat exposure boosts energy efficiency, designs should prioritize east, west, or south-facing windows.

Where should a lamp be placed in feng shui? ›

In feng shui, it's believed that placing a lamp on either side of a sofa or bed can create a sense of balance and harmony, while placing a lamp in the corner of a room can bring a sense of stability.


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