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What size lamp for nightstand?

When looking for a bedside lamp, you can easily fall in love with its design, but what size lamp will be the best for your nightstand? In this article, we’ll give you a few tips to find the best match of design and ergonomy.

Selecting the right size has both practical and design aspects. From a practical point of view, you need to think of the original purpose of bedside lamps: most importantly, they are meant to give light for your reading.

  • If you read in bed, your bedside table lamp will act as a reading lamp.

  • If you do not read in bed, your bedside lamp will be an ambient light that just sets the evening mood and gives a soft light for your bedroom interior.

What size lamp for reading

Interior designers, when working on projects, usually apply proven interior guidelines - it’s like a big book of rules, based on ergonomy, design, best practices and the dimensions of the human body. The following tip is also based on an interior guideline.

Pro tip: the bottom of the lampshade (or the light source) should be in level with your chin while sitting in bed - this way, the lamp will give proper light for your book.

Optionally, if you don’t like reading in a sitting position and you prefer lying in bed while reading, the bottom of the lampshade can be in level with the top of your head (while lying).

The ideal height also depends on the height of your nightstand. If you are unsure about how high your nightstand should be, read our article on this topic: How to make a nightstand taller: 5+1 ways

Design rules for lamp size

According to the Spruce (How tall should your lamp be?):

Assuming that your nightstand is the same height as your mattress (or within a couple of inches), look for a lamp the same height as your nightstand plus an extra 2 or 3 inches. So if your nightstand is 24 inches high, a lamp that is around 27 inches tall will look best.

what size lamp for nightstand

Types of bedside lamps

You already know the ideal height - now let’s focus on the design.

Tabletop lamps

The most popular type of bedside lamps is the traditional tabletop lamp. Of course, it is available with millions of design options.

Pendant lights

Pendant lights should not necessarily be close to the ceiling - with a long cord, you can hang them down from the ceiling just right at your bedside. It is a preferred choice for contemporary homes, many times offering a stunning visual to the bedroom.

Wall lights (sconces)

Wall-mounted bedside lamps are often called sconces. If you don’t want to see cables, you need to have direct electric access in the wall, where the sconce is mounted.

Floor lamps

Though a floor lamp is usually placed next to a sofa, it can still work at the bedside if it is placed close to the bed and has a well-oriented lighting.

Further reading on nightstand styling

Are you interested in bedroom and nightstand styling? We have plenty of more reading materials for you:

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