Since the pandemic struck, improvised home offices have been put through their paces. If your work-from-home setup is ready for an upgrade, the right desk lamp is a good place to start.

Beyond providing light exactly where it’s needed, “the task light becomes one of the things that creates your little work office at home,” said Clive Wilkinson, a Los Angeles-based architect who has designed corporate spaces for companies like Microsoft and Intuit. “It’s a spatial thing — it lights up an area where you’re working, and makes it separate and different from the rest of the home.”

The best desk lamps used to have long articulating arms that were highly adjustable, Mr. Wilkinson said, but now that most people’s work involves less paper, something more compact will usually suffice.

“You can have a light source that’s only 18 inches off the desk,” he said. “It makes the new options much more interesting.”

  • Does a desk lamp need to cast a wide halo of light? “It’s much less important than it used to be,” Mr. Wilkinson said, unless you work with a lot of paper. “Now you’re lighting up a space to the left or right of your computer.”

  • Does it need to dim? “It’s not crucial if you get the right-output LED” for your work space, Mr. Wilkinson said, but a dimmer does provide flexibility for different times of day.

  • What color temperature is best? Light with a warm white color of 2,400 to 2,700 Kelvin is good for a desk.


Adjustable LED lamp with cast-iron ball-joint base

From $475 at Juniper: 347-799-2915 or

Desk lamp with catchall base and charging port by Jonas Wagell

$195 at Design Within Reach: 800-944-2233 or

Lamp with antiqued brass shade, designed by Ian K. Fowler

$299 at Circa Lighting: 877-762-2323 or

3D-printed adjustable lamp by Mona Sharma

$148 at Gantri:

Lamp with adjustable shade by KaschKasch for Normann Copenhagen

$405 at Horne: 877-404-6763 or

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