The 12 Best Table Lamps for Reading —I'm a Certified Bookworm (and Shopping Expert)

When it comes to table lamps for reading, I don't mess around. If you're the same, this edit is for YOU (and your books, or course — and good recommendations?)

table lamps on a colorful background
(Image credit: Anthropologie, Raymour & Flnigan, Soho Home, Pottery Barn)

If there's one thing you should know about me it's that I love to read. I am a bookworm through and through — have been for years. Growing up, I wanted to be just like my older brother, and he tore through every book he ever read as though he were on deadline. Eventually, his passion rubbed off on me, and I now spend most evenings reading a few pages before bed, and most weekend afternoons turning page after page of my favorite GoodReads-recommended picks.

So it should come as no surprise that when I think of the best table lamps, I think of table lamps for reading first and foremost. If I'm so invested in my book that I can't wait to read the next chapter after work, I want to be reading next to a stunning, relaxing, high-quality light that illuminates my pages but doesn't hurt my eyes.

Dimmable features are 'ideal' for reading at night, said Dara Greaney, founder and CEO of, an e-commerce lighting retailer. 'Pay attention to color temperature of the bulbs too,' he continued. You want something with warm or soft white light that 'creates a natural light feeling. Too bright of a bulb can lead to eye strain.'

It's all a delicate balance, of course, and one that is difficult to suss out while shopping online ... that said, however, I'm attempting to solve at least half of that equation with a special edit curated below. You're welcome in advance. You can repay me in book recs.

12 of the best table lamps for reading

Livingetc knows design. We spend hours testing and comparing the latest products, bringing only our edit of the very best to you. Find out more about how we review.

Craving more lamps? I understand that feeling. Don't worry — my edits of the best table lamps for a bedroom, blue and white table lamps, and mid-century table lamps.

How bright should a table lamp for reading be?

A reading lamp of the correct brightness should do two things: 'It should be bright enough to show the entirety of what you are reading without casting shadows and without eye strain,' Dara told me. 'Basically, the light should be bright enough to clearly reveal the text or images on the page.'

You might also find that you need a brighter lamp 'in dimly lit spaces or for reading small print. A softer light is fine in well-lit areas or for larger fonts.'

Brigid Kennedy
Style Editor

Brigid Kennedy is a style editor at, where she is responsible for obsessively combing the internet for the best and most stylish deals on home decor and more. She was previously a story editor at, where she covered both U.S. politics and culture. She describes her design style as colorful and clean, and in her free time enjoys reading, watching movies, and curating impossibly niche playlists on Spotify. She lives in New York.