If you're staying up late to read, game, or stream; if you're a new parent rolling out of bed at all hours; if you're up with the lark to start work – whatever your sleep schedule looks like, you need a bedside lamp that can keep up, and for us, only the best bedside lamps will do.
Of course, it's not as simple as all that, and what it is exactly that makes the best lamp will differ from person to person. Luckily, we think we've got it nailed with a list that blends form and function admirably. This roundup has options for everyone, whether you're a lover of quirky design, a small person who loves Star Wars but isn't so big on the dark, or simply someone looking for a lovely design on a reasonable budget (if you're looking a sunrise lamp, head to our best wake-up lights guide instead).
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How to choose the best bedside lamp
While much of what makes a great lamp will come down to your personal taste, there are a couple of practical considerations to bear in mind before you start scrolling.
First: size. The world of interiors is still abuzz with its love of hotel-inspired bedroom decor, and it's easy to get drawn in by outlandishly sized designs with maximalist shades and curvaceous vase-like bases – especially when you're buying online and can't see it in situ. We say leave it for the hallway or living room, where it's less likely to look overbearing (or worse, simply not fit on the nightstand). Our list of the best lamps shows that there's no need to compromise between practicality and luxury, with Italian it-brand Seletti and high-street favourite John Lewis & Partners offering sleek, stylish creations with small footprints.
Then, there's the question of energy usage. Our best bedside lamp all round is IKEA's iconic HEKTAR, which sets an excellent example by combining industrial good looks and space-saving genius with an A++ energy rating. For bulb-included options like the Philips Hue Go, you're working with ultra-efficient LEDs. For some of our more traditional designs, however, the energy efficiency may vary a lot depending on which bulb you use, which is worth bearing in mind if you're after a lamp for the long haul.
Our pick of the best bedside lamps
If you're looking for a lamp that's as beautiful off as it is on, make John Lewis & Partners' Lolly Lamp your go-to. Reviewers loved its fresh, nautical style – courtesy of a classic blue-and-white colourway – finding it both eye-catching and versatile enough to suit multiple decor styles. The ceramic base features hand-painted stripes that make each piece unique and bring a touch of artisanal flair to any bedroom.
Unlike table lamps made with multiple rooms in mind, this designed-for-purpose lamp is perfectly proportioned for bedside tables. Reviewers loved its small footprint, which leaves plenty of room for other essentials, and its height, which they say makes it ideal for bedtime reading. They also found its inline rocker switch easy to use – no more fumbling blindly under the shade with bleary eyes.
A scaled-down version of the ubiquitous HEKTAR floor lamp, our best bedside lamp tops the list thanks to its combination of good looks, build quality, ease of fitting, energy efficiency, and space saving design.
HEKTAR comes with a choice of fittings, depending on whether you'd like to affix it to the wall (no pricey or fiddly rewiring required) or clip it to a bedside table or headboard. Wherever you put it, its adjustable design is sure to come in handy – direct the beam towards your book, Kindle, or other favourite pre-bed pastime, or point it out into the room for a softer, more diffused light.
As well as its problem-solving design, reviewers also loved HEKTAR's simple but considered styling. All agreed that its industrial-inspired shape and the pleasing contrast of glossy cream interior and matte gunmetal exterior belied its small price tag – but then what else do you expect from IKEA? Great all round.
Gone are the days when a bedside lamp would be expected simply to turn on and off. Equally great for bedtime relaxation, gentle wake-up calls, and creating ambience wherever you go, the wireless Philips Hue Go is portable, dimmable, and can turn itself any one of a frankly ridiculous 16 million colours. You can control the lighting with your voice by calling in reinforcements from Alexa, Apple HomeKit, or Google Assistant, and it’s compatible with all smart devices. We may not have the flying cars we were promised, but we do have this. The future is now.
Say what you will, we think there’s something utterly delightful about having the original Pixar lamp by your bedside, or on your desk, or anywhere really. Today’s Anglepoise lamps, including the Type 75, are still made to Sir Kenneth Grange’s original design, managing to be at once retro and ultra-modern, and its handsome design and solid build will ensure its cult status for many more decades to come. For a clean and modern home office or minimal boudoir, this is the one.
Stormtroopers may not be the most reliable henchmen in the galaxy, but they're great at keeping the boogeyman at bay, at least according to the reviewers of this Star Wars night light.
The iconic Stormtrooper helmet has the option of lighting up in loads of different colours, from Mace-Windu's-lightsaber Purple to a cheerful shade of Darth Maul Red – kids can let it cycle through in a mesmeric pattern to lull them off to sleep, or choose their favourite. There's also a choice of three brightness settings that'll see them through from their first bedtime story to… well, their fifth bedtime story.
Parents loved the inbuilt sensor that automatically turns the nightlight on at dusk and off again at dawn, while Cool Uncles loved the nostalgic design. And, if your smalls have wider-reaching ambitions of planetary conquest, there's also a classic Darth Vader design available.
Choose between frosted white for a cheerful glow, or cool smoked glass to set the mood – the petite Lyss lamp shines, design-wise, no matter what finish it comes in. Its small stature means it can fit in wherever you need it, the all-over glass unit feels deceptively high-end for the budget price, and it’s got gentle curves and clean lines in all the right places.
It's clear that design is the big selling point when it comes to this helpful little mouse, but those undecided about Seletti's arty zoological offerings will be pleased to know that form doesn't trump function in this cute bedside lamp.
Reviewers were pleasantly surprised by the amount of light it gave out, its shadeless design and statement filament bulb giving off ample lumens for reading late into the night, coupled with impressive energy efficiency. It's efficient on space, too, with a petite footprint that makes it just right for small bedside surfaces.
But by far the greatest appeal of this bedside light is its sweet design. If you like your decorations to do double duty as functional pieces, this lamp is a brilliant option, with reviewers saying it makes a great conversation starter and draws compliments left, right and centre. Pair it with the Sitting Mouse design, trade up to the statement-making gold colourway, or build your own menagerie by combining with other creatures in the range.
That the bare-bulb design of this lamp wouldn’t look out of place in Victor Frankenstein’s lab should be enough to recommend it to all lovers of industrial-inspired design. Understated, elegant, a bit expensive, but with the super-cool design and long-lasting materials (walnut and brass, don’t you know) to back it up. If you have surfaces to spare, it’s a great feature lamp for the living room as well as the bedroom, and a less fussy touch-sensitive option than the Destiny lamp.
These Origami Night Lights come in a range of creatures, from bears and rabbits to dinosaurs, and they cut a cute figure in any child's room. The semi-opaque plastic gives the lamp its cool paper-like effect and gives off a warm glow, making it perfect as a comforting nightlight, but not ideal to read by. If your son or daughter is a bookworm, consider going for something a bit brighter, like the Anglepoise. If you want a night light that won’t blind you when you stumble to the bathroom in the middle of the night, go for this.