Unless you're some kind of maniac who likes to chill out in bed with the big light on, you'll need one of the best bedside lamps installed in your room. A lamp has multiple benefits over an overhead light. It can provide a softer, more relaxing light. It can give directional illumination for specific tasks. It removes the need to get out of bed and hit a light switch when it's time to sleep or get up.
Of course, the best bedside lamp for one person won't be the same as the best lamp for another; much of it depends on your priorities, taste and bedroom decor. 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's afraid of the dark, or simply someone looking for a lovely design on a reasonable budget. If you want a smarter option that'll mimic the sunrise or sunset to help you regulate your sleep cycle, you'll want to consult our best wake-up lights guide instead, and we also have a dedicated guide to the best smart bulbs, if you're after something more intelligent.
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The best bedside lamps 2021
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, our pick for the bed smart bedside lamp is the wireless Philips Hue Go. This little lamp 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.
These Cara bedside lamps, which come in pairs and are part of the John Lewis and Partners Anyday range, have chrome bases that include touch functionality. Tap to cycle between the three different brightness levels (or switch off entirely). The design is smart and understated, with the benefit of a compact size so it'll fit on almost any bedside table, and an extremely reasonable price point. The translucent glass shade diffuses the light to give a soft glow, and remove the risk of blinding yourself if you catch the lamp at the wrong angle. Only want one? The John Lewis & Partners Dexter Touch Lamp is very similar, and comes singularly.
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.
How to choose the best bedside lamp
Much of what makes a great lamp will come down to your personal taste and kind of vibe you're trying to create – and to that end, check out these bedroom lighting tips for inspiration – but there are a couple of practical considerations to bear in mind before you make you choice.
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. For this, consult the 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.