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16 Modern Desk Lamps for Your Home Office

If the events of 2020 have resulted in you setting up a dedicated desk space at home, make sure you consider a worthy desk lamp for your work area. A beautiful, modern desk lamp can provide necessary light for reduced eye strain and complement your design aesthetic. Discover a range of cool desk lamps using our buying guide.

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While everyone knows the classic green glass banker's desk lamp, contemporary design aesthetics demand something more modern and interesting. Typically, this means a piece that features a minimalistic look in updated materials. While you're shopping for a new desk lamp, consider the following features to choose the best lamp for you:

What kind of light bulb do you want?

With the proliferation of LED bulbs in the conventional A19 form factor - including color changing options - it's easy to the benefits of LEDs in just about any lamp. Those benefits include long life, far lower energy consumption, and a wide array of color temperature options.

When lamp shopping, you'll find plenty of lamps that accept traditional light bulbs, which allows you to use any bulb you like. However, it's common among LED lamps to use integrated lights that aren't user-serviceable. This can sometimes mean a lower price or other functionality, but it means you can't change them when they burn out.

Integrated bulbs can also mean much smaller lamps overall, so you have to balance the potential for the lamp to burn out entirely with the benefits of slimmer or more compact design.

Some of the options on this list also encourage you to use Edison-style bulbs, which are available in virtually every form factor now. These are trendy, but they look great and mean you don't need a shade to complicate the look.

What is light color temperature?

All electric lighting exists on a color temprature scale measured in degrees of Kelvin from 1,000 to 10,000. According to Westinghouse, most commercially-available lighting comes in somewhere between 2,000 and 6,500.

The lower this number, the "warmer" the color, which can be more relaxing and easier on the eyes and are great for setting a mood. As the number increases, lighting gets "cooler" and perceptibly brighter. Lights on this end of the spectrum are good for work settings because they provide good detail and can be energizing.

The very highest ratings generally available are for daylight therapy lamps like the Sunrise Sensations DayBright on this list, which rates 10,000K. These can help provide the benefits of sunshine for those working long hours at a desk.

Keep this in mind while you're shopping. We've included options on this list that feature color temperature adjustment as well as options where you can choose your own bulb to suit your needs. See this color chart for an idea of what to choose.

What are lumens?

Like color temperature, lumens is a measure of how much light a bulb provides. Higher lumens equals more brightness, in a nutshell.

This is especially important to keep in mind if you're shopping for LED lamps or attempting to replace an old conventional lamp, for example. Since LEDs are far more efficient, their wattage won't tell you what you need to know when it comes to brightness.

Going by the old-style incandescent bulbs, a 100 watt bulb provides 1,600 lumens according to the Department of Energy, while a 40 watt bulb creates about 450 lumens. 

Edison-style bulbs tend to provide a low amount of lumens for the wattage, but a greater sense of design and ambiance. Most LED options are dimmable so you can dial in the exact brightness for the room and task at hand.

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