the best. really.

The Best Table Lamps (and Some Cheaper Look-Alikes), According to Designers

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If you’re in need of a simple way to cozy up a favorite corner of your home, then consider a table lamp, which can do wonders for providing your space with a warm glow. It doesn’t hurt that a lamp can also pull double duty as a decorative element. We’re on a bit of a lamp kick here as of late, after a reader wrote to us asking for “all types of lamp advice.” We covered a plethora of floor lamps first, and now turn again to interior designers for their advice on picking out table lamps. Below, 35 lamps that are both functional and decorative, trendy and classic, and go on a table (or desk). We’ve also thrown a few more affordable options into the mix, and don’t miss one writer’s guide to the best lamps to buy on Amazon.

The best shaded table lamps

Keren Richter of interior design firm the White Arrow likes this pink, shaded cutie with a ceramic base, white linen shade, and walnut neck from Caravan Pacific. It comes in an array of colors and would bring a laid-back vibe to any room.

For a contemporary take on a mid-century silhouette, Richter also recommends this tall vase by Brooklyn-based Pletz that features an “ebonized maple base with cherry neck and finial.”

You can get a similar effect with this wood-barreled lamp with an elegantly tapered body from Anthropologie.

New Orleans lighting designer Julie Neill loves this ceramic lamp with gilded base by Alexa Hampton for its “gracefully folded ceramic body, which is echoed on the wonderfully fluted base that make the lamp both modern and timeless” and great for a wide range of interiors.

For a cheaper alternative, try this pair of double-gourd ceramic lamps in a similar vibrant hue and metallic base. A colorful option for the maximalist.

Neill is also partial to this twisted piece with a metallic finish by Aerin Lauder. “It is a favorite of mine because it’s a gorgeous piece of sculpture which also happens to be a lamp. It brings a cool artistic polish to any space,” she says.

Not quite as dramatic, but still languid, is this twisted lamp from Pier 1.

White Arrow’s Richter also loves the tactile quality of these handmade lamps by Victoria Morris.

Also tapered, also ceramic, also with vertical ridges.

Even though this is veneer, it’s convincing nonetheless, and sports a tantalizing shape.

Toronto and New York-based designer Philip Mitchell recommends this bulbous vase inspired by 17th-century Imari Japanese porcelain that has been hand-painted with Chinese motifs.

For something a little more accessible, try this urn-shaped ceramic vase that features a French chinoiserie-inspired motif.

The best “chubby” table lamps

Ghislaine Viñas is particularly drawn to the “peculiar and organic quality” of Eny Lee Parker’s Oo Lamp, which is decidedly of this year’s chubby design trend. “It feels like an individual crafted it and I love that it feels unique and blobby and wonderful. If I had a couple of empty night stands in my house, I would put these on them in a heartbeat,” she says.

With an abstract, thick-legged base, this lamp from Anthropologie has a similar effect, but for a more palatable price. “It has a great shape and the texture would play nicely off of a glass or wood-topped side table,” says Viñas. “It would be great for a traditional space needing a little modernity, and similarly the soft lines would complement any modern interior.”


Here’s another chubby option by Moving Mountains and Giselle Hicks. “I love the earthy textures and colors and the geometric shapes,” says Homepolish designer Tina Rich.

Though not quite as chubby as the pick above, it features a similar unfinished terracotta base.

Viñas also likes the playfulness of Marset’s Dipping Light by Barcelona-based designer Jordi Canudas. “It’s like a piece of candy; the green is my favorite,” she says.

Photo: AnneChandler/ueco

Caroline Grant and Dolores Suarez of Dekar Design recommend the Rex table lamp from Urban Electric because “it’s perfect for styling bookshelves and gives the most flattering glow,” they say. “The sleek lines add a classic-but-modern touch and it’s endlessly functional since it turns on with a single touch to the base and can be customized in different metals and colors.” The Rex is also a favorite of interior designer Sasha Bikoff, who loves its “slightly-industrial-yet-warm element” and the fact that “it’s so simple yet so chic, with no buttons, knobs or switches of any kind.”

For a more affordable alternative, try this globe lamp featuring on-trend brass and a cylindrical base in marble.

The best task table lamps

For a task lamp, interior designer Penelope August’s pick is this minimalist option from Pixo: “ It comes in fun colors, dims at the touch of a finger, and has a handy USB port integrated in the base.”

This long and lean LED desk lamp with circular head would make a worthy alternative.

Here’s another simple task lamp that can be connected along the length of the table. According to Homepolish designer Tali Roth, “It’s a practical, sleek, a little serious, but very funky reading light. If your desk is up against the wall, it’s pretty how this light picks up the natural texture in any vertical plane around it.”

While not quite as thin as Juniper’s task lamp above, this one’s got nice, clean lines, too.

The best lantern table lamps

It’s no surprise that designers love Noguchi’s Akari lamps. “It’s sculptural, creates a magical ambient light, and my favorite part — it’s anthropomorphism,” says production designer Anastasia White. Richter of the White Arros agrees: “Noguchi designs are a classic, and paper lanterns cast such a pretty glow.” The designers at Pappas Miron also love the Akari light sculptures for their form and function. Plus, they say, “The handmade rice paper glows when lit and the spindly legs simply make us smile.”

Here’s an Akari-inspired floor lamp from Ikea that’s compact enough to sit on a table.

The best decorative table lamps

For lamps that don’t necessarily look like lamps, Homepolish’s Roth recommends the Gatto lamp by Achille Castiglioni. “I love this lamp because it looks like a jellyfish,” she says. “It’s seriously beautiful and gives a soft light.”

This earthen lamp by New York studio In Common With looks like it’s wearing a fancy hat. Roth appreciates the nostalgia that this lamp evokes, and its hard-molded clay shade.

This little guy by French designer by Inga Sempé also sports a béret-like topper for a lot less money.

This geometric lamp by Julian Chichester has a base of dark bronze that Grant and Suarez like for its “organic yet modern feel.”

This lamp cast in marbled ceramic has a similar silhouette.

Bikoff loves “an out-there piece in all spaces,” and these vintage toucan lamps from 1968 fit the bill. “They have so much charisma and personality, and certainly spice up any room,” she says.

Here’s an ’80s take on the toucan by H.T. Huang for much less.

Scott Sloat, partner at David Kleinberg Design Associates, recommends these crystal lamps for their clean-lined versatility. “They would lend a touch of glamour to traditional or modern interiors,” he says. Bikoff is a fan of Phoenix Gallery’s lighting as well.

London-based interior designer Katharine Pooley likes this glass lamp to “inject subtle colour into a tonal scheme,” she says. Plus, “it catches the light beautifully.”

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The Best Table Lamps, According to Interior Designers