I live in a studio apartment that’s uncomfortably dark once the sun goes down with no overhead lighting. It’s been great all summer with long hours of daylight shining through the window, but as it gets darker earlier, this poses a problem for the end of the work day, cooking dinner, and finding my dog for our nightly walk.
I recently went on a hunt for very, very cool table and desk lamps—both to decorate my apartment and to do the hard work of lighting it. Instead of figuring out the process of installing overhead lighting, I am on the hunt for 1 or 2 table or desk lamps. I personally favor the softer, more controlled light of a table lamp, anyway. It’s also the perfect light to read under in bed if like me, you are trying to turn your phone off and settle down tucked in with a book by 9.
Below are the lighting brands I’ve bookmarked—if you need a light to do work by, read by, or cook by, check them out.
Let’s dive into Urban Outfitters’ home collection first—I go there for both inspiration and pretty good prices. As far as mushroom lamps go: I’ve searched extensively, for both vintage and not—this lamp at under $100 is quite a good price. Even less expensive? This one in lavender, which clicks in at $39. Both lamps also have high customer ratings (something I suggest you always look at when checking out homeware). This silver one with the hanging switch is very space age, while this transparent one from Fatboy appears three times in three different colors on my favorites bar. For productivity after sundown, this one is perfect for lighting up my desk when I’m finishing up the work day.
2. Etsy Vintage
I highly recommend checking out Etsy for vintage lamps. You can set the price range over on the left of the page. I personally search for “vintage midcentury lamps”, “vintage modern lamps”, and “vintage colorful lamps”—occasionally you can find a good assortment at a reasonable price under “vintage mushroom lamps”.
Last year, we shot this lamp from Hay for our gift guide, and since then, I’ve often headed back there for cool, modern lamps. They’re both easy to put together and to move around in your apartment, if you’re as fond of rearranging your tiny space as I am. I love the small Matin table lamp for bed reading (but they also have a larger size). There’s also this cordless chargeable lamp—super useful if you like to work in different spots in your home.
For a multi-brand website with an assortment of sustainably-made modern lamps, try Gantri. They sell this one by Muka Design Lab, which I called in for our photoshoot—its soft glow is immediately soothing. This one by Dims is similar—its whole body (including its base!) glows. For an equally appealing level of glow (a new criteria for lamps, apparently), see this one by Louis Filosa—I love the coral colorway. This one by Ammunition in the sedona colorway stands the tallest of them all—I’d really appreciate it on my double-duty desk/dinner table.
Another website with a plethora of awesome options. That includes but is not limited to: these lamps or these lantern style ones (both in a variety of colors) by Marset, this awesome giant lightbulb from Frama, back on the mushroom schtick with these from &Tradition, and then my favorite little colorful bud ones from Innermost.
For affordable lamps for your side table, EcoVibe makes this Terra lamp ($55 for the small size and $85 for the large), this little cement one ($40), and this one that really doubles as an art piece with its resin base and linen shade ($85). They also make really good pendant lamps, if you’re in the market.
For high-quality table lamps made in the U.S.A., try Schoolhouse. I love their exposed bulb lamps for illuminating a good amount of space, but I’m also eying this one and this one with the domed shades for evening reading—and this one to light up my desk area.
Fy! has an incredible selection of quirky statement table lamps. They range in price and so do the below selects, just in case there’s anyone here who’s been saving up. First up: this transparent purple glass lamp with a cork base that I hope gives the room a lavender tint to it. A puzzle lamp! That’s some elegant D.I.Y. for you. This glamorous fringe lamp, handmade in N.Y.C. by a brand I often fantasize about (and known for its fringed accents), Huldra of Norway. A lamp with a noble bust of Napoleon to read you your bedtime stories (or shine light on them). A bright blue hand blown glass lamp, with a shade that has a reflexive copper lining for extra glow. And then this lamp turns on just by simply touching the metal base. That’s just a tiny fraction of the cool lamp styles Fy! carries. I’m a bit overwhelmed.
Are you eyeing any table lamps that I should add to this list? Let me know in the comments below (please and thank you)!