Nightstand Lamp Sizing 101: Finding Your Perfect Fit

Measure the height of your bed, the width, and the depth. Choose a nightstand lamp that is approximately 1/2 the height of the bed and wide enough to fit the width of your bed. The depth of the lamp should be at least 6 inches.

The height of the lamp can vary from 12-24 inches, depending on the desired height of the light and how far away it is to be used.

A good size lamp for the nightstand should be neither too big nor too small. It should provide enough light to read a book or work on the computer.

It needs to be small and not take up too much space. It should also be bright enough to light up the whole room at night.

Choosing The Right Size Lamps For Your Bedside Table

The bedside lamp is an important part of every nightstand, but what is the best lamp size to choose?

Depending on the size of your bed and the table it’s sitting on, the lamp you use next to your bed should be the right scale. It is important to consider scale when choosing new lamps.

Choosing The Right Size For Your Bedside Lamp

Bedside Table Lamp Size Rules

Do lamp heights matter at all? It provides light for reading and ambiance, which is the primary purpose of the bedside lamp. For that reason, you should have reading lamps that are positioned at the right height for sitting up to read in bed.

In the design world, rules are meant to be broken, and exceptions apply as with everything. You’ll want to keep these rules in mind, especially if you want great-looking bedside lamps in your master bedroom.

  • In-bed reading, mood lighting, and soft illumination should all be considered when choosing the right size lighting.
  • If you have a shorter nightstand with a shorter lamp, add a few inches to the height.
  • The height of the lamp should be around 30 inches if the nightstand is between 25 and 30 inches high.
  • In addition to clashing with a headboard, bed, and the bulb showing when reclining, lamps over 36 inches are a hazard.
  • Choosing a lamp that measures 24 to 27 inches in height is a good idea to maintain a balanced appearance.

A nightstand’s height and style determine the best size lamp for it. You can make or break your nightstand based on the size of your lamp. Continue reading to find out how.

Bedside Table Lamp Size Rules

How Tall Should Your Bedside Lamp Be?

If you are a bedtime reader, choosing the right height lamp is especially important. Your eyes shouldn’t be directly exposed to the light, nor should they be lit up by it.

Bedside lamps should be 28-30 inches tall. You should ensure that your lamps are large enough to accommodate the bed and nightstands.

In addition, it should be substantial in size. Ideally, the top of the lamp should cascade down slightly from your headboard if it has a tall headboard.

When you find a lamp that matches the height of your nightstand (or is within a couple of inches), add two or three inches to the height of your nightstand.

Consequently, a lamp about 27 inches tall will look best on a nightstand that is 24 inches high.

Lamp switches should also be placed in a convenient location. Turning your lamp on or off should not require you to get up or risk hurting your back or falling out of bed completely.

Lamp switches should be positioned at a height about the same as your arm, between 21 and 28 inches for most people. An on-off switch on the cord of a bedside lamp is, of course, the most convenient.

How Tall Should Your Bedside Lamp Be

How Wide Should Your Nightstand Lamp Be?

How wide should the lamp be now that you know it should be 30″ tall? Lamps tall enough to fit on a buffet or sideboard tend to be skinny like buffet or sideboard lamps. In a dining room, that’s fine, but not in a bedroom.

When decorating a bedroom, it can be very easy to make the mistake of choosing the wrong size of nightstand lamp. The most common cause is a lamp that is too small for the nightstand. Again, balance is key to getting the scale right.

As your mattress widens, your nightstand will widen, and the lamp atop it will also widen as your nightstand widens. Therefore, you should measure your nightstand between one-third and two-thirds of the width of your mattress as a rough guideline.

When measured at the lamp’s widest point (usually at the shade base), the bedside lamp should be roughly one-third as wide as the nightstand.

A narrow lamp will look dwarfed by the bed, which is a large focus of the room. Therefore, lamps should be wider than mattresses as a general rule.

How Wide Should Your Nightstand Lamp Be

Is It Necessary To Have More Than One Nightstand Lamp?

If you sleep alone, you only need one nightstand lamp; if you have a partner, you need two.

Even if you’re the only one in the room, two bedside lamps give your bedroom better balance if the room is very large, or you have a king-size mattress.

If you only have two nightstand lamps in your bedroom, they won’t provide enough illumination. A floor lamp, preferably one across from your bed, is needed if you don’t have a ceiling fixture.

The Right Lampshade Size For Your Lamp

The lamp shade is also important to consider, along with the height and width of the lamp. There are different sizes of lamp shades, did you know?

A lamp should be balanced by a lampshade of the appropriate size. From the bottom of the lamp to the base of the light bulb, the lampshade’s height should be approximately two-thirds of the lamp’s body height.

A lampshade should have a width approximately twice that of the lamp’s widest part. For the best proportion, choose a lampshade no wider than the lamp’s height if you have a thin lamp.

It is best to place the lampshade so that the base is aligned roughly with your eyes while sitting in bed reading.

  • The height of the lampshade should be two-thirds of the lamp’s height
  • The width of the lamp shade should be twice the lamp’s width

You can add a splash of color to your decor by using colored lampshades instead of white or off-white ones. The current trend is drum shades, but if you match the shape of the lampshade with the lamp, you won’t go wrong.

The Right Lampshade Size For Your Lamp

Do I Need To Use Matching Lamps On Both Sides?

It comes down to your style to answer this question. I prefer the bedroom table lamps to match due to the symmetry, but it is not necessary. Even if the bedside tables don’t match, I prefer the lamps too.

You don’t need matching lamps if your space doesn’t allow them. The right lamps will fit your space if you don’t have the space.

You can use a floor lamp on the tighter side of the space if there isn’t enough space for a large lamp on one side. You can also use sconces on both sides of the bed if you have a small space.

How Tall Should Bedside Lamps Be Compared To Headboards?

It is usually best to have your bedside lamp shorter than your headboard unless your headboard is exceptionally tall and embellished.

Most of the time, tall lamps are more likely to shine in your eyes and contrast visually with headboards.

The modern floor lamp you want should be tall enough to be positioned by your bed on the side you don’t sleep on. Floor lamps shouldn’t have a top that extends beyond 48 inches above the mattress.

How Tall Should Bedside Lamps Be Compared To Headboards

How About Short Lamps Under 24 Inches?

You might consider a short lamp under 24 inches tall for a low-profile nightstand and a low-lying bed.

A smaller bedroom looks brighter and cozier when paired with a smaller lamp. Various lamps provide ample illumination in a smaller package, such as modern, contemporary, industrial, and bohemian pieces.

What About Lamps Around 30 Inches?

It is best to pair a taller lamp with a bed that has a high headboard and a high-sitting mattress.

Also, your bedside table may be a bit taller than most, so be sure to choose a nightstand lamp at least 30 inches tall, if not slightly higher.

Try different lamp shades so you won’t have to worry about the lamp shining on your face when in bed.  

Some bedside lamps have swing arms or are easily repositioned for the perfect position for bedtime, making them more suitable for bedtime.

In general, 30-inch lamps are visually appealing but should not overpower the bed or nightstand.

How Big Should A Lamp Be For An Average Nightstand?

A bedside table measuring 24 to 27 inches from the average nightstand falls into a visual sweet spot. Put a single or pair of table lamps in your bedroom to add a touch of soft lighting for reading or relaxing.

Lamps with thin stands are ideal for smaller nightstands, while wide bases and tripods are perfect for larger tables.

For a single nightstand, you don’t need more than one lamp. Instead of hosting a second lamp, you can keep glasses, books, or a mug on another nightstand.

Note From The Author:

You want to avoid visually clashing elements by striking a balance between the lamp’s size and the nightstand. It depends on your style and space and what height and style of nightstand lamp you prefer.

The Bottom Line

When you’re in bed, choose a lamp with a height that’s easy to reach and doesn’t cast light into your eyes. You can find lamps that complement a nightstand and do not clash with your headboard and mattress in various styles and sizes.

In this article, we’ve gone over the most important factors to consider when choosing a nightstand or bedside lamp. Your bedside lamp can be a powerful accent in your bedroom, so choose it carefully.

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