How Tall Should Nightstand Lamps Be? Shedding Some Light on The Ideal Height

rustic bedroom with bedside lamps

When it comes to creating the perfect ambiance in your bedroom, lighting plays a crucial role. While overhead lighting can be practical, it often lacks the warmth and coziness that a bedside lamp can provide. However, choosing the right height for your nightstand lamp can be a bit tricky. In this article, we’ll explore the factors to consider when selecting a lamp height, recommended height ranges, and other considerations to keep in mind.

Factors to Consider

The first thing to consider when choosing a nightstand lamp height is the height of your nightstand itself. Ideally, the lamp should be tall enough that the light source is level with your head when you’re lying in bed. This makes it easy to turn on and off without having to get up or reach too far.

Another factor to consider is the height of your bed. If your bed is particularly tall, you may need a taller lamp to compensate. Conversely, if you have a low platform bed, a shorter lamp may be more appropriate. Additionally, consider the purpose of the lamp. If you’re using it for reading, you’ll want a taller lamp that shines directly on your book. If you’re using it for mood lighting, a shorter lamp with a soft glow (not using led bulbs) may be more suitable. Finally, consider your personal preferences. If you prefer a larger size lamp, go for it! There are really no hard and fast rules when it comes to lamp height, more just widely-accepted guidelines.

Recommended Height Ranges For Bedside Lamps

While there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of how tall your nightstand lamp should be, there are some recommended height ranges to consider. If your nightstand is between 22-24 inches tall, a lamp between 24-27 inches should work well. If your nightstand is between 25-27 inches, a lamp between 27-30 inches may be more suitable. For nightstands that are 28–30 inches tall, a lamp between 30-34 inches should provide the right level of light.

How Wide Should Bedside Lamps Be?

The size and shape of your nightstand lamp is just as important as its height. Generally speaking, the width of your lamp should be proportional to the width of your nightstand. If you have a wide bedside table, opt for a wider lamp with more coverage. Conversely, if you have a small or narrow bedside table, look for a smaller and more slender lamp. Additionally, consider the base of your lamp. If you want to save space on your nightstand, look for a lamp with a thin or flat base. Your bedside table will play a big part in how wide your nightstand table lamp is, but there are definitely tricks at your disposal to optimize this space.

How Do I Pick A Lamp Shade?

The lamp’s height, width, and shade must all be determined as well. Do different colors and shapes of lampshades exist? When ordering online, bring the measuring tapes or have the measurements verified. The lamp shade is generally twice as wide as the base of the lamp and is a third of its height. The shape and color of the shade should be based on your personal taste. A standard drum-shaped shade is a classic choice, while a bell or empire shape can add soft curves to the overall aesthetic. When it comes to color, neutral shades such as white or cream are popular choices, but you could also opt for something more colorful to match your bedside tables if they also are vibrant.

Should bedside lamps be taller than the headboard?

The objective is to ensure that the width of your bedside lamp is at least two inches. It’s possible that the headboards will be the same width. If you have a very large headboard such as on a king size bed, you might get away with having a bedside lamp that is only slightly larger than half of the headboard.

How high should bedside lamps be above a nightstand?

The general rule of thumb is to have the light source above your head when you’re lying in bed. The exact height of the lamp will depend on the size and height of your nightstand, as well as your personal preference. For example, a tall nightstand would require a taller lamp than a short one. Generally speaking, it’s best to have the bedside lamp be at least 27 inches above your nightstand.

Other Considerations

When choosing bedroom lamps, consider the size and shape of the lamp shade. A wider shade will cast a wider pool of light, while a narrower shade will focus the light in a smaller area. Additionally, consider the style and design of the lamp. If you’re going for a rustic look (as you should be!), a bedside lamp with a distressed wood or metal base and a natural linen or burlap shade may be more appropriate than a sleek modern lamp. Finally, consider the light bulb brightness and wattage. You don’t want a lamp that is too bright or dim; the difference with bedside lamps vs. floor lamps is that the bedside lamps will more often be in much closer proximity to you. This means you should strive to get the balance of bedside light correct, so as to not strain yourself while reading or blind yourself when waking up first thing in the morning!


In conclusion, choosing the right height for your nightstand lamp is an important part of creating the perfect ambiance in your bedroom. By considering the height of your nightstand and bed, the purpose of the lamp, and your personal preferences, you’ll be well on your way to selecting the perfect lamp height. And with a wide variety of lamp styles and designs available, you’re sure to find one that complements your rustic decor perfectly.