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A Guide to: Reading Lighting

5 July 2024

In recent years more and more people are making space in their homes for designated reading nooks or areas. Although people's first thoughts are the required furniture, specifically seating, the lighting you choose to accompany you while diving into a good book is crucial. There are a range of applications that can be used for reading lighting, as well as a vast collection of styles that can suit almost anybody's personal preference.

We are here to talk you through the overwhelming concept of optimising your reading lighting, including technical information, our recommended applications and some of our best sellers in the category!

Muuto Dedicate S2 LED Wall Light

The Importance of Reading Lighting

There has been a clear rise in the popularity of reading over the past five years, with many of us spending our evenings tucked up with a good book. The ideal reading environment is a cosy corner, in a comfortable armchair and a place for your favourite hot drink. But many people overlook how much your lighting can effect the ambience of this experience. High-quality reading lighting will generate a lovely little area where you can curl up with your favourite book.

A good reading lamp is an essential element for avid readers and people who spend extended periods reading or studying. Your reading lamp should provide sufficient illumination and enhance reading pleasure. Choosing the right lamp can also improve productivity and concentration levels, making it an ideal investment for those who value their time and work.

Axolight Bul-Bo Table Lamp

In such a fast-paced world reading is a way that many people use to calm down at the end of a long day, or to unwind during their weekend, so it's important that you don't take a joyous hobby and turn it into something that feels more like a task. Adequate reading lighting is an important aspect of this experience - even when you are using an e-reader! Although it is easy to overlook sufficient lighting when using something such as a Kindle, due to the fact it is backlit, it can actually be even more important in order to protect your eyes.

Reading lighting is not only important for a cosy and inviting reading space, but it is also important to protect you and your eyes. Reading in poor lighting can cause not only eye strain but also headaches and quickly diminish the enjoyment you are searching for.

How to Choose the Right Reading Light for You


The brightness of your lighting solution is the most important aspect to consider for reading. The illumination should be bright enough that it functions as task lighting, but without creating a harsh environment that you are unable to relax in.

The brightness of a lamp is measured in lumens, and it is recommended to choose a lamp with at least 400-500 lumens for reading. However, the brightness can vary depending on the size of the reading material, where the lighting solution is placed and the existing lighting conditions of the room it will be used. Choosing a lighting solution that has an integrated dimmer switch will help you adapt the brightness to suit your individual needs.

Colour Temperature

Many people mistakenly order the incorrect colour temperature for reading. Higher temperatures such as 4000K will appear too white and harsh for longer periods of time, whereas 2700K may appear too yellow and cause eye strain. We have found that a temperature of 3000K is a perfect solution for reading lighting, generating a cosy ambience whilst still providing functionality and protecting your eyes.


Your desired lighting application will differ based on where you are most likely to be reading. There is a selection of popular reading applications:

  • Wall Lights
  • Floor Lamps
  • Table Lamps
  • Portable Lamps

If you prefer to read in bed then an adjustable table lamp is more than likely ideal for you, whereas if you have a dedicated armchair that fits all your reading nook goals then a taller floor lamp or wall lamp will be a great fit. For somebody who enjoys reading on the go or in a peaceful garden or park then a portable lamp may be just what you need. Let us talk you through the above applications and allow you to decide which you think is the best fit for your own needs!

Different Types of Reading Lights

Le Klint 224 Wall Light

Wall Lights

Wall lights can be a great option for reading lighting, especially as they take up little space. These are an ideal solution for people who enjoy reading in bed, positioning your wall light above your headboard can result in soft, even illumination without creating any glare or shadows, and can work well as task lighting. The ideal output for wall lights for reading is 400-800 lumens. Within this range, a wall sconce can provide focused lighting without overpowering the entire space.

However, being fixed at the point of installation, wall lights require careful consideration to ensure they are positioned correctly - as they are not as easy to relocate as other applications such as table and floor lamps.

Santa & Cole TMC Floor Lamp

Floor Lamps

Floor lamps are a great addition to a reading nook or a variety of other areas where you enjoy reading. Due to the height, floor lamps easily cast a downward glow onto you and your book, resulting in an evenly dispersed glow. They provide a full-spectrum illumination that is perfect for creating a cosy atmosphere. A floor lamp with 1000-2000 lumens output is ideal for reading. This allows ample light to shine down onto your book when seated.

Floor lamps are also available in a wide range of styles, allowing them to be easily coordinated with your decor and personal style.

HAY PC Portable Lamp

Table Lamps & Portables

Table lamps are one of the most popular reading lights, used on desks as task lighting for studying and also in more casual settings for recreational reading. Many table lamps feature an adjustable shade or arm, which is ideal in such a setting, this allows you to direct the illumination directly onto the pages of your book and move it as you feel fit.

Portable Lamps offer all of the benefits of a Table Lamp, but with the bonus of requiring no wires. This means you can manoeuver the lighting solution to different rooms, providing portability. Many portables are also IP-rated meaning they can be used in exterior settings for reading in your garden during warm summer evenings.

Table and Portable Lamps often have adjustable brightness levels so you can customise the lighting to your needs, this allows you to switch from brighter task lighting to a cosier dimmed illumination for late-night reading before bed.

Our Reading Lighting Collection

No matter what your cosy reading nook requires, we can provide a wide range of lights that suit various interiors. Browse our curated collection of reading lights and successfully elevate your reading experience, whilst also protecting your eyes.

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