Shopping for Clamp Lamps – The New York Times

When you need more light in a room but you don’t want to hire an electrician to install a hard-wired fixture and there’s no place to put a table lamp, there’s an easy fix: the clamp lamp.

Clipped to the edge of a desk, bookshelf, wall shelf, headboard or just about any other hard surface, it quickly brings illumination to an awkward, dark corner.

“The real beauty is in its versatility,” said Max Worrell, a partner at the New York-based architecture firm Worrell Yeung. “It can be super focused on a task at a desk, but also has the ability to shine up or against a wall for more general, diffuse lighting. That’s really compelling.”

Even the celebrated architect Luis Barragán used articulating clamp lamps in his Mexico City house, Mr. Worrell noted, where they provided adjustable lighting on shelves, tables and walls.

With a clamp lamp, “the function of the light can be adapted to the person,” he said, no matter “how they want to experience the light.”


  • How adjustable is it? Different models slide, swivel and articulate in different ways, Mr. Worrell said, so consider whether the lamp has enough flexibility for your needs.

  • Where is the switch? “Sometimes the switch is on the cord, which can be a little problematic,” he said. “Others have it at the socket.”

  • Is the clamp big enough? “Some have more of a binder-clip-type attachment,” Mr. Worrell said, “which might be limiting.” Screw-based models offer a larger bite.


LED clamp lamp by Industrial Facility for Wastberg

$205 at Horne: 877-404-6763 or shophorne.com

Adjustable steel lamp designed by Bernard-Albin Gras in 1921

From $520 at YLighting: 855-548-9339 or ylighting.com


Lamp with bone-china shade

$299 at Original BTC: 646-759-9007 or originalbtc.com


Steel clamp lamp with optional wall mount

About $16 at Ikea: 888-888-4532 or ikea.com


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