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How To

How to choose a nightstand light

5 steps for picking the perfect nightstand light for you and your home

Written by Gantri Editorial Team

Oct 11, 2020

Carve Table Light by Ammunition 

Choosing the perfect nightstand light can be challenging. From cramped layouts and overflowing bedside tables to conflicting activities between partners, it can be difficult to settle on the perfect pair of lights. Thankfully, Gantri offers nightstand lights that can stylishly respond to all activity types, personal styles and space constraints. Follow below for five steps to finding the perfect nightstand light, suited specifically for you and your lighting needs.  

1. Identify your nighttime activities

“Do I really need a nightstand light?” is a bit of a trick question. If you sit up in bed late into the small hours of the morning typing away at your computer or reading books only from your tablet, you might think a nightstand light is unnecessary. After all, both your tablet and laptop are fully self-illuminating. However, combining external sources of light with the harsh blue light of devices is crucial to eye health, even if you do not think you need the extra light to read or work.

Doctors of Optometry Gary Heiting, OD, and Larry K. Wan, OD write in their article “Computer eye strain: 10 steps for relief” for that using a Floor Light, Wall Light, or task lighting “that provide[s] indirect "soft white" LED lighting” in conjunction with the blue light that emanates from computers and other electronic devices is vital to preventing eye strain caused when you look around a dark room after staring at a bright screen. Even if you only study, read, work or watch movies on a screen -- rather than working from paper files or books -- you still need a nightstand light.

If you frequently tuck into bed with a good book or flip through a fun magazine at night, you might think the bendy clip-in reading light you attach to the page is good enough. Concerns about waking your partner might have prevented you from purchasing a reading light for your nightstand in the past, but Gantri’s contemporary Wall Lights and Table Lights are all equipped with dimmers. This makes them soft enough to use while your partner is sleeping but still bright enough to protect your eyes from damage that can be caused by poor lighting. No matter what your nighttime activities are, a nightstand light is key to engaging in them without affecting your eye health.

2. Assess how much space you have

Whether or not you have a nightstand next to your bed should not dictate if you can read before you go to sleep. Many rooms, especially those in small apartments in urban environments, are not large enough to accommodate an adult-sized bed and still allow a nightstand to be squeezed alongside it. When space is limited, consider a Wall Light or Table Light for your late-night or early morning reading needs. When using a Wall Light for reading, it should be mounted to the side of the bed’s headboard -- and slightly above if the board is higher than a foot above the mattress.

However, if your bedroom is cramped and your headboard soars high above your mattress, consider mounting the Wall Light on the opposite wall. This is the perfect choice for beds that are sandwiched between two walls, because the user can easily reach the light’s cord or switch without reaching so far they fall out of bed. For a nightstand light that is mounted to a perpendicular wall, be sure to choose a downward-directed Wall Light like the Carve Wall Light or the Gio Wall Light, as an outward-directed Wall Light might flood your partner’s side of the bed with too much light as they try to sleep.  

3. Consider how you use your nightstand

Is your nightstand constantly covered with books or so small it can only handle a glass of water? Even if you can fit a nightstand next to your bed, you might have filled it with other necessities leaving little to no room for a nightstand light on the tabletop. In this case, consider mounting a Wall Light above your bed. With articles across the web recommending you keep your nightstand fully stocked with headphones, an alarm clock and an eye mask, space intended for a much-needed nightstand light can quickly become relegated to a tiny quarter on the far side of your nightstand.

For such a small-space situation, consider a daintier Table Light than is typical and be sure to choose one without a large shade. If your nightstand is consumed by other objects that you frequently reach for during the night, having a nightstand light with a large, overarching shade can lead to disaster. Reaching for your glasses or moisturizer in the middle of the night could mean catching your forearm on the shade and tumbling the whole light off the nightstand.

Make sure to pick out a safe nightstand light that is simultaneously small and well-balanced to avoid tip-overs. Just seven inches wide at the top, the Word Table Light by Dims. is ideal for that last couple inches of space on a crowded nightstand. If your nightstand is a bit too high for your bed, consider a short, stout nightstand light instead of the taller lights that are typically recommended. At just 9.5 inches tall, the Cantilever Table Light by Louis Filosa is perfect for a too-tall nightstand.

4. Decide whether you need directed or ambient light

Do you spend your evenings cuddled up in bed with a good book or catching up on episodes of your favorite show on your laptop? If reading from a book or book-sized tablet, you might prefer a directed Table Light like the Carve Table Light by Ammunition as your nightstand light. Passively watching TV from your laptop, however, might be best aided by light from a Wall Light like the Signal Wall Light by Ammunition or a Table Light with a round, fully illuminated body rather than a capped light source. For the latter, you might consider the Balloon Table Lamp by Chris Granneberg, available through Gantri, as it offers soft, dimmable light all the way around the Table Light’s body.

If your needs fall somewhere in between, consider the Pyrasphere Table Light by Louis Filosa, which is somewhat directable but also offers ambient light with its almost-spherical shade. No matter which style of nightstand light you choose, make sure to pick one with dimmable LED bulbs. Dimmable nightstand lights make reading in the early morning or late at night easier -- especially if your bed is positioned near a window -- by changing to respond to the levels of natural light that enter the room.

5. Don’t be afraid to mix and match

If your partner’s lighting needs are different than yours, try a mis-matched pair of nightstand lights. Maybe your partner loves to craft in bed, requiring a nightstand light with a wider footprint, while you prefer a gentle but directed light that will reach only a few inches so you can read a book or flip through a magazine at night. In this case, your partner might be best served by the Maskor Table Light by Muka Design Lab or the Signal Wall Light by Ammunition. Both lights offer wide swaths of diffused light, easily flooding the area with enough light to work by without overwhelming your partner’s eyes.

Your perfect nightstand light, however, might be the Gio Task Light with a footprint of 3.3 inches. To keep your bedroom’s decor seamlessly integrated, consider purchasing both nightstand lights from the same company or designer -- the Signal Wall Light is also by Ammunition.

Whether you are searching for the perfect single nightstand light for yourself, or a matching -- or mis-matching -- pair for both yourself and your partner, Gantri will meet your needs with its wide array of Wall Lights and Table Lights. As each light is fitted with LED bulbs and a dimmer switch, you are sure to find a nightstand light ideally suited to your bedroom, no matter its size or style.