Best Mounting Height for Swing-Arm Lamps

Randall Whitehead, IALD, is a professional lighting designer and author. His books include "Residential Lighting, A Practical Guide." Whitehead has worked on projects worldwide, appeared on the Discovery Channel, HGTV and CNN, and he is regular guest on Martha Stewart Living Radio. Visit his website www.randallwhitehead.com for more information on books, upcoming seminars and the latest lighting trends.

Getting the correct height for these bedside fixtures is crucial, says our expert.

Q.: Randall, what is the correct mounting height for swing-arm lamps?

A.: Swing-arm lamps can be a very flexible source of illumination that doesn’t take up space on bedside tables. Mounting them at the correct height is critical, however. If they are too high, they will be a source of glare. If they are too low, the client may have to slump into an uncomfortable position to read.

The best way to find the correct mounting height is to have your clients get into bed and hunker down against the pillows in their normal reading position. Then measure from the floor to just above their shoulder height because the optimum spot to position task lighting is between head and work surface. People sharing a bed may nest in at different heights. Some compromise should be made on both sides, so the reading lights can be mounted at matching heights. I prefer a reading light that adjusts both vertically and horizontally.

Look at the Estiluz A-1136 (www.estiluz.com) as an example.

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