Reading lamp / floor lamp wanted
March 4, 2012 8:44 PM   Subscribe

Please help me find a better reading lamp.

I am looking for two reading lamps, the kind that stand on the floor. Currently I have cheap Ikea lamps (similar to this one). The problem is that when one is angled to put the perfect light on the page (and zero in your face) it ends up pointed across the room and bothers the other person. Multiply by two lamps and two serious readers who like to spend the evening sitting across from each other, and you can see that this is not an ideal situation.

When I've tried lights like this, the light seems too much downward and not enough forward onto the page -- maybe it works well if you are in a really vertical chair, but in a relaxed position with your feet up in front of you and the book held at about a 45 degree angle, I haven't made it work.

To the extent that matters, I prefer modern design (think DWR and Apartment Therapy), but I can live with an ugly light if it puts the perfect light on my book and keeps the glare out of both my own and the other person's eyes. Cost is flexible -- I was going to say cost was no issue but then I found a bunch of lights like this that cost more than I knew a light could.

I own the house, so I am open to suggestions that involve chainsawing a hole in the roof or rewiring the room -- is track lighting on the ceiling the way to go? LEDs clipped to my ears?

tl;dr: Help restore marital harmony: find me two reading lights that can be used across from each other, by two people in recliners, without making anyone think they are in an interrogation room.
posted by Forktine to Home & Garden (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'm a big fan of halogen table lamps that are angleable so that you can put it on a table next to you or behind you and read just fine without blinding the other person. The ones I use are somewhat like this and then have them a little behind you. This way you can turn them off when you're not reading and use whatever ambient lighting the room has but you can turn them on and really see what you're trying to read and the room can stay pleasantly dimmer.
posted by jessamyn at 9:00 PM on March 4, 2012

A low-budget solution:

affix two alligator clips to the ends of a piece of stiff wire, maybe a foot long. Clip one end onto the edge of your cheap IKEA lamp. Clip a piece of stiff cardboard to the other. Position the board to block the light from the other reader, while allowing it to shine on your own book the way you want.

Dress up the wire somehow [paint? heat-shrink tube?] and maybe use a sheet of dark-colored styrene instead of cardboard, and maybe it doesn't look too out-of-place. In any case, it could be removed when not in use.

Maybe a way to restore marital harmony while the search for the ideal light continues.
posted by chazlarson at 9:03 PM on March 4, 2012

I find that direct light doesn't always work so well for reading. I have a gooseneck lamp on my bedside table that I have angled to cast light on the wall behind me. That creates a pleasant, ambient light which is bright enough to read by but not glaring. Can you try that with your IKEA light? If you have very dark walls, it may not work so well.
posted by amanda at 9:10 PM on March 4, 2012

Response by poster: I'm a big fan of halogen table lamps

I had asked about floor lamps because that's what I have now, but now that I think about it there's no reason not to consider table lamps, too. Thanks.

I find that direct light doesn't always work so well for reading.

The walls aren't dark, but the layout of the room means that this won't work, except maybe by bouncing light off the ceiling. I'll definitely give it a try, but my preference has always been for direct light on a book.

A low-budget solution

Like the suggestion to consider table lamps, this opens up some ideas, thanks. Performing surgery on the existing lights might work, or at least help in figuring out what would work better.
posted by Forktine at 6:02 AM on March 5, 2012

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