Best Mounting Height for Swing-Arm Lamps
Getting the correct height for these bedside fixtures is crucial, says our expert.
Two individually dimmed recessed adjustable fixtures provide pinpoint reading light from above.
Randall, what is the correct mounting height for swing-arm lamps?
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 ( as an example.
Randall Whitehead, IALD

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 for more information on books, upcoming seminars and the latest lighting trends.

Leave A Comment

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>

More information about formatting options

By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.

Latest from ask randall

I would go with the 3W version and install it with a dimmable driver/transformer so that you can raise or lower the light level. I don’t think the 1.... read full story
Dang, I keep getting UL questions. I wish I could give you a more “don’t shoot the messenger” answer. The only way to get UL listing is to have the... read full story
I’m so glad that you’re installing side lighting at the mirrors in the fitting rooms. Overhead downlighting casts harsh shadows on people’s faces,... read full story
I would find a nice large pendant to go over the dining room table that complements the fixtures in the kitchen, but doesn’t match them. If you have... read full story


Wednesday, December 7, 2016 Sponsored by Legrand, Lightovation and Rev-A-Shelf. Register for this webinar here: read full story
This webinar has already taken place, but you can register and watch in on demand here. Sponsored by Legrand. Webinar Overview:Learning units:AIA/CES LU (HSW) 1.0... read full story
This webinar has already taken place, but you can still watch it on demand by registering here. Sponsored by Emerson and Legrand. Webinar Overview: Learning units:AIA/... read full story

RL Tweets!

E-mail Subscriptions