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 lighting designer
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.

Lastest from ask randall

Ah yes, it is easier to hang from the chandeliers when they're within easy reach. This is a dilemma most people wish they had. You have a wonderfully... read full story
I would put the two fixtures on separate dimmers, especially since I suspect that the sconces will be incandescent, while the overhead light is LED.... read full story
There is a little bit of give and take, but the standard mounting height is 36 inches from the countertop to the bottom of the light fixture. You... read full story
My suggestion is to use a long vertical fixture that would be appropriate for both a sitting position at the vanity and while standing at the sink.... read full story


Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2-3 p.m. EST Sponsored by Kuzco Lighting. Register for this free CEU webinar by clicking here. Webinar Overview:Learning units:AIA/CES LU (HSW) 1.0... read full story
Sponsored by Bock Lighting, CSL, Fanimation, Pure Lighting/Edge Lighting and USA LED Lighting Solutions.   Wednesday, June 10, 2-3 p.m. EDT This free CEU webinar has... read full story
Sponsored by Emerson, Ferguson and Pure Lighting/Edge Lighting. This free CEU webinar has already taken place, but you can watch the archived presentation on-demand by... read full story

RL Tweets!