This post contains affiliate links, which means we may receive a small commission, at no additional cost to you, if you make a purchase through these links.
Why You Should Care About the Lighting Setup in Your Home Office
If you are working from home, then your home office is probably where you will be spending a good chunk of time each day. Creating the best home office lighting setup involves taking complete control to carefully select the right combination of lights sources and colors of light.
This guide for designing a home office lighting arrangement contains everything you need to know for choosing the best lighting in your work space.
Home Office Lighting Ideas
When deciding on proper lighting for a room, it is important to use a multi-layered approach to create a comfortable and functional work environment.
There are two primary types of lighting that you want to install in your new office: 1. Central ambient lighting which illuminates the entire room 2. Task targeted lighting that illuminates your work area and prevents eye strain.
Task lighting could be pendant lights, a floor lamp, or a small desk lamp for your computer, while ambient lights could be recessed lighting installed in the ceiling of your office space or a window letting natural light inside the room. A combination of the two types of functional lighting is required to avoid high contrast in your workspace.
Ambient Lighting ideas
Ambient lighting, or what is commonly called general lighting, serves as the principal source of light within a room. The role of this is to bring ceiling light into a room and create a beautiful atmosphere that makes a home inviting and comfortable.
It typically comes in the form of overhead lights or recessed lights, and creates the perfect balance between light and darkness to make the room feel as natural and smooth as possible.
Generally, this doubles as home office decor and comes in the form of overhead lighting recessed into the ceiling, wall lights, light fixtures attached to ceiling fans, or chandeliers with lights included (they are the type of lights that are wired into your walls and turned on with a light switch).
Task Lighting ideas
If you work in front of the computer screen a lot or spend hours reading or writing at your desk, then it is a good idea to invest in yourself by buying a nice desk lamp or floor lamp.
For your office desk, you need to check out a table lamp that is compact, durable, and emits sharp light to improve the accuracy and quality of your work. Floor lamps are quite effective as well.
Table lamps come in many sizes so that even modest-sized offices can be equipped with one. If you want to add a touch of style to your office or home, then there are many designer table lamps available.
However, if you are looking for something a little more affordable, here are VIRB Life’s top 3 recommended home office lighting ideas.
This touch desk lamp is designed to be soft, stable, and non-flickering. Additionally, it utilizes a continuous surface light source design that helps eliminate glare, visual fatigue, and improves visual effects on the computer monitor.
Ultra Wide with Flexible LED
This desk lamp has a uniquely engineered directed lighting design that fully diffuses the LED light. This means there will not be a glare on the monitor screen nor direct shining in your eyes. Another great feature of this desk lamp is that the brightness changes based on the amount of ambient light detected within the walls of the room.
Unlike routine lighting, bias lighting can be placed behind the computer monitor on your desk. This raises the surrounding light levels in your viewing area without shining toward your eyes or toward the screen itself. Not only is bias lighting good for your eyes, but it also adds an amazing dimension to your home office setup.
White light is best in terms of using it for working, but the LED strips that stick to the back of your monitor come in many colors. You can easily rotate between colors and modes using the in-line remote on the strip that attaches behind your monitor. Here is VIRB Life’s recommended Bias Lighting LED strip that is available on Amazon.
In a sense, it is a hybrid of ambient and task lighting. Because the light originates outside of the sight line of the viewer and is not in a direct path to reflect onto the screen, you get all the benefits of increased light in the room without the issues of a glare that is draining on your eyes.
Decorative or Accent Lighting
To deliver functional lighting, use a combination of ambient light with accent lighting in the room. Generally, fluorescent ceiling lights are too bright for use in your work space, but accent lights can help ease the contrast. Accents can be as simple as a table lamp you place in the corner of the office space, opposite your desk, or a modern floor lamp that provides enough illumination for your space.
Decorative and accent fixtures are great for both diffusing bright fluorescent lights and adding a modern, aesthetically pleasing touch to your work space. When you are thinking of new ideas for lighting your home office work space, one idea is to lay different fixtures on top of each other to make your office a work of art.
Most home offices make the most of the large yellow light bulb in the sky (aka the sun). Natural sunlight is a good source of ambient light during the morning and daytime, however, you will need dim artificial ambient lighting for your room in the evenings to make it feel more like a comfortable space.
To avoid create glare, it is recommended that the desk is positioned such that you are either facing the window or so that the windows are on either side. If you are sitting with your back to the window, then this can produce a very annoying glare on your computer monitor.
If your home office has multiple large windows along the exterior walls, then this may actually provide too much of a bright light source for the office space. If so, then it is recommended to adjust the amount of natural light in that room through the use of blinds, shades, or curtains. Sometimes this will even create enough illumination to reduce the need for ceiling light.
It is important to make the most of the natural light available because there is a strong relationship between workplace daylight exposure and sleep, activity, and quality of life, a 2013 study by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine found.
To reduce your risk of tiring your eyes by constantly focusing on your computer screen, it is recommended that you look away from your computer at least every 20 minutes and focus on a distant object (such as a tree across the street) for at least 20 seconds. Optometrists call this the 20-20-20 rule. Looking far away helps rest the focusing muscles inside your eyes.
The Different Types of Light
One of the best options for your workplace is simply finding the right temperature. The spectrum goes from soft white (yellowish color) to daylight (like a cloudless day outside).
While preferences are mainly a matter of preference, these three ranges have different effects on sleep cycles, productivity, and mood. Warm Lighting is relaxing which helps people relax and prepare for sleep. Cool White and Daylight contain blue spectra which helps place people in a more productive and attentive mood.
A warm yellowish light that creates a smooth, intimate, and relaxing feel. These light bulbs are great for reading a book or sipping on a cup of coffee in the morning.
A cool light that creates a neat, clean, and efficient feel. These light bulbs are great for home offices and supermarkets.
A blueish white light that resembles the brightness of a walk in the park at noon during a cloudless day. These light bulbs are great for jewelry stores and hospitals.
Overall, a cool white light is recommended for home offices. This temperature will promote alertness and focus on the task at hand. Soft white may cause drowsiness, while daylight is a harsh light that can cause headaches from the high intensity.
How Bright Should the Lights Be?
Computer Monitor Brightness
The brightness is equally crucial and should correspond to the ambient lighting of the room, so not too bright nor too dim. For example, if you are doing computer work after dark and the ambient lighting has been dimmed with your dimmer switch, then it is important to decrease the bright setting on your laptop and/or computer monitor.
You should be able to determine what level to use solely based on your eye comfort level. However, this guide provides a helpful framework for determining how bright your monitor should be.
Dark Mode vs. Light Mode on Your Computer Monitor
The research is still inconclusive on whether a light background or dark background is better for your eyes when working on your computer. In general, people have found a white background to be easy on the eyes during the day when the room is brightest. Then a black background works better in the evenings when the room is naturally dimmer.
Bottom Line Recap
Closing out our discussion of home office lighting ideas, being able to adjust your light level throughout the day is ideal for the eyes and helps improve focus. It may take some time to figure out which lighting is best for a home office.
All in all, the right lighting can drastically improve the quality of your home office experience. Just make sure you set it up so that you reduce glare and effectively balance ambient lights and task lights.