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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 carefully selecting the right combination of lights sources and colors of light is important for ensuring your eye health and your general ability to work in this space for hours at a time.
We have looked at some of the best ideas for optimizing your home office lighting for both reading a book and working on your computer. The key is to avoid glares from direct light sources on your desk, while ensuring the entire room has an ample amount of ambient lighting.
This guide for designing a home office lighting arrangement contains everything you need to know for choosing the best lighting in your home office.
Types of Light Sources for Your Home Office
When deciding how to light up a room, it is important to use a multi-layered approach to create a comfortable and functional home office.
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 a small desk lamp for your computer, while ambient lights could be recessed lights installed in the ceiling of your office or a window letting natural light inside the room. A combination of the two types of lighting is required to avoid high contrast in your workspace.
Ambient lighting, or what is commonly called as general lighting, serves as the principal source of light within a room. The role of ambient lighting is to bring light into a room and create a beautiful atmosphere that makes a home inviting and comfortable.
In this way, it creates the perfect balance between light and darkness to make the lighting of the room feel as natural and smooth as possible.
It should be soft to avoid glare and unwanted shadows, provide relatively even illumination throughout the room, reduce contrast on computer monitors, and bring light to walls and to the ceiling.
Generally, ambient lighting comes in the form of overhead lighting recessed into the ceiling, 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).
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 to idea to invest in yourself by buying a nice desk lamp. The right desk lamps can help you by reducing eye strain.
For your office desk, you need a lamp that is compact, durable, and emits sharp light to improve the accuracy and quality of your work.
Desk lamps come in many sizes, so that even modest-sized offices can be equipped with a small desk lamp. 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 three recommended desk lamps for creating effective task and bias lighting in your home office.
This touch desk lamp is designed to be soft, stable, and a non-flickering light. Additionally, it utilizes a continuous surface light source design that helps eliminate glare, visual fatigue, and improve visual effects on the computer monitor.
An added benefit is that it can be dimmed to three different settings, which works for working both during the daytime and when it is dark outside.
Ultra Wide with Flexible LED Desk Lamp
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 light shining in your eyes.
Another great feature of this desk lamp is that the brightness changes based on the amount of ambient light detected in 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 light 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 lighting modes using the in-line remote on the strip that attaches behind your monitor. Here is VIRB Life’s recommended Bias Lighting LED light strip that is available on Amazon.
In a sense, it is a hybrid of ambient lighting 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
Functionally, the combination of ambient light with accent lighting in the room helps to avoid eye strain, which can lead to drowsiness and headaches. Generally, fluorescent ceiling lights are too bright for use in a home office, but accent lights can help ease the contrast. Accent lighting can be as simple as a table lamp you place in the corner of the room, opposite of your desk.
Decorative and accent light fixtures are great for both diffusing bright fluorescent lights and adding a modern, well-designed touch to your home office. When you are thinking of new ideas for lighting your home office, one idea is to lay different lighting fixtures on top of each other to make your office a work of art.
One of the easiest ways to find the right lighting for your office is to make the most of the large yellow light bulb in the sky (aka the sun). Natural light is a good source of ambient light for the room during the morning and daytime, however you will need dim artificial ambient lighting for your room in the evenings.
To avoid 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 bright light for the room. If this is the case, then it is recommended to adjust the amount of natural lighting in that room through the use of blinds, shades, or curtains.
Another benefit to having a window in your home office is to make it easier to exercise your eyes. 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. Some optometrists call this the 20-20-20 rule. Looking far away relaxes the focusing muscle inside the eye.
The Different Types of Light
One of the best lighting options for your workplace is simply finding the right light temperature. The spectrum goes from soft white (yellowish color) to daylight (like a cloudless day outside).
While lighting preferences are mainly a matter of preference, these three ranges of light have different effects on sleep cycle, productivity, and mood. Warm Light 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 lights 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 lights 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 lights are great for jewelry stores and hospitals.
Overall, a cool white light is recommended for your home office. This light temperature will promote alertness and focus on the task at hand. Soft white may cause drowsiness, while daylight can cause the dreaded eye strain from the high intensity of the light.
How Bright Should the Lights Be?
The brightness of a desk lamp is mainly due to the type of light bulb, but some desk lamps have switches that can be used to adjust the brightness level. This adjustability is an important feature, as it allows you to adjust the lighting to your mood, time of day and even the room temperature.
Computer Monitor Brightness
The brightness should correspond to the ambient lighting of the room, so not too bright nor too dim. For example, if you are working after dark and the ambient lighting has been dimmed, then it is important to decrease the brightness setting on your laptop and/or computer monitor.
You should be able to determine what level of brightness work for you 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.
If the task on hand is focused on reading long texts, then a white background is typically preferred. Just note that a 100% contrast (white on a black background) can be harder to read and cause more eye strain.
Bottom Line Lighting Recap
Being able to adjust light levels throughout the day is ideal for the eyes and promotes productivity. It may take some time to figure out which lighting is best for a home office, especially if the lighting is new to you.
Desk lamps come in many sizes, so even modest-sized offices can be equipped with a small desk lamp. If you want to add a touch of style to your office or home, there are many designer table lamps available. It is up to you to make sure you find the right desk lamp for you that fits your space and meets all your needs.
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 avoid glares and effectively balance ambient light and task lights.