Home Office Essentials: Office Lighting

September 21, 2013

Home Office Essentials: Office Lighting

When you think about ways to improve your work productivity, changing up your lighting might not be the first thing that comes to mind. But the quantity and quality of lighting for your home office can have a big impact on your ability to get things done.

But no single light can create the ideal illumination for every job at hand. To ensure your office is well-illuminated, you’ll need multiple lighting sources. Mix a few of the following lighting types together to create a great place to get things done.

Overhead Lighting

Also known as ambient lighting, overhead lights illuminate your entire office space. They provide sufficient light to work and ensure your ability to move around safely while creating a bright, welcoming space. Common sources of overhead lighting include ceiling-mounted fixtures using incandescent bulbs or fluorescent lighting tube fixtures.

While ceiling-mounted fixtures do a good job of illuminating a space, they tend to cast shadows and may not provide the brightness required for detail-oriented jobs, which is why you shouldn’t rely only on your ceiling light in your home office.

Task Lighting

As its name suggests, task lighting gives you focused, intense illumination so you can perform specific jobs, such as reading, writing, and working on the computer. Task lighting options include desk lamps, floor lamps, and pendant lights.

Proper positioning of task lighting is the key to its effectiveness. When you’re doing paperwork, for example, shine the light directly where you will be working. But avoid placing a task light where it will cast light directly onto your computer screen, as this can cause glare and eye strain.

Task lighting should not be used in lieu of overhead lighting, particularly if the room lacks natural light. That extreme contrast can tire your eyes.

Accent Lighting

Spotlights, decorative light fixtures and wall sconces may not provide a great deal of usable light, but they do lend atmosphere to your home office and can add to the room’s overall design. Dimmer lighting switches are included in this category and can be adjusted according to the task at hand. For instance, if you are talking on the phone in your home office and don’t need a great deal of light, you may want to rest your eyes by dimming the lights and using the accent lighting.

Natural lighting

If there are windows or skylights in your home office, plan to use the light they bring into the room to your advantage. First, arrange the room so that your computer monitor won’t get glare from the light coming in, or choose  window treatments that will let you control how much light you’re exposed to during the day (this is particularly important for  windows with unobstructed southern or western exposure,  whereas northern or eastern exposures can often get by with sheer curtains or adjustable blinds).


Now that you know the secrets to lighting up your office space, use these illumination tactics to create an eye-catching, productive work environment.

What’s your biggest challenge when it comes to arranging your home office?

Julie Bawden-Davis

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