Choose the Right Lighting for a Home Office
Choosing the right lighting for your home office is an essential - but often overlooked - task. Offices commonly need to multitask as a spot to work, read, catch up on emails, and even relax. Lighting has a profound effect on the mood and functionality of the room, from creating ambience to reducing eyestrain. To get the most of out of your office, layer your lighting to create a comfortable space that can be easily adjusted throughout the day. From window treatments that help you adjust the natural light to overhead lighting and lamps that fill the room and illuminate your tasks, check out these handy home office lighting ideas.
Evaluate the Room
Whether you use your office once a week for paying bills or everyday for hours at a time, a stretegic lighting plan makes all the difference. Start by taking a good look at how natural light affects the room at different times of day. Note where the shadows fall and think about how you intend to use the space. Keep in mind how the direction of the lighting could produce a glare on your computer screen. Is there a better way to arrange your furniture? Or could a mix of curtains, shades and drapes control the glare as needed?
Overhead lighting can be tricky. For example, a poorly placed spotlight can create an annoying glare, but a lack of overhead lighting can be just as distracting. Plus, overhead lighting doesn’t just complement your natural lighting and establish the room’s overall lighting level. It also presents an opportunity for you to add some style to your home office and create new focal points with your decor. For example, recessed lighting works well, but it can create hot spots and an unimaginative look. Instead, incorporate a flushmount ceiling light, an elegant chandelier or a sleek pendant to complement the decor of the office and illuminate your work space.
Pro tip: pendants and chandeliers should hang in the center of the room, at least 6 feet above your finished floors.
Stay on Task
Task lights are essential to ensuring ample lighting in your work area, which reduces eyestrain and helps alleviate the sleepy feeling that can creep up in a dimly-lit room. Choose simple fixtures with clean lines and a base that doesn’t take up too much space on your desk. Ideally, look for task lighting options with an adjustable head and arm so that you can adjust as needed. Placement is another important factor. In the wrong spot, a task light can create distracting shadows or an irritating glare. Place the lamp on the side of your desk that’s opposite from your dominant hand, as placing a lamp on the same side creates shadows as you write.
Pro tip: opt for LED light bulbs. Not only are they eco-friendly, but they’ll also help to avoid the heat generated by incandescent bulbs.
Add the Finishing Touches
Well-placed decorative or accent lights highlight specific areas and contribute towards the overall ambiance of the room. Use track lighting with adjustable downlights placed 24" from the wall to put a spotlight on prized artwork and architectural features in the room. Add a soft, warm glow with decorative wall sconces placed near your seating area.
Don’t forget the lightbulbs. Choose bulbs that have a similar temperature to give the office a balanced look and ambiance. For example, if your overhead light has incandescent bulbs, choose warm LED bulbs for your task lighting for a cohesive effect that works with all of your home office lighting.