Few people realize just how much light can affect their mood, their work, the cycles of their day, and the role it plays in the spaces we inhabit.
Since not all home offices are equipped with windows or natural light, choosing the best light bulbs for home offices becomes critical to creating an environment that is conducive to work.
The best light bulbs for your home office are those that serve the purpose you need them to. It’s important to think about what tone you want to set when working from home.
Do you prefer a warm and cozy surrounding? Or are you more productive in an office-orientated environment?
Creating a home office with good lighting is hugely important for productivity and eye health. At home, it can be difficult to get the lighting just right, especially if you work in the evenings. This article will help you figure out the best light bulbs for your home office.
There are a few rules to follow when selecting the best lightbulb to go with for working from home. We’ll take you through the different types, color tones, and temperatures and what features to keep an eye out for.
Types of Light Bulbs for Home Offices
There are four main types of lightbulbs that you’ll most likely have to choose from when setting up lighting for your home office:
- Light-Emitting Diodes (LED)
- Compact Fluorescent (CFL)
Incandescent Office Lights
Ah yes, the old standby. Incandescent bulbs have been around since the days of Edison, and produce light by emitting energy in the form of heat. The light you see from an incandescent bulb is actually a burning hot filament. But like any flame, incandescent bulbs are known for the heat they emit – which is both less safe and far less energy efficient than some of the alternatives.
LED Office Lights
LEDs have come a LONG way – even in the past 3 years. What used to be expensive, bright, blue light sources are now flexible, dimmable, and come in a variety of color temperatures.
LEDs are by far the most energy-efficient, so if you’re looking to keep your electricity bills down, they are the best bet. LEDs also provide consistent lighting and can achieve a wide range of color temperature, which we’ll get around to in the next part of this post.
CFL Office Lights
If you have memories of long tubular lights flickering in the cafeteria at school or in a creepy basement or attic, you have likely seen a compact fluorescent lightbulb. CFL lightbulbs can achieve a wide color temperature range, but some people have reported getting headaches from them. They often flicker, so if you’re planning on using your light for a long period of time, CFL lightbulbs are not ideal.
Halogen Office Lights
Track lights with smaller bulbs – like the kind you might find in an art gallery – typically use halogen bulbs. These cylindrical or conically-shaped bulbs are filled with gases that, when combined with electricity, emit a light – not too unlike incandescent bulbs. The main difference is that the gases inside the bulb are used to extend the lifespan of the bulb. This is great for longevity, but not so much for the environment.
In fact, the United Kingdom recently banned the sale of halogen bulbs due to their negative impact on the environment. The same fate is expected for CFLs starting in 2023.
Selecting Light Bulb Color Temperatures for Home Offices
Color temperatures in lightbulbs are known as the Kelvin levels. But William Thomas was a “bass-akwards” kind of guy: the higher a Kelvin level, the cooler the color temperature will be.
Most office designers recommend a “bright white” color temperature for your home office. You should be looking for color temperatures of between 4000K and 5000K to achieve the recommended temperature.
Standard LED light bulbs can easily achieve these Kelvin levels. They also give off a calming blue color tone which is ideal for productivity. You should note that the sunlight given off over the midday period is around 5000K. Natural sunny light is the best for working and has also been proven to improve your mood.
Warm White: 2700-3300K
Incandescent and halogen bulbs emit a warm light by default. These more yellow tones are ideal for cozy living spaces like bedrooms and living rooms, and give off an inviting feel. Consider if a warm light is what you need
Bright or Daylight White: 4200-5500K
For most employees working daytime hours, bright or daylight color temperatures are ideal for a home office. They provide crisp and clear color waves, perfect for reading and taking notes.
Cool White: 5500-10,000K
While some bulbs and color-changing smart bulbs fall into the coolest blue category, we wouldn’t recommend them for extended periods of time. Though the “blue light blocking glasses” rage of 2020 has somewhat subsided, many knowledge workers still swear by them to the reduce strain of prolonged screen time on the eyes. That’s because light coming off a monitor is mostly cool white. Adding more cool light to your home office may strain eyes even further.
Brightness Matters: Dimmable vs. Non-Dimmable Office Bulbs
Most LED bulbs these days have a dimmable setting. If you’re looking for a space that can be transformed, LEDs are the way to go. Dimmable lighting is adaptable to any time of day. Perhaps, you’ll want to start your morning coffee in dim, warm light or increase the brightness of your overhead light as the day gets later.
Most people prefer to work with dimmable lights as it gives them more control over their working surroundings.
Non-dimmable lights are good if you work in a space that does not have natural light. A non-dimmable bulb will provide you with a consistent source of light throughout the day and night.
If you work in a space with no natural light, you need to be disciplined enough to switch off at a good time and take breaks. It’s easy to get sucked into working long hours when you can’t see outside. Aside from fresh air, being outside helps your body recognize and sync with light from the natural world.
Single Light Source vs. Multiple
Most lighting specialists recommend having more than one light source for a home office. To work productively, an overhead source of light is a must. This ambient source will also ensure your eyes are not overly strained.
The most common home office lighting setup is a single light source, like one ceiling light attached to a light switch by the door. Adding a desk lamp for the evenings, a natural source of light like a window, and a general light is the best way for you to ensure you’re getting the right amount of lighting for the time you are at work.
Color-Changing and Smart Light Bulbs
Smart lightbulbs are ideal for tech-savvy home workers. Smart bulbs are internet-connected devices that can link to your home assistants, such as Amazon Alexa or Google Home. They can be voice-activated which means you can speak to turn them on and off, or to dim them. Setting smart bulbs can be set on a schedule.
Most smart bulbs come with a color-changing feature. They can be set to mimic the lighting outside throughout the course of the day, giving you the same lighting as if you were sat out in the garden.
These bulbs are a great idea if you want to monitor your time and sign off at a reasonable hour in the evenings. If you have a habit of letting your work spill over into your personal time, set a smart bulb like the Lenovo Smartbulb Gen 2 (Color) to turn on at a pre-determined time. This will give you a visual indication that it’s time to set the keyboard aside and go make some dinner.
With many of us working from home these days, getting properly set up in your home office is important. The lighting you use is a huge factor in productivity and your overall visual and psychological well-being.