With so many people working from home these days, setting up a good home office is an important part of working well. In fact, it’s the basic premise for this entire site. As you are planning or revamping your current home office, you might be wondering about the best home office lighting options for computer work.
There is a wide range of lighting options for your your home office, and all serve different purposes. In this post, we’re going to look at the different kinds of home office lighting and what they are useful for. This post will help you choose the best for your situation and the kind of work you do. Let’s dig in.
Why Is Good Lighting Useful For Home Office Work?
Good lighting is crucial to any workspace. It can put you in the mood to work and save you from bad eye strain and headaches. Good lighting can make it easier to get work well, and it makes the space much pleasanter to be in, boosting your mood and your productivity.
Types of Lighting For Home Offices
There are quite a few different kinds of lighting that you can install in your home office. The main categories of lighting we’ll cover in this post include:
- Windows and natural lighting
- Overhead and/or ceiling lights
- Lamps, spotlights, and directional lights
- Halo and ring lights
Windows and Natural Light
Sunlight is perhaps the greatest asset to any home office, regardless of where it’s located in the home. Natural light can invite into your home office, and you should make use of it as much as possible. However, if you’re working on a screen, you need to be aware of how it will affect your ability to see what you’re doing if the angle is wrong.
First, the diurnal cycle is the 24-hour light pattern created from a single rotation of the planet Earth around its axis. Warm hues in the mornings, bright cooler hues in the midday, and warm hues again in the evening help naturally moderate your body’s sleep cycle. As a result, natural light is known to boosts mood and productivity, making you feel better. It also great if you’re doing design work and need to see your work very clearly.
If you have the opportunity for windows to provide natural light, look into applying a light diffusing window covering. Translucent roller shades or cellular shades are great at reducing harsh direct light that can cast shadows.
Lastly, as many knowledge workers spend more time in front of a camera for virtual meetings with team members, natural light directly behind the computer monitor – and, therefore, video camera – helps illuminate faces. The combination of a window plus a diffusion source is bound to increase the video quality of your meetings.
- Color temperature automatically changes through the day
- Unreliable brightness levels (very sunny days, or cloudy/rainy days)
- Not good for direct exposure on screens (can cause glare)
Where to Position
Directly in front of or beside your desk, if possible; not directly behind.
Overhead Ceiling Lights
Most modern bedrooms and in-home office spaces have overhead lights or fans installed. Overhead lights are ideal for general purpose lighting. For optimal office lighting, aim for even overhead distribution, but try not to make overhead lights too intense. Dimmable LED switches are a nice, but sometimes, more expensive upgrade that allow you to determine how much ambient light you need in the space.
Incandescent or LED bulbs now offer a wide ride of color and energy usage options. When you select a bulb, pay close attention to the Kelvin measure, as this tells you what color temperature the light will be. Sunlight is 5,000 Kelvin. Lower Kelvin values can simulate warmer whites but typically aren’t as good for visual accuracy or productivity boosting. Warmer color temperatures over long periods of time can give you a headache. Aim for bulbs that fall into the 3,000-5,500 range, and choose a light shade that gently diffuses and spreads the light, rather than casting shadows.
- Even distribution throughout the room
- Won’t disturb computer work
- Not controllable or redirectable
- Not suitable for intricate or intense projects
- Throws shadows from you and other objects
Where to Position
Overhead with a diffusing shade, if possible.
Lamps, Spotlights, and Directional Lights
Next, think about close-up light for specific tasks. Where do you need a really good, bright light that you can angle and control? You are very likely to want a spotlight or lamp of some sort on your desk. You may also want to position a soft light behind your computer monitor, as this can reduce eye strain when using the computer at night.
Choose daylight-like bulbs for maximum accuracy when working on projects.
- Easy to turn on when needed
- Intense focus on a single thing
- Could cause eye strain or headaches if used too intensely
- Won’t create even light over the whole office
- Adds clutter to a desk
Where to Position
On your desk, within reach so you can position it easily at any point.
Halo & Ring Lights For Video
Ring lights are an important way to counteract and reduce shadows where you don’t want them. If you plan to use your home office for anything to do with video, photography, or even other kinds of work, you may find ring lights particularly useful to you.
Ring lights can reduce shadows on the face or within a gap, making them useful for beautifying faces and flattening out shadows in craft pictures. They also highlight objects in the foreground without illuminating or washing out backgrounds.
- Reduced shadows in one area
- Easy to control
- Dispersed bright circle of light
- Single direction
- May get in the way
Where to Position
Place directly in front of whatever you wish to illuminate, removing any objects in between to reduce shadows.
Lighting is crucial to the success of office projects and can make working in an office a far pleasanter experience for everyone. Don’t be afraid to mix and match options based on the layout and availability of windows, outlets, and overhead options in your space. Value the health of your eyes and your mood, and make sure you have enough light to be productive.