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Tips on Lighting a Home Office

by Christina Wright

Minimalist home office with black chair, desk phone and silver desk lamp

How do you feel at the end of a long workday in your home office -- ready for playtime or just plain tired? The lighting in your home office can have a big effect on your productivity and fatigue levels for two big reasons. First, if you don't like your workspace, you'll have a harder time working in it, and lighting can definitely influence the atmosphere of your office. Second, lighting problems, like glare, dim light or too-bright light, can put extra strain on your eyes and leave you feeling exhausted. Follow these lighting tips to brighten your home office and your after-work mood.

Home Office Lighting Tips:

  1. Create layers and angles of light: Many people believe in evenly lighting the workplace, but this can actually be a less-than-ideal lighting situation for your home office. Your eye is naturally drawn to the brightest area of a room, so when the whole space is lit evenly, your eyes are constantly shifting to find the brightest area. This can cause undue stress, but it is easily rectified with indirect lighting. One way to create indirect lighting is by layering your light sources, meaning you'll have different intensities of light; try using dimmers or putting light sources at different heights to control your lighting intensity. Another way to achieve indirect lighting is by angling your lights. Spotlight your favorite artwork or aim a light toward the ceiling so light will bounce off the wall before hitting your eye.

  2. Wash your walls with light: Another form of indirect light is washing your walls with it. Washing your wall means aiming a majority of light toward a wall so that the wall itself becomes a source of light. This is a great lighting technique for home offices because it prevents the eye strain that results in the contrast between a brightly lit computer screen and a dim office.

  3. Avoid glare: Light shining directly on glossy desktops or computer screens will create a glare and reflect bright light straight into your eyes, increasing strain and reducing productivity. Avoid glare by placing ceiling light fixtures either in front of your desk or to the side of it. Desk-mounted task lights and flexible desk lamps can also help you avoid glare while providing the light you need to finish your work.

  4. Consider color: The color and atmosphere of the walls and furniture in your home office will largely determine what kind of lighting options you need. White or light-colored walls and furniture will help the room will feel bright and airy, so you'll need lower intensity light and fewer lighting options. However, because dark colors absorb light, you'll need more lighting options for a home office with dark walls and furniture. Here is a good rule of thumb to follow: Light a dark office about 20 percent brighter than you would if the walls and furniture were light-colored. That way, you won't feel like you never have enough light.

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