These days it is becoming increasingly common for people to use a home office. Whether you’re using it to work remotely or you’re just for finishing off some work after you get home, you need to ensure that the room is well lit.
A poorly lit home office is bad for your eyes, your focus and numerous other reasons. When we say poorly lit, we don’t only mean that the room is too dark – a home office can also be far too bright.
You need to find the perfect balance between the strength of your light bulbs – the number of lumens – and the types of lights that are best suited for looking at papers and computer screens.
In this article, we’ll run through all of the above, giving you some practical tips for setting up the lighting in your home office.
What Lighting is Best for Your Office?
When it comes to lighting your office, there are a few main factors to consider:
- What level of lighting will make you awake and focused?
- What kind of lighting will protect your eyes and prevent eye strain?
- What kind of lighting will allow you to work most efficiently?
The answers to these three questions are not the same for every person. Some people have better eye sites than others and some people work better in a slightly dimmer environment, while others prefer a brighter workspace.
This is why we want you to take this information as a general guideline, not as an absolute guide. You will likely need to follow our tips and general recommendations, however, you also need to adjust to your own preferences.
Assuming you already have some lights in the home office that you intend to keep, consider the following questions to determine what you still need to work on:
- Is there central lighting for the room as a whole?
- Are there underlit areas in the room?
- Is there a form of task lighting (we’ll explain task lighting in the next section) nearby the primary work desk(s)?
Once you have the answers to each of these questions, you’ll have a better idea of what steps you still need to take in order to create a perfectly lit home office.
What Types of Lighting are Used in Offices?
As with most rooms, there are three main types of lighting that you need to balance and layer your lighting:
- Ambient Lighting
- Task Lighting
- Accent Lighting
All three forms of lighting are important. However, when it comes to a home office, task lighting may be more important than in your other rooms. Let’s take a brief look at each type of lighting:
Ambient lighting involves lighting that allows you to see the whole room and move around in a safe fashion. It is also commonly referred to as general lighting. The light that you switch on when you first enter a room is often an ambient light and acts as a base layer of light. These lights tend to be placed in the centre of the ceiling and provide light to every part of the room.
Task lighting involves any kind of light that helps you perform a specific task. Instead of lighting up the whole room, a task light tends to focus on a single surface, such as a desk. If you already have a desk lamp, then you also have a task light! These lights tend to be brighter than general lights and ensure that you can see everything on the surface they are focused on.
Accent lighting involves lights used to illuminate displays on shelves, cupboards and similar surfaces. If you have a painting on the wall, certificates displayed, or anything else in a similar vein, the lighting used to show them off would be called accent lighting. Accent lighting can also be used to remove shadows or dark spots in the room.
You can probably already see why task lighting is extremely important in your home office. – though the other two are just as important for the finished effect. You must have some kind of task light on your desk if you wish to work efficiently. Using general lighting alone to view a computer screen or read papers will make your eyes get strained very quickly.
If you do not have a lamp or another form of task lighting for your desk, we’d highly recommend getting get one now!
What Colour is Best for Your Eyes?
When it comes to choosing the colour of your light bulbs, you want a colour that isn’t too warm nor too cool in order to prevent eye strain.
So, what colour tone is that? Well, the best type of bulb would be one that fits in between warm and cool colour temperatures – preferably between 2700k and 3500k. This colour temperature range reduces eye strain and improves your ability to focus.
You also need to ensure that the bulb isn’t too bright, or it will overpower your computer screen. Your best bet is to go for a task light bulb that has somewhere around 700 lumens, as a general guideline.
Adjust for Your Own Needs
Always keep in mind that we each have individual preferences when it comes to the lighting in a room. While the above specifications will help you design the basic, optimal home office, you need to adjust them to your own standards for comfort.
If you’re the type of person who gets migraines from looking at a screen for too long, make sure that you adjust the lighting to be slightly dimmer than the recommended levels – but not too dim that you end up straining your eyes in an attempt to see the screen!
Another possibility would be to get a light dimmer. This way, you and anyone else who uses the office can adjust the brightness of the light to your own, unique needs.
Try putting some of these tips to practise to ensure your office lighting creates a comfortable but productive environment.