Skip to main content

How to choose the best home office lighting

desk with task lighting
Africa Studio/Shutterstock

Want to know an easy way to boost productivity in your home office? The answer may be as simple as making sure the lighting you have is working for you. Studies show that poor lighting can cause eyestrain, headaches, and even drain your energy. Taking stock and ensuring that the sources currently in use are optimal will make your office a nice place to spend time in, and it will be better for your overall health in the long run too.

Access your space

The first step in rethinking your home office lighting is to look at the space and determine what you have to work with. There is no substitute for good natural light, so you will want to pay attention to how much your office gets. If you are fortunate enough to have windows that let in sunlight, count yourself lucky.

Related Videos

Pay attention to where the light is coming from and what direction it shines. A light or sun from a window set behind you will create a glare on screens. In general, it is best to position your desk so that windows are in front or to the side of you. Light-diffusing window shades should be used at times that sunlight is too intense. This will still allow you to benefit from the natural light but ensure it is not overwhelming. It is also important to think about whether you are primarily using the room during the day or night after the sun goes down. If you work late into the night, then that should be a factor in your plan.

Since many offices are in basements, spare bedrooms, or even in a tiny portion of another space, the conditions are not always optimal. If your room is windowless or dark, you will need to make sure to compensate for it. Remember, this is not a cozy bedroom or a living room where you will curl up to watch television. You want to infuse your office with energy and life so that while you are there, you can be your most awake and energetic. This may mean adding multiple lights to make the space feel brighter.

Rethink the standard

It is important to remember that an office requires a unique lighting plan. What suffices in other parts of the home may not be enough in a work environment. For example, many homes today feature recessed lighting, which may be ideal in a living or family room, but an office needs multiple sources. Even if you have those lights on, you still want to create a more custom lighting environment that will serve you better.

Man at desk working from home

The main source

For the overall lighting of the space, indirect is better. What does that mean? Many old offices are lit with glaring overhead lighting that is harsh and creates glares and shadows. Instead, lights with lampshades such as a table or floor lamps will bring a softer, diffused brightness that creates a pleasing atmosphere. The goal is to illuminate the space without shadows and contrast.

If your home office is a tight space or just a part of a bigger one, a hanging pendant light with a shade may be your best bet. This frees up real estate on your desk and still gives you indirect light.

Task lighting

When doing focused tasks such as paperwork, computer work, or reading, it is best to use a specific light dedicated to it. These lights often come with adjustable arms allowing you to focus it exactly where you need it. If your office has multiple workstations be sure to designate a task light for each one.

Accent lighting

Now that you have your main lighting and task lighting sorted out, you may want to add some style. Sconces add interest and can be used to highlight a certain wall or architectural detail. Picture lights can illuminate artwork that is meaningful to you.

As we spend more and more hours in our home offices, it is vital to take the time to personalize the space, so it functions optimally. Lighting is one of the easiest and best ways to revitalize your office and make working a more pleasant experience.

Editors' Recommendations

5 stellar 2023 bathroom design trends you need to add to your home design
Bathrooms don't have to be boring - spruce up yours for the new year
Modern black and white bathroom with large tub

The new year is always a time for new beginnings, and what better way to start the new year off than with a new bathroom design? If you’ve been thinking about remodeling your bathroom, 2023 could be the year to finally take the plunge. We have five awesome bathroom design trend ideas that you will love -- keep reading to find out more from design experts about adding one (or more) of them to your home’s decor.
It seems like technology advances more every year, and 2023 will be no exception. Dave Adams, the VP of marketing, entertainment, and home office furniture at BDI, said, "You can expect technology to have a home in every room of the house."

Not only will smart home items, such as lightbulbs controlled by a central hub, continue to pop up in rooms like the bathroom, but expect to see more technology incorporated into items like showers and faucets. You don’t think you need a smart shower until you experience the luxury that is stepping into a preheated and steamy shower on a cold morning.
Home spa
Carrie Schulz, the head of design at Block Renovation, told us that an increasing trend in home bathroom design is to create a home spa -- a calming, warm space where you can relax. She suggested homeowners "work with natural materials, soft textures, and layered neutrals" to achieve this. A towel warmer in the corner will round out the day spa feel.

Read more
Modern gray paint colors for the living room: How to hit the right note
Warmer and cooler gray shades can help you achieve different effects
Gray living room

There are no two ways about it: Gray continues to be one of the hottest paint colors.

Thinking of making your living room a little cooler? Gray might seem fairly simple at a glance, but committing to this color means embracing many shades of gray.

Read more
Experts reveal how bold paint colors will elevate 2023 interior design
Sophisticated, vibrant paint colors will add drama to our homes in 2023
Kitchen with navy blue cabinets and brass hardware

When major paint companies unveiled their 2023 colors of the year, it became clear that dark, moody jewel tones were about to take over. 2022 was the year of soothing green tones — and while green is still a popular choice (particularly for spaces like kitchens and bathrooms), homeowners and designers are looking for shades that introduce elegant drama into the living space.

When it comes to 2023 interior design trends, rich hues are going to dominate design aesthetics, whether your style of choice is grandmillennial maximalism or more of a rustic or minimalist look.

Read more