With more and more people are being forced to work from home during the Coronavirus outbreak, home offices are becoming commonplace. But not all home offices are made equal, and if this is your first time creating a space to work from, you might be struggling to get it right.
Home office lighting is one important consideration that can have a big impact on your productivity and comfort. It’s also a more nuanced subject than you might expect though, so read on and we’ll explore how to get home office lighting right.
Goals of home office lighting
A good place to start is to first consider the goals of good home office lighting.
Firstly, your home office lighting should effectively illuminate the area you are working on. It’s tough to type when you can’t see what you’re doing, and likewise, good lighting can help you more easily find the resources you need in a pinch. That said, it’s often going to be light while you’re working in your office, so this is less of an issue than you might expect.
At the same time, good home office lighting should help to keep you awake and focused. Lighting can have an impact on our state of mind, and a dimly-lit room has an unwanted soporific effect!
Using light with a slightly bluer hue can accomplish the desired result, as this is closer to the wakefulness-inducing wavelength of the sun. Conversely, warmer colors can make us feel drowsy and sleepy.
Colored lighting in general can actually be a great tool for defining a specific look in your office. This creates a distinct feel in your office as compared with other rooms in your house, helping to put you into a more productive headspace as soon as you enter.
What’s crucial is that you don’t create glare. The notion that computer screens lead to poor eye health has been disproven fairly conclusively. However, eyestrain can result from squinting to read text, and especially due to glare on the screen.
(The idea that screens cause bad eyesight originally comes from a poorly conducted study that noted a correlation between how close participants sat to the TV and the quality of their eyesight. Of course, the truth is that they sat closer because they had poor eyesight to begin with!)
Using “indirect’ lighting is a good idea then. Better yet, choose a lamp that can be redirected and pointed wherever it is needed.
Approaching home office lighting
So with all that said, where do you start with your home office lighting?
First, think about ambience or “general lighting.” This will be the light that most fully fills the room, such as the overhead light, and/or the windows. This should be evenly distributed, which will allow for the introduction of other light sources (like your desk lamp) without needing to worry about dramatic shadows and contrast.
To that end, anything with a dimmer switch will work particularly well. Likewise, getting blinds for your windows can be a good way to control the natural light entering the room.
Next, think about your task lighting. This is a desk lamp, standing lamp by a reading chair, or spotlight; anything that you use to highlight a specific area to work in.
You can also use this to create “oasis lighting.” Oasis lighting means that you’re creating a small “patch” of light within a larger room. This draws the eye to that area, and it helps to make it more distinct from the rest of the room.
For example, if you have a reading chair with a standing light, this can punctuate the darkness during evening, giving you an oasis of light to work in. You’ll find it harder to see the rest of the room, and it can be very cozy! That said, I do not wish to encourage working after hours!
Finally, accent lighting can be used to highlight décor or furniture. For instance, running LED strips along your desk can provide futuristic glow that might put you in a productive headspace. Alternatively, you can use a lit photo frame to highlight a certificate or a piece of art. This is where colored lighting can work really well.
If all this is starting to get a little complicated, you could consider going a step further and using smart lighting. That way, you can create a profile for your office and use a simple voice command to get all your lighting just the way you want it. You could even set different profiles for different times of day!
The best home office lighting products
Now you know the theory, here are some of our recommended products to help you get started with great home office lighting.
This daylight lamp is specially designed to mimic the wavelength of the sun. This can stimulate the brain in a manner similar to natural sunlight, thereby increasing wakefulness, and combating the negative effects of seasonal effective disorder (SAD).
Also read: The best smart lamps that you can get
This model is the Theralite Aura Bright Light Therapy Lamp. It may be simple to look at, but it is clinically tested with a 10,000 LUX LED.
Desk Lamp With Clamp
This desk lamp is significantly sleeker to look at, while the clamp helps to make it more versatile. The lack of base also minimizes the footprint, leaving more space for laptops and notes.
The angle is adjustable, and the downward-facing bulb is perfect for illuminating a keyboard or desk full of notes.
Lampat LED Desk Lamp
This is an alternative option for your main source of task lighting. It’s shorter and less adjustable than the previous option, but it has a handy USB port which we like. This lamp also wins points for its four lighting modes and five levels of brightness.
Bridgeport Designs Pulley Table Lamp
What’s also important is that you like the way the lamp itself is designed. We think this “pulley lamp” has a fantastic steampunk aesthetic and can be a great centerpiece for your office. It’s also fairly adjustable and versatile.
Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance A19 60W
Philips Hue is the go-to brand for colored lighting. This starter pack is compatible with most digital assistants, and will last a “lifetime” (or 25,000 hours). This creates a ton of options and is perfect for accent lighting and creating a unique atmosphere.
Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance LightStrip Plus Dimmable LED Smart Light
This LED strip is perfect for adding a color highlight under your desk, or behind an ultrawide monitor. You’ll need a hub (you get one with the pack above) but from there, you can add it to your lighting profiles and activate with a simple voice command!
Rite Lite Battery Operated LED Picture Light
This is a great option for lighting up a picture frame to draw attention to it. It won’t work with your Alexa setup, but there is an app so you can probably do something with Tasker. Either way, having the option to highlight a work of art is an awesome feature for any home office lighting.
ALFONI LED Under Cabinet Lighting
A dimmable alternative for under-desk lighting that doesn’t require a Hue hub. It does support Alexa though, and is very reasonably priced for four panels!
Wemo Mini Smart Plug
This isn’t a light itself, but can be a key feature for your home office lighting. Essentially, a Wemo Smart Plug can make any appliance “smart” including any of the lights you have in your setup!
Micro LED FLoor Lamp
Finally, for creating an oasis of light for a reading corner or similar, this LED floor lamp is a great choice. Not only does this one look smart, but it also comes with three dimmable color temperatures.