What Is the Best Lighting for a Home Office? (GUIDE 2022)


Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links from Amazon and/or others, and we may receive a referral fee (at no extra cost to you) if you sign up or purchase products or services mentioned.


Your home office environment impacts your performance in a number of different ways. Specifically, poor lighting can have negative effects on your health and work efficiency, including eye fatigue, headaches, loss of concentration, and general tiredness.

When arranging your home office lighting, you need to consider a number of factors such as varying levels of light sources for different types of work, colour temperature, contrast, glare, and more. In this article, we’ve gathered all of the most important recommendations on the best types of lighting for your home office, and key principles on how to place lighting to maximise your performance and comfort.

Quick Menu


Complete Home Office Lighting Guide 2022

Home office lighting has to suit your typical activities and cater to your requirements and tastes. In theory, there are some key areas to focus on. Position task lamps close to important, highly-used areas. Back them up with overhead, wall, or other ambient light fixtures. Finally, add and decorate with accent lamps to fill in dark areas and lift the mood of your workspace. Read on to see how to do it!

What Type of Lighting Is Best for a Home Office?

The following types of lighting can be used in various ways around your home office.

Home Office Best Suited Fixtures


Pendant

• Over a table or seating
• Low-hanging

Semi-Flush
• Close to ceiling
• More decorative

Ceiling Flush
• Close to ceiling
• Less decorative

Wall Light
• Use 2+ on the same wall
• Pair with central light

Recessed Pot
• Place over seating or at edges
• Use several

Spot Light
• Ideally adjustable & aimable
• Highlights walls or objects

Floor Lamp
• Place in the corner or next to seats
• Also a task lamp

Torchiere Lamp
• Place in the corner or next to seats
• Ideally includes reading arm

Reading Lamp
• Light over the seating area
• Ideally full-spectrum and adjustable

Desk Lamp
• Adjustable task lamp
• Ideally full-spectrum and adjustable

Table Lamp
• Mid-level task lamp
• Place next to seating

Accent Lamp
• Low light output
• Small and decorative

The above-listed light fixtures provide lighting in different ways and for different purposes in your home office. Lighting design is usually divided into three main groups of light, as follows.

1. Ambient Lighting – General Lighting for Your Home Office

Typically provided by: ceiling lights, wall fixtures, windows, and doorways.

Ambient lighting constitutes the base layer in your workspace. It radiates around your home office and reflects off surfaces as background lighting.

If the spot where your desk is located doesn’t offer an even level of illumination, use blinds to help diffuse the light and ward off glare. Place your workspace parallel to ceiling lights, such as flush mounts or recessed lights, instead of directly overhead. Ceiling lights should also have a shade diffuser, since indirect diffused light is easier to view.

Below you’ll find our 2 top choices of fully dimmable ceiling lights for the general lighting in your home office.

Best Ceiling Lights for Home Office

Vonluce 3 Light Double Drum Pendant Light

REASONS TO BUY

  • Double drum chandelier
  • Fabric drum shades
  • Max 180W in total
  • Dimmable

FEATURES

  • Type: Ceiling light
  • Fixture form: Convertible pendant light
  • Colours: Bronze or nickel
  • Material: Metal & Fabric
  • Style: Modern
  • Warranty: Lifetime warranty

BUY ON AMAZON

Torchstar E-Star Series 3 Inch Gimbal

REASONS TO BUY

  • Smooth dimming
  • Energy efficient
  • 355-degree horizontal & 30-degree vertical rotation
  • 3 in 1 design (lamp replaces the existing light bulbs, recessed trims and housing cans)

FEATURES

  • Type: Ceiling light
  • Fixture form: Recessed
  • Colours: Bronze or nickel
  • Material: Metal
  • Style: Modern
  • Warranty: 5-year

BUY ON AMAZON

2. Accent Lighting – Local Lighting to Highlight Features of Your Office Space

Typically provided by: floor and table lamps, LED strip lights, track lighting, and wall-mounted lights.

Accent lighting is a hybrid of ambient and task lights. It remains in the background of your office, rather than being used to illuminate specific tasks and activities. Accent lighting focuses light in a small area – often for decorative purposes, i.e. shines light onto a wall, sits on a mantlepiece, or provides a small night light in the room.

When placing accent lights, select dark corners in your home office. Local lighting can improve the illumination of your workstation and will brighten the space which can help with your engagement and productivity while working. Try to choose something that matches both your needs and décor.

Move tall floor lamps further away from seating areas toward a corner of the room. Remember to shield your eyes with a shade or diffuser. Otherwise, consider using frosted globes which can soften and diffuse light to help you create a comfortable ambience.

The following are our 2 top choices of floor lamps perfect for creating a pleasant home office atmosphere and compatible with smart ecosystems such as Alexa, Google Home, or Apple HomeKit.

Best Floor Lamps for Home Office

Brightech Hudson 2 Contemporary Arc Floor Lamp

REASONS TO BUY

  • Adjustable arm height
  • Linen lampshade
  • 20,000-hour life LED bulb included (800 lumens of ambient light)

FEATURES

  • Type: Floor lamp
  • Fixture form: Standing pendant light
  • Colours: Black or bronze
  • Material: Metal, fabric (linen)
  • Style: Modern
  • Warranty: 3-year

BUY ON AMAZON

Brightech Maxwell Charger Shelf Floor Lamp with USB Charging Ports and Electric Outlet

REASONS TO BUY

  • 2 USB charging ports and outlet for iPhones and Android devices
  • The shelf features a US electrical outlet to charge a laptop, tablet, iPad etc.
  • Built-in bookshelves
  • 20,000-hour life 9.5 Watt, 800-lumen power-saving LED bulb included (not dimmable)

FEATURES

  • Type: Floor lamp
  • Fixture form: Standing light with shelf, USB charging ports, and electric outlet
  • Colours: Black, bronze, white, or rustic wood
  • Material: Wood
  • Style: Modern and more
  • Warranty: 3-year

BUY ON AMAZON

3. Task Lighting – For Specific Work Activities

Typically provided by: portable desk lamps and floor lamps which aim light in a specific direction (with adjustable height and angle).

Task lighting tends to focus light in a specific direction. Typically task lighting includes portable lamps that are plugged into a standard electrical outlet and can be repositioned.

Use task lighting to provide focused, directional, or targeted light exactly when and where you need it – for instance, while working at your computer or writing at your desk. Desk lamps with a swing arm coupled with a tilt or swivel head, or floor lamps with an adjustable gooseneck, provide the flexibility you need to effortlessly adjust the direction of your lighting while working.

Considering that prolonged use may cause eye fatigue, it’s recommended to use a low-glare desk lamp, and dimmer or smart bulbs to easily adjust brightness as needed. If your workspace is small, a desk lamp that can be clipped to the edge of your desk along with a swing arm or swivel action gives you the functionality you need without using much of your space.

Below you’ll find our 2 top choices of task lamps.

Best Task Lamps for Home Office

NeaNeatfi XL 2,200 Lumens Led Task Lamp With Clamp

REASONS TO BUY

  • 24 Watts, 20” wide shade
  • Multi-position head joint and adjustable 32” arms
  • Dimmable lamp with a clamp to attach to a desk or table

FEATURES

  • Type: Task lamp
  • Fixture form: Reading lamp with a clamp
  • Colours: Black, grey, lavender, green, pink, gold, silver, white
  • Material: Iron and Plastic – Clamp, ABS – Lamp Head, Polycarbonate (PC), Iron
  • Style: Modern
  • Warranty: 3-year

BUY ON AMAZON

Xiaomi LED Desk Lamp 1S (NOTE: European Plug)

REASONS TO BUY

  • Apple Homekit integration, Google Assistant, Alexa and Siri voice control support
  • Dimming mechanism
  • Illumination up to 520 lm
  • Ra 90 colour rendering index
  • Brightness and colour temperature adjustment
  • 4 lighting modes: reading, computer, child and focus mode

FEATURES

  • Type: Task lamp (important: WITH EU PLUG)
  • Fixture form: Desk lamp
  • Colours: White
  • Material: Metal
  • Style: Modern
  • Warranty: 2-year

BUY ON AMAZON

How to Light a Home Office?

In accordance with the U.S. General Services Administration, a typical workspace, including your home office, needs a standard light output of 500 lumens per square meter. This means that each square meter requires at least the same amount of light received from a 35-watt incandescent bulb.

The optimum lighting for normal desk work is between 300 and 500 lux – it should never fall below 200 lux. (1 lux is equal to 1 lumen per m2.)

Lux is a measure of the total amount of light that falls on a surface, while lumens is a measure of the total amount of light emitted in all directions.

However, the amount of light needed for each specific workspace may differ. It depends on available daylight, normal and extended work hours, the standard of your equipment, and the condition and design of your home office.

The most crucial rule is that different activities require different levels and qualities of light. In general, the more detailed the task, the greater the light requirement. Where you’re carrying out different activities, you’ll need control over the local lighting, e.g. desk and standing lamps.

Consequences of Poor Home Office Lighting

Appropriately lighting your home office is crucial, since poor lighting of your workspace can:

  • Negatively affect your health, causing symptoms like eyestrain, migraine, and headaches.
  • Result in a decrease in task performance, causing lethargy, irritability, and poor concentration.
  • Cause other indirect effects, such as forcing you into unsuitable postures that lead to neck- and backache.

Appropriately-placed lighting and the right level of illumination can enhance your ability to use a monitor while working, be less fatigued, and more productive in the long run. However, if the lighting is excessive or causes glare on your screen, you can develop eyestrain or headaches, and may have to work in awkward positions to view the screen.

According to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, there are a few common hazards to look out for and take measures to avoid while working from home and using computer or laptop screens.

Most common issues that can be caused by the unsuitable light around your computerConsequences
Bright lights shining on your screen• Washing out images on your screen, eye annoyance
• Indirect result: musculoskeletal disorders (due to bad posture)
Bright light sources behind your screen• Irritation, eye fatigue and headaches
High contrast between light and dark areas of your computer screen, work surface, and surrounding areas• Contrast problems, visual discomfort
Direct light sources causing reflected light to show up on the monitor• Blurred or double vision
Reflected light from surfaces surrounding you • Discomfort, decrease in visual performance

Arrange your home office lighting and space to minimize contrast problems on your screen from overhead lights, and avoid reflected glare on your display and surrounding surfaces.

Find out how to avoid the negative consequences of unsuitable home office lighting and how to properly place it for comfortable and productive work at your desk or computer.

How to Arrange Your Home Office Lighting for Computer Work?

1. Combine natural lighting with artificial light.

  • Choose a place for your desk with natural light and combine it with local (e.g. standing lamps) and task lights (e.g. desk lamps):
    • Move your desk to take advantage of the available natural light.
    • Locate your light sources (ceiling, floor, or desk lamps) so they illuminate your workplace.
  • Ensure your workstation is within the brightest part of the workplace.
    • Avoid fatigue by moving lights from your field of vision or by reducing their intensity.
    • Remember that bright light sources in your light of sight can be distracting or cause eyestrain.

2. Avoid shadows.

  • Arrange lighting from the left if you’re right-handed, and from the right, if you’re left-handed to avoid the shadowing effect.

3. Keep away from the glare.

  • Make sure the lights in your home office aren’t too bright.
  • Generally, a large number of low-powered lamps rather than a small number of high-powered lamps will result in less glare.
  • To avoid bright lights shining on your screen:
    • Provide supplemental task lighting to adequately illuminate writing and reading activity while limiting brightness around monitors.
      • If you’re using LCD monitors, your surrounding lighting should range up to approximately 785 lumens.
  • To avoid bright light sources behind the display screen:
    • Use indirect or shielded lighting where possible.
    • Avoid intense or uneven lighting in your field of vision.
    • Ensure that lamps have glare shields or shades to direct light away from your line of sight.
  • To avoid direct light sources bouncing off reflective surfaces and causing glare:
    • Don’t place the face of your display against contrasting lights sources and windows.
    • Place your task lighting (for example, a floor, or desk lamp with adjustable positioning) so the light doesn’t reflect on the screen.
    • Clean your monitor frequently as a layer of dust can contribute to visibility issues.
    • Use blinds or drapes on windows or glare filters to help reduce glare.
    • Use barriers or light diffusers on fixtures to reduce glare from overhead lighting.

4. Reduce contrast.

  • Lessen the contrast between your work area and its surrounding.
  • Use well-distributed diffused light for your computer work.
  • You can reduce the brightness contrast by altering the intensity and direction of your lamps.
  • Changes in lighting levels should be made gradually where possible:
    • Sudden contrasts in light levels require your eyes to adapt to new lighting conditions and can lead to eye fatigue.

5. Avoid reflections.

  • To avoid reflected light from other surfaces:
    • Slightly tilt down your monitor to prevent it from reflecting overhead light.
    • If possible, set up your computer to display dark characters on a light background, since they’re less affected by reflections than light characters on a dark background. (This may be difficult if you prefer using “dark mode”, though.)

6. Layer your lighting.

  • Use task and local lighting, where the general lighting level is insufficient, i.e. in the areas without enough access to natural light.
    • Our Tip: Use at least two types of lights in your home office.
  • Make sure to light the upper, middle, and lower layers of your home office.
  • Combine light from above with sideways light, for example floor lamps.
  • Allow multiple lights to overlap, creating layers as it helps to reduce shadows.
Desk lamp next to the screen as one of the best light sources for your home office
Adequate lighting in your home office can make a huge difference to your work efficiency.

As a freelancer, digital nomad, or if you’re just working outside of the office, it can be a lot to adequately light your home office alone. Knowing what type of lamps and where to place them can help you avoid the many negative consequences connected with poor lighting.