If you’re lucky enough to work from home, you’re lucky enough to escape the dreaded office lighting. You know what I’m talking about, that awful bright fluorescent lighting that makes your eyeballs want to fall out. Am I being dramatic? Maybe.
As one would probably guess, lighting in our workspace plays a huge role. Not only is it important to maximize lighting so your face looks awesome on a Zoom call, but the temperature of lighting impacts your eyes throughout the workday. While addressing your home office lighting may typically be an afterthought, today I’m going to tell you why it should be at the forefront of your mind.
What Should the Goal of Your Home Office Lighting Be?
First and foremost, everybody wants an aesthetically pleasing space. While we do want functional lighting, I can bet that most people are going to choose a light fixture for its looks rather than its ability to illuminate. So your first goal should be to decide on your style. Look through magazines, websites, Pinterest boards and decide what vibe you’re going for. It’s also important to look at your space. Do you have room for that pendant lighting, or is your only option a flush fixture? Remember, lighting is a game of layering. It will take numerous lights and fixtures to achieve your goal. I’ve added some of my favorites below:
Speaking of layering, let’s discuss light temperatures. According to 1000bulbs.com,
“studies have shown that lights in higher color temperatures (above 3500K) directly impact our learning and productivity, making us better able to take in information and concentrate on tasks. The higher the color temperature, the higher the level of focus you are able to achieve. For this reason, we recommend purchasing lights in 5000K or above for your home office.”
It is important to note too, that sunlight produces over 5000K, making it that much more important to have some natural light in your space if possible. Warm temperatures (2700K-3500K) create cozy atmospheres, which certainly aren’t going to make you feel productive. If anything, before you know it you’ll be online shopping and dozing at your desk. Cooler temperatures of 4000K or higher, give the appearance of a brighter and cleaner space, thus making you feel more productive.
Let’s talk about sunlight. Natural light is so important for our health, mood, and productivity. If possible, get that desk as close to your window as possible. If it gets a little too bright you can always add some sheer curtains. When it comes down to it, there really is no better lighting than natural lighting. There are also plenty of ways to arrange your desk so that glare doesn’t impact your computer screen(s). Let’s get to the fun stuff now.
It May take more than one light to achieve your goal, so first up, we have the overhead light.
For ideal home office lighting, you are going to need an overhead light, as well as a task light.
The ceiling light
This light is important because, well you know, it provides the majority of the light in your room. Keeping in mind temperature, now it’s time to select what light works best for your space. Overhead lighting can be tricky. The wrong placement can result in glare or distracting shadows. But it does give you an opportunity to add some personal style into the room. Instead of recess lighting, try incorporating a flush-mount, or pendant fixture. Unfortunately, if you’re renting, there isn’t much you can do about your overhead lighting. But if you have a cool landlord, or you own, a pendant light is a great way to add some style to your space.
Pendant lights come in a variety of shapes and sizes, so finding one to fit your style shouldn’t be too hard. Before choosing a fixture, make sure that your room is capable of handling a hanging fixture in the middle of the room. Below, I’ve linked a variety of stylish pendant lights:
the flush mount light
What’s great about these lights, is that they bring the same style that a pendant light does, but work better in smaller spaces since they are, you guessed it, mounted flush to the ceiling. Using a flush mount gives a little extra flexibility and practicality to designing your space. Below, I’ve listed a selection of flush mount lights that will bring the right vibe to your home office, low ceilings or not:
The task light
Task lights are the lights we keep on our desks, to help us focus. These lights are important because when on, they draw our focus to our desk and whatever we are working on. The eye is naturally drawn to light, so choose the perfect desk lamp and I’m sure you’ll be more focused as soon as you flip that switch on. Desk lamps don’t have to be boring, they can reflect your style just as an overhead light does. If you find one you really like, buy a double and stick it on a side table for when you need a change of scenery while you read over that proposal. Here are some awesome options:
So we’ve got our lights picked out. Now we need to set up for our one-millionth Zoom call of the day. For optimal lighting, you need to think of this as though it was a photo shoot or video shoot. In any setup, you need three points of light: the main light, key light, and backlight. I’ll show you what I’m talking about below, just replace the camera in the diagram with your computer:
The value of 3 point lighting is huge. It creates the correct shadows on your face, separates you from your background, and is pretty flattering. Now I know, this is a little dramatic for some video chats, but why not look your best. You don’t need to follow this example perfectly, but make it as simple as having your desk light on, a window next to you, and a lamp turned on behind you! Setting up three points of lighting will hopefully get rid of that awkward glare that sometimes hits your face during a call. Here’s my recommendation for setting up a 3 point light:
So there you have it.
From this point forward, you won’t be able to stop thinking about lighting. In my opinion, lighting is such an underrated part of the design in your home office. It really can not only change the way you look on your video calls but keep you focused and productive. Remember, think about your space and what type of fixtures work for your ceiling and desk, arrange your desk based on sunlight, and try to use three points of lighting to maximize Zoom calls. Whether you’re on a budget or have all the money in the world, it is possible to transform your space with a few fixtures! Until next time cyber coworkers… happy working!