When planning for a home office, the focus for most is purchasing the big items, such as the desk, chair, and filing cabinets. Not so many people include lighting until after all the major office furniture have been selected. However, the key to having a productive work area at home does not lie in the furniture alone. Proper lighting is as significant in effecting efficiency and focus in this particular space. Without proper lighting, you can strain your eyes and have headache which can affect the way you work. Considering the amount of time you will spend working, it makes sense to prioritize lighting when planning for your home office. Here are a few tips to help you create that power home office.
Layering the Lights
Having a single light source in your home office is not enough. Considering the diverse activities that you will be performing in your work space, like reading, working on the computer, talking over the phone, filing, and holding meetings, installing one type of lighting like recessed lighting alone will not help you to be effective in all of these tasks. While you can start with ambient lighting, you will need to add a task lamp on your desk and also on other key spots in your office. It is also ideal to place your ambient lights on a dimmer switch, so you can have the flexibility of adjusting light levels whenever necessary.
Have a Dedicated Task Light for Every Activity
Task lighting provides a focused light source on particular activities. If there will be a range of activities taking place in your home office, it is ideal to have a dedicated task light for each activity. Task lamps with adjustable arms are best for accommodating different setups.
Proper Placement of Lights
The placement of your home office lights should be properly planned to avoid glare and shadows. Do not position an overhead spotlight behind you, as this can create glare on your computer screen. Avoid shadows created by lighting by placing task lamps on the opposite side of the hand that you use to write.
The Importance of Natural Light
Allowing natural light inside your home work space is a great way to improve its ambience as well as enhance your focus and productivity. Direct sunlight, however, can create glare that is too overwhelming. It is recommended to install translucent blinds to soften the light coming from the outside and position your computer on a desk that is perpendicular to the window. Having a computer placed in front of the window will cause stress to your eyes.
Modulate Light Levels
The key to reducing eye strain is to minimize glare and contrast in your home office by controlling the light levels depending on the time of day and the specific task at hand. Activities that involve paperwork require more lighting compared to computer work, so when working at your computer, consider turning down the ambient and task lighting. Install dimmers and hang light-diffusing blinds in your windows to avoid the harsh artificial or natural light which creates the monitor glare that tires the eyes.
Aside from developing the physical space in which you will be working, lighting plays a very important part in creating the right mood and inspiration to actually be able to perform your tasks and project well. With the right mix and placement of lights in your home office, you can look forward to more productive and less stressful work hours.
About the Author
Joan Silver is a known lighting expert from Capitol Lighting (1800lighting.com) and a fan of all things “lighting”. She currently provides customers and designers with robust information on their lighting needs.