HOW TO CHOOSE HOME OFFICE LIGHTING?
Your home office needs to be carefully lit to get the right balance of practical task lighting and ambient atmosphere. You also need to consider whether you need different levels, or types, of lighting (mainly task based) throughout the day and evening, if you or other family members use the room frequently.
1. DECIDE ON A STYLE OF LIGHTING
While you may be able to add accent lighting to a larger home office, the reality is that this room is first and foremost a functional space and is also likely to be fairly small. Therefore, make ambient and, especially, task lighting your main focus.
Determine what level of ambient lighting you need. It’s worth making sure that the ambient lighting in this room is bright enough to illuminate the whole room efficiently without task lighting, if necessary. Also use a dimmer switch so that you can dim the overhead lights when desired.
It might be that you only need a single desk lamp to light the space by your computer or work area, but if your home office has more than one work surface, or perhaps a single large stretch of desk, you may want to think about adding some more task lighting.
2. CHOOSE YOUR LIGHT FIXTURES
If your office is a small, low-ceiling room, or the natural daylight in the room is poor, a spread of efficient spotlights sunk into the ceiling or close to it are a practical buy; reserve a pendant light, or lights, for a larger home office.
SURFACE-MOUNTED CEILING LIGHT
SURFACE-MOUNTED CEILING LIGHT
A small room with a low ceiling will be perfectly well lit by a surface-mounted ceiling light that sits close to the surface of the ceiling. If your ceiling light has more than one bulb, make sure that the light it throws out will be even rather than inconsistent.
Unless you are also investing in good task lighting, choose a shade for a pendant in a pale color that won’t deaden the bulb’s light. Also make sure that the structure of the shade directs light downward rather than up toward the ceiling.
Spotlights are a good choice for a small, dark room, especially if they can be directed to suit your needs. Bear in mind, however, that ceiling spotlights will throw shadows around the room, so if you sit at a desk with your back to a central spotlight, it’s likely that the space in front of you will be in shadow.
Recessed downlights are a stylish option for a small, contemporary room, especially if it has a low ceiling that won’t suit pendants or lights jutting out from the ceiling. These lights tend to be very bright, so don’t install too many in a tight space—aim to install one light every three feet (1m) or so.
These lights provide handy extra lighting, particularly if positioned on a focal wall or on each side of a fireplace or a large picture in a big office. Choose lights that throw the light downward rather than upward to maximize their practical effect.
A wall spotlight can be used as task lighting, providing a strong pool of light over a desk surface, but it can also be directed onto a bookshelf, for example, to both show off your books and make them easier to see.
Wall uplights as soft ambient lighting can create a welcoming atmosphere—often overlooked in a home office. They throw light upward to highlight the ceiling and give walls the illusion of added height.
Desk lamps are a must-have in a home office, and the best are those that can be directed up and down and from side to side. Ideally, the lamp should sit just behind and to the right or the left of your computer or main writing space.
If you have no room for a desk lamp, or need extra lighting in other areas of the room, clip-on lights are a good solution. They can be easily attached to the edges of shelves and numerous other surfaces. Make sure that you buy clip-on lights with directional heads.