With the traditional job market having yet to stabilize, more Americans are working from home today than ever before. Whether going freelance, starting a home business or simply telecommuting to save money, working at home generally requires a home office, be it a small desk tucked away in a corner of the kitchen, a coat closet converted into an office nook, or an entire spare room repurposed for the task. Whatever form your home office takes, it has its own set of special lighting requirements.

If your work space doesn’t get a lot of natural light, or if you do any nighttime work, then it’s important to create a good amount of ambient light. A “good amount” depends largely on what you do and what kind of mood lighting makes you most productive. A writer, for instance, might work better in a dimly lit room that encourages imagination; whereas a crafter might find a bright space to be more inspiring. Since overhead fixtures tend to be too bright, it’s best to use indirect lighting sources such as uplights or downlights that reflect light off of the walls and ceiling, creating a soft, diffused light that mimics natural light. If that’s not practical, consider putting your overhead light on a dimmer switch so that you can control the amount of light it spreads over the room.

To prevent eye strain, your computer screen should be brighter than the ambient light in the room (but should never be the only source of light). If the room has windows, place the computer monitor perpendicular to them to reduce glare and prevent the screen from getting washed out.
The most essential light in any work space is a good task light. This might take the form of a Banker’s Lamp, a simple table lamp, a floor lamp for reading or, in the case of a kitchen or closet office, under-cabinet lighting. Like the ambient light, your task light should also be dim enough that it doesn’t overpower your computer screen, and it should be placed near the spot where you’ll do non-computer work, on the opposite side of your dominant hand and low enough to prevent shadows from obscuring your work.

With these tips in mind, you’ll be able to create a comfortable and inspirational lighting scheme for your office that works as hard as you do.

Leave a Reply