Whether you plug away at your laptop or work tirelessly on pen and paper, good lighting is a must in any home office. Apt office lighting promotes productivity, while inadequate illumination causes headaches and eye strain. To help, we’ve put together some of our best tips on how to brighten up your home workspace.

A flush mount overhead a home office desk setup constitutes this office designed by Mansfield and O'Neil
Photo courtesy of Mansfield + O’Neil

Start with General Lighting

Layering lighting is a fundamental feature of interior design for a reason. In order to create a comfortable work environment, start with ambient lighting, which provides general illumination to a space. While natural lighting is always preferable, if you don’t have the luxury of a sun-drenched window, opt for overhead fixtures instead. Flush mounts or recessed lights disperse even brightness, but aren’t too harsh, either. Speaking of which, in general, avoid direct light. It can wash out your computer screen and create a glare, in turn causing eye fatigue. If installing overhead lighting is unfeasible, consider an upward-shining floor lamp.

Iantha Carley used a sputnik pendant chandelier in this home office filled with a vintage desk, blue barrel chair, and vintage picture frames
Design by Iantha Carley Interiors / Photo by Angie Seckinger

Take Your Lighting to Task

Your home office should be a versatile, multi-use space. Task lighting, like desk lamps or floor lamps provide targeted illumination for more focused assignments. Once again, to make sure that you’re avoiding eye strain, consider home office lighting fixtures with frosted glass or shades. It’s also worth noting that, shadows can be just as bad for you as excessive brightness. Lamps can cast shadows, especially when switched on without partnered fixtures. If you write with your right hand for example, avoid setting your task lighting on the right side to steer clear of shadows.

Kendall Wilkerson used a shaded floor lamp and sculptural pendant in this San Francisco home office
Design by Kendall Wilkinson / Photo by Paul Dyer

Accent Your Space

Accent lighting supports the other layers of a room, while also providing a polished, decorative touch. In a home office, accent lighting is a chance to really personalize and stylize your space! Add visual character to your room with vintage wall lamps and sconces or mantel and picture lights. Emphasize architectural details, like shelves, nooks, or walls, with recessed lighting, track lighting, and wall washers.

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Lead image: Design by McCaffrey Design Group / Photo by James Carriere


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June 29, 2022

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