A guide to home office lighting

March 5, 2021

Working from home has become the new norm — and many people around the world have set up shop in their own home offices. To ensure you’re giving yourself the best environment in which to be productive and comfortable, create a home office space with the best lighting to stay stress-free and productive.

How to light a home office

First, consider the space: the number and location of all the windows, the amount of natural light, and the placement of your desk and other furniture.

Before you start arranging your lights, watch the sun's movement across the space. You may notice that the sun shines too brightly at a certain moment of the day — or you may notice you don’t get much natural light at all. Once you’ve determined where the natural light is, you can start setting up your light fixtures.

Man with glasses sitting at a laptop intently working surrounded by a smart pendant and a smart table lamp

Use desk lamps for your home office

One of the most important lights in the space, a desk lamp provides direct task lighting — it illuminates what’s on your desk clearly. A smart table lamp that can provide both warm and cool light works best, as you can tune it to just the right shade depending on the time of day

Whatever light you choose, place the desk lamp at the opposite side of your dominant hand to reduce shadows when writing or reading.

Create indirect office lighting with floor lamps

Don’t concentrate only on lighting the space around your desk — the entire room should be lit well in order to reduce contrast. A smart floor lamp, especially one that shines diffused light upwards and out, can provide an indirect lighting effect that helps ease your eyes and provides adequate lighting no matter what time it is.

Multitask using a home office ceiling light

You might use a lamp while working at your desk, but a ceiling light can be useful when you’re carrying out multiple tasks where you have to move from space to another. For example, if you’re filing documents, organizing your bookshelves, or even cleaning, a home office ceiling light can be very practical. Ceiling lights can also be handy when you’re making video calls — the bright, even spread of light helps you show up better on camera! The height of your ceiling is an important consideration when choosing lights. Pendant, recessed, and ceiling lights are all potential options.

Get the best lighting for a home office with no windows

If your home office doesn’t have any natural light, then choosing the right kind of office smart lights is very important. If you’re deprived of natural light as you work, then you’re more likely to suffer from eyestrain, lack of concentration, or even insomnia. So, if your workspace doesn’t have windows to let natural light flood in, you can recreate it with these tips.

Cast light evenly

With no natural light streaming into the office, your lighting will have to pick up the slack. One of the keys to successful windowless office lighting is to fill the space with a uniform spread of light. In addition to creating layers of light around the room with a mix of table and floor lamps, you’ll also need a ceiling fixture capable of illuminating every corner of your office space with bright, evenly diffused light.

Mimick the sun

You’ll want to replicate the feeling of natural light to create the optimal environment for being productive. The feeling of natural sunlight is easily achieved by using tunable smart bulbs, which can be set to different tones of white light throughout the working day. To get going in the morning a cooler blue light will help you feel energized and stay focused on the task in hand. In the late afternoon and evening a warmer shade will help you relax as you finish your day.

Get the best home office lighting for computer work

Your computer is most likely your primary tool for work. Arranging your computer monitor correctly is just as important as having an ergonomic desk chair, as it is the focal point of your home office. 

Woman sits at a laptop in her home office drinking coffee

Reduce computer screen glare

Having natural light in your room is a good thing, but not if it creates too much glare. Set up your desk so that you are facing the window, but perhaps not right in front of it if the sunlight streams in too strongly at certain points of the day. 

In addition to managing the natural light coming into the room and how it interacts with your monitor, you can also adjust the brightness and contrast on your screen to the best settings for you and the room in which you work. 

Use bias lighting

Lighting the backside of your computer monitor with soft, subtle light provides bias lighting, which helps reduce the amount of contrast between the bright display of your monitor and the light in the room around you. A smart LED strip is one of the best ways to achieve bias lighting, as it attaches directly to the backside of your computer monitor and simply needs to be plugged in. 

Bright idea: If you’re a gamer, installing bias lighting with color-capable Philips Hue lights has an added bonus. Add the lights in and around your computer setup to an Entertainment area and download the Hue Sync desktop app, which allows your lights to react to the action on your screen.

Separate work from relaxation with light

With so many people working from home these days, it’s important to keep your work life separate from your home life. Your home should be the place where you wind down, not where you get wound up from all the stresses of work.

Office with colorful smart lighting on the left and white smart lighting on the right

If you have a separate home office

Make sure you’re not working late into the night by using smart lights — not only can you use the Hue app or your voice to control them, but you can set an automation that dims the lights down low as your workday ends. 

If you work in a common area

If your designated workspace is in a room shared with others, getting the best light for your day may be a collaborative effort. To signal to the rest of the household your workday is ending, change the lights from the functional shade of white you’re using to a colorful light scene. Keep a Hue smart button on your desk for easy access — just a push of the button brings your workday to a close!

*When a bulb displays "Up to" a certain number of lumens in its specifications, it displays the maximum lumen output of the bulb. It shows how bright the bulb can get at 2700 K (White bulbs) or 4000 K (White ambiance or White and color ambiance bulbs). Learn more about brightness