Buyer's Guides, Resources + FAQs

Office Lighting Guide

Sure, the desk and chair set-up in your office is important. But you have to take care of your eyes, too. Office lighting can have a major impact–good or bad–on your health.

Overly harsh fluorescent lighting is draining for your eyes and is a trigger for migraines. Dim lighting is just as bad, and can cause eye strain and headaches. And frankly, a dark office is just depressing. So, to help lighten things up a bit, here are some simple steps to take to help you light your workspace right–whether it’s at home or in a corporate setting.

In a Home Office

E27 Pendant Light from Muuto

If you have the advantage of working from home, congratulations! You’re one of the lucky ones. Having a home office means having the flexibility of designing your own set-up. While you may pay more attention to the styling, it’s a good idea to take into account the ergonomics of your environment, including your modern office lighting.

Assess the Natural Light

Take a good look at your space and the natural light that’s already provided. Do you have a window that gives plenty of natural light? If the answer is yes, move your desk right now to take advantage of all that beautiful natural light. Natural light is way easier on your eyes. If you’ve got a great view with little distractions, consider putting your desk right under the window.

Tackle the Overhead Situation 

Modern Workspace Lighting |YLighting
PH 5 Pendant Light from Louis Poulsen

Overhead lighting isn’t the greatest office lighting source–and it surely shouldn’t be the sole source–but it can help fill in places that other sources of light seem to miss. Take the opportunity to switch out your boring overhead lighting for something fun and unique, like the PH 5 Pendant Light.

Add a Tried and True Task Light

Original 1227 Task Light from Anglepoise

Nothing beats a classic desk lamp, like the Original 1227 Task Light. These tried and true lamps are key to bringing everything into focus. Desk lamps that have a flexible arm are ideal since you can adjust their height and angle to suit the task at hand. But task lighting alone can quickly give you eyestrain.

Finish Off With Ambient and Corrective Light

Modern Workspace Lighting |YLighting
Hue Beyond LED Table Lamp

Eye strain is a serious problem, one that happens from intense use of your eyes–like staring at a computer monitor for eight long hours. Throwing a little ambient light into the mix will help soften the harsh light that can come from just overhead or task lighting. With its eye-friendly color filters, the Hue Beyond LED Table Lamp is the perfect lamp for adding that final layer of ambient light to your office. When combined with the Philips Hue Bridge, you can choose from millions of light colors to suit your mood and need.

In a “Real” Office

Equo Gen 3 LED Desk Lamp from Koncept Lighting

If you’re living the cubicle life, it may seem like your fluorescent lighting woes will never leave. But fret not, here are some tips to lighten up your day and help keep your eyes healthy and focused.

Get Outside

Take a stroll outside periodically to soak in some natural light. This is great if your desk isn’t by a window, and is also a great way to get a little exercise during that fifteen-minute break before lunch.

Fight the Fluorescents 

New Swing LED Desk Lamp from VIBIA

I know, fluorescent lighting is the devil of the modern office. It can cause migraines and are all-around unpleasant. While you may not be able to get them changed out right away, see what you can do. Ask about having them off during specific times of the day. And you can also minimize the negative effects if you…

Integrate Your Own Task & Ambient Lighting 

Leo Desk Light from NEMO

Chances are you’ll be able to modify your lighting setup inside your cubicle. Since you probably don’t have a lot of desk space, look for lights that are more compact, or even clip onto the side of your desk like the Leo Desk Light. Just remember that you’re sharing spaces with people, so be sure that all your additional lighting won’t disturb your neighbor.

Add an LED Strip

If major modifications are out, like moving your desk, try adding an LED strip behind your monitor, or mounting it underneath a cabinet, like the UCX 36 Inch LED Undercabinet Light.What do you do for your modern office lighting? Share your spaces with #YintheWild.

(This is an updated version of a post originally published in February 2016.)

Team Y

Team Y

Team Y is a dedicated group of design devotees. We love everything that has to do with modern design, from products like lighting, furniture and decor all the way to interior design, architecture and city planning. What inspired the design? How does it work? What does it mean? We want to know. And once we know, we are constantly inspired to share what we've discovered with others who love design as well. That's Y.

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