Shining Professionally: Your Office Lighting

Adequate lighting in the workspace is essential. A well-planned office lighting design discourages accidents and injuries and has a positive effect on mood and productivity. There are few things more frustrating than trying to accomplish a job while straining one’s eyes or ignoring glare and reflections on a computer screen, and recurring eyestrain can cause permanent eye damage.

Planning office lighting requires particular attention because you’re working to create a space to be utilized with focus and concentration for extended periods of time. It’s crucial that the workspace be comfortable, organized, and well lit to encourage productive creativity and accommodate the undivided attention of the person using the space – not to mention showcasing your style.

With a world of working environments to illuminate, I’d like to first shine a light on a few basic principles that relate to lighting a kitchen, home office, or an industrial place of employment before honing in on specific office lighting ideas for those planning a new office design.

General Lighting


Working environments are generally benefitted with at least two layers of lighting, and a third layer of natural sunlight is very desirable. The overall environment should be illuminated with ambient light with the flip of a single switch or set of switches for a large space. Track lights, flush/semi-flush mounts, pendants, and chandeliers can attractively fulfill this need.

Task Lighting

Adjustable lamps quickly deliver a spot of light to the precise destination that needs illumination. There are designs of adjustable floor lamps, lamps that can be anchored to a nearby wall, clamped to the desk to save space, or placed on your desk in a convenient spot, and bulbs with tiered illumination allow you to customize light to your specific needs.


Fresh, clear daylight is always appreciated in office design. If you’re preparing an office for computer use, avoid placing the desk so it faces the window. Try placing the desk so the sunlight enters from the side or behind, providing illumination for the keyboard without forcing the eyes to make constant adjustments while working.

Quality of Light

The quality and temperature of light that you introduce into your workspace can affect your productivity and the quality of your work, especially if your job entails the use of color. Sunlight incorporates a full spectrum of light that allows our eyes to discern subtle differences in color, whereas most fluorescents deliver light in the cool or warm range, offsetting the eye’s interpretation although full spectrum CFLs can be found. Incandescent bulbs veer toward the warm range, as do high and low-pressure sodium bulbs that are often used in industrial and office settings.

Some studies claim that cool temperature lighting encourages concentration and focus, in contrast to warm temperature lights that tend to inspire a cozy and relaxed atmosphere. Others contend that full-spectrum light is healthier for the eyes in a work environment because of the enduring exposure day after day. I’m inclined to agree with the latter argument, but encourage you to experiment and take note of your own particular responses and preferences.


We shouldn’t overlook the importance of aesthetics in office décor, because an attractive environment is psychologically relaxing and can inspire the joy of productive creativity, which cannot be overestimated, and it helps to have a workspace that you look forward to regularly operating in.

Your lighting fixtures are capable of making a design statement that supports the ambiance and personality of your company and your personal “brand.” Whether your brand is sleek and innovative, sophisticatedwhimsical and playful, cozyhistoric, or cultural, you’ll find that the design of your lighting fixtures can set and complete the character of your office design.


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