Essential lighting for home offices

Interiors Journalist: Amy Bradford

Home workspaces need a careful balance of overhead and task lighting, so you can work with a clear mind and unstrained eyes. Here's our guide to the designs that work best.

Astro's Amas wall light and Ascoli desk light in an office environment

Tailoring your space 

While office buildings have specific rules concerning the quality and quantity of light we need to work productively, the advantage of working from home is that you have complete control, says James Bassant, our Co-Founder and Design Director. "As flexible home working becomes normal, we need to consider the ergonomics of our environment, and lighting is an integral part of that," he explains. In a self-contained home office, ensure that there are good light levels throughout the room. "This helps to avoid shadows and glare from screens, which can cause tired eyes," says James. If your workspace is tucked into a niche - in a corner of the living room, perhaps - give it special status. "Try to project the sense of a dedicated work zone," advises James. "A sculptural desk light next to a laptop goes a long way towards creating this feeling."

Office environment with Astro's surface downlights

Adaptable overhead lighting

Focus on illuminating the area directly over your workspace, not just the centre of the room. A row of spotlights allows you to create an even wash of light across your desk: the Kos II spotlight is ideal, as it can be positioned at precise points to fit your space and its recessed LED has a glare-free glow. The Apollo Triple Bar is similarly versatile, with adjustable spotlights that can be aimed where you need them.

Both designs are dimmable - essential for balancing a lighting scheme against the natural light in your home, as you can simply adjust the brightness to suit. Dimmers also help to deliver optimum light levels whether it's day or night.

Desktop companions

A desk light's chief purpose is to cast a bright, focused pool of light on your workspace, but it should also be a flexible tool. "Adjustability and the right height allow the light's direction and intensity to be tailored for visual comfort," says James.

The Joel table lamp accomplishes this thanks to its adjustable arm and shade; for a smaller office, opt for the more compact but still adjustable Atelier Desk. If your desk is freestanding, or you need to free up valuable desktop space, there's the Atelier Clamp - it fixes to the edge of the tabletop, takes up little room and has a fully flexible arm and head.

Astro's Atelier desk light
Astro's Joel Grande Table Light
The right colour temperature

Put simply, this affects how "warm" or "cool" lighting feels, which has a huge impact on mood and alertness. It's measured in Kelvins, marked on lamps with the letter "K". Lamps below 2700K appear yellower and warmer; those between 3000K and 7000K are bluish-white and cooler.

Research has found that the best colour temperature for work environments mimics natural daylight, which means using lamps at the whiter, cooler end of the spectrum, or above 3000K. These are known to increase mental clarity and energy levels, and help you work productively. Try to leave at least three hours between the end of your home-working day and bedtime, though, as blue light can lower levels of melatonin, the hormone that regulates sleep.

“If you are lucky enough to have a study or even a dedicated desk space, consider how the objects and the curation of them can project a sense of a work zone. A great sculptural desk light next to a laptop can go a long way to creating the feeling, “this is where I work.” - James Bassant, Design Director

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