In the past, the issue of the illumination of your home was believed to be something completely arbitrary, something that has to deal with aesthetics more than anything else. Still, this was before we knew about all the effects of light on one’s mood, energy levels, and even productivity.
The latter one is particularly important for people who are working at home and, let’s be honest, in 2017, almost everyone brings their work home.
This is mostly due to the fact that light affects alertness and improves one’s ability to focus. Furthermore, staring at the screen with bad light in the background is definitely not doing your vision any favors. Needless to say, those who work full-time from home usually have a preference for the night-work, which makes the issue of adequate lighting into an even greater paramount.
Furthermore, the access of daylight to your home is also something worth paying attention to, seeing as how natural light is absolutely vital for the mental health of all inhabitants. Apart from this, the ability to maintain the illumination in your home at a high enough level with the use of natural light may drastically impact your utility bill over the course of time.
This being said, you need to pull off all of the above-mentioned with the overall décor of your household in mind. So, with this in mind and without further ado, here are few décor tips used by professional designers.
1. Start from the natural light
The first thing that needs to be addressed here is the issue of natural light. Apart from being free and great for your health, natural light has one significant downside. Namely, you can’t control it.
Still, there is a solution to every problem. If the light is too bright, simply use curtains or blinders to dim it down. On the other hand, if you feel as if it isn’t strong enough, you can try rearranging your furniture to face your windows or remove any non-supporting pillars or walls inside of your home. This last part is one of the reasons why open floor design is getting more and more popular with each passing day.
What you probably didn’t know is that it’s possible to introduce natural light even in completely windowless rooms. Here, you need to be extra crafty and use items like mirrors, French doors, and frosted light. Apart from this, painting the room white, or choosing a different highly-reflective color also may be a great idea.
For those who are interested in creating a natural light-like atmosphere but aren’t necessarily focused on the eco-friendly aspect of natural light, you can achieve this effect with hidden lights. A similar effect can also be achieved with the use of undercabinet lighting.
Needless to say, when it comes to working from home and using the natural light to your benefit in this respect, it all comes down to the choice of the room. First, you need to know your own work habits and choose the room accordingly. For instance, if you prefer working in the morning, you should pick the room facing the east. On the other hand, those who prefer to work in the later afternoon, might find it better to choose the room facing the west and so on.
2. Let’s talk numbers
The first thing you should have in mind here is the functionality of your household. Here, the different rooms require different intensity of light. In a scenario where you depend exclusively on the artificial illumination, you need about 20 lumens per square foot. For the sake of comparison, a standard incandescent bulb that is 40 W strong, can create an illumination of about 600 lm.
When it comes to tables and raised surfaces, for instance, when it comes to the dining table, you need about 30 lm per square foot. This is most commonly solved with the help of a nice low-hanging chandelier. Seeing as how this will help you bring your light source closer to the functional area, you will be able to spend less energy in order to provide the same visibility.
Finally, and most importantly, when it comes to working surfaces, places where you need the optimal visibility, you will have to provide the intensity of 50 lm per square foot. We are talking about the desk in your home office, the mirror in your bathroom or the reading nook in your living room.
Of course, this is just the iceberg, seeing as how there are other factors that you need to take into consideration. For instance, the taller the ceiling is the stronger the bulbs will have to be in order to provide the satisfactory level of light. Furthermore, if you have any supporting pillars inside of the room (something we addressed earlier), this might further complicate the situation, seeing as how it will create blind spots inside of a room. Luckily, this can be elegantly solved with a nice tall lamp at a strategic location.
3. LED or Incandescent
The next thing you need to choose on is the type of bulbs you are going to use. If you are interested in saving money on bulbs, you should definitely go with LED over incandescent and here are a few reasons why.
First of all, LED has a much more favorable watt-to-lumens ration. The above-discussed 600 lm, which can be achieved with the use of a 40 W incandescent bulb could also be produced with a 10 W LED one.
Apart from this, a LED bulb lasts significantly longer. A standard incandescent bulb lasts somewhere between 1,000 and 2,000 hours while its LED counterparts last anywhere from 25,000 to 50,000 hours. This is a great saving not just in the cost of the bulbs, which you will have to purchase much less often but also in effort, seeing as how you won’t have to replace them anytime soon.
As for the aesthetics, there isn’t really any significant difference, due to the fact that LED can do anything that an incandescent bulb can. For instance, LED lighting experts from Azoogi work with anything from industrial lighting to pool lights and LED strips. In other words, you get to keep the privilege of the full customization of your home’s lighting system and to do something great for the environment while you’re at it.
4. Choose an adequate task light
To get back to the issue of working from home, once you start furnishing your work area, the most important choice (light-wise), will be the one regarding the task light. Here, you have several factors to consider but seeing as how this fixture will be your companion during many sleepless nights, make sure to choose wisely.
The first thing that crosses one’s mind is the choice of style and here, you should probably choose something that goes great with your desk and your room in general. For instance, you don’t want to get a Sci-Fi-like LED task light for your vintage desk or go the other way around.
Next, you should pay attention to the specifics of your industry. Here, you need to think about your job and the specifics of your work. For example, whether you will stare at the screen all the time or you might encounter some documents in the written form. Additionally, you may work with something that includes small parts (even if this on-desk activity is only something you do for a hobby). The latter requires even stronger illumination.
At the end, you also need to take your age into consideration. One study claims that people in their 60s see about 8 time worse than when they were in their 20s. In other words, the older you get, the more light you will need.
5. A few other options
Finally, there are also a few other options you might want to consider for your home office. An ambient or a corrective light can be just perfect for someone who spends their nights staring at the screen. This is particularly convenient for those whose desk isn’t right next to the window. Furthermore, going with an overhead fixture like a pendant lighting might be a much less invasive solution to the lighting problem. This, however, is best-suited for those who don’t require much light.
At the end of the day, the issue of light is definitely the most important one regarding your work-space and even the layout of your entire home. Here, however, all depends on your personal habits and preferences. Some people enjoy ambiance lighting, while others like to illuminate their prized possessions and collections, while leaving the rest of the space, more or less, in dark.
Luckily, alterations to your lighting system are not difficult or expensive to make, which means that you can easily remedy even the decisions you later come to regret. The greatest problem that a bad decision can cause is a temporary drop in productivity, which, nonetheless, is still a serious thing. This is exactly why an issue of your household’s light deserves your full and undivided attention.