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Three Ways to Layer Your Office Lighting — And Why You Should

Layering office lighting to improve workplace

Nobody likes their office lighting. The overhead lights are jarring, glare off of computer screens, and are hard on the eyes, especially after hours of work. But you can change your office to stand out and make everyone feel more comfortable with layered lighting. Here’s how:

What should you have beyond basic lighting?

Most office spaces come with ceiling lighting that has prescribed light bulbs, and their leasing contracts usually have stipulations regarding light bulbs or your landlord provides them. But if you’re allowed a bit of variation, change your lights to softer white lighting. It’s easier on the eyes and doesn’t drain the area of color. However, keep it white instead of yellow, or else the lighting will look old or cheap to onsite clients. Once your base layer of lighting is ready, you should add:

Accent lighting.

Add accent lighting near any large screens, decorated walls, and in the breakrooms. Accent lighting is a soft but pointed light that focuses on artwork, design elements, or just smaller gathering areas like tables or huddle areas. It makes areas feel homier and breaks up open offices so they’re not as stark.

Task-oriented lighting.

You don’t want your overhead lighting to be too powerful. That’s what creates glare, eye strain, and dark shadows around cubicle walls. To keep the overhead lighting comfortable and let your other layers of light do their job, add task lighting where people do a lot of work. This could mean lamps at every cubicle, additional lights in meeting rooms, and lights that focus on whiteboards. The individual lighting makes it easier to do visual tasks like reading through spreadsheets and legal documents. Something about directed light also helps people keep focus, no matter the setting.


For more lighting and office design tips, go to Tangram here.

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