The Ideal Home Office – Room Lighting – Part 1

Nowadays many of us have to consider 2 factors: how the lighting in our workspace helps us see what we’re doing, and how the lighting affects our appearance to others over a webcam.

With both of those in mind, here are 5 tips for optimal room lighting:

1. Honeycomb blinds – this was a game changer for me. Honeycomb blinds allow you to raise your blinds from the bottom, and also lower them from the top. On weekends I raise them from the bottom to let in more sunlight and fresh air. On workdays, I lower them from the top, which allows me to avoid screen glare, prevents journalists from photographing whatever is on my screen (in the VFX world we do sign NDA’s), while still benefiting from natural light.

2. Consider a 2 or 3 point light setup for better balance. These setups are commonly used in portrait photography and filmmaking. I have a streaming LED light above my right monitor (careful not to point it at the screen) that acts as a key light to separate me from my background and direct attention. I only use this light during Zoom meetings. The less directional LED table light on my left that acts as fill when it’s dark outside. This helps me avoid unflattering shadows revealing how ancient I am. Each light can be made brighter or dimmer too, for more flexibility. It’s far more consistent and less straining on the eyes than using monitors as light sources. And you don’t need an expensive brand name choice; there are many affordable LED lights for streaming/video conferencing.

3. The room next to my office is separated by a sliding glass door. We put up curtains so that even if the neighbouring room’s lights are on, they doesn’t affect my office lighting. We also hired a contractor to install a door to the rear of my office. This allows me to block unwanted light from any direction. (It’s also helpful when you have kids, as fellow parents will attest).

4. I almost never use the incandescent light bulb on the ceiling of my office. In fact, I really should switch to an LED bulb, since I can have a comparable level of brightness at lower cost while also removing the yellow glow it casts on everything. I’ll aim for 5000 to 6500 Kelvin (Daylight). I like how LED bulbs can be used with dimmer switches too. This is a nice guide for choosing a light bulb: https://www.lowes.com/n/buying-guide/lightbulb-buying-guide (I will share an update on this in the upcoming part 2 to this post).

5. Draw inspiration from the popular Architect Redesigns videos by Daniel Titchener. I particularly enjoy watching his process for tackling small offices, and his suggestion of attaching white LED light strips to the back of monitors (not over the vents) for soft ambient light. Watch it below:

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