Fundamentally, lighting design for the office involves identifying the lighting goals and selecting the correct combination of equipment and techniques that will satisfy these goals. This combination can vary from project to project, making lighting design a creative process that is often more art than science.
Once the goals of the space have been established, if the owner wants the lighting to make an office space appear public, bright and spacious, then the basic design concept might be those of a direct/ indirect lighting system. This will provide task illumination for users while illuminating upper walls and the ceiling to make the space appear bright and visually larger.
First impressions are key and often start in a reception area. By using accent lighting to highlight the greeting area and a wall-mounted company logo, visitor’s attention will naturally be drawn to those images. The design elements can be accented with track lighting or picture lights. These light intensities should be at least three times higher than the general ambient lighting to attract attention.
There are different styles of offices depending on the type of business you operate. Within each business various rooms serve different functions and lighting will change within the office. For example lighting in a board room may feature accent lighting on artwork or portraits, as well as recessed lighting to illuminate the room. But, a cad office may utilize task lighting to illuminate drawing areas without producing glare. Accent lighting and accessories in a law firm will differ from those in a bank.
As in the home, lighting the office begins with determining the goals of the space.
General lighting should be bright enough to provide for a comfortable workspace, but not so bright as to create undue glare off of your papers or computer screen. If your desk is in the center of the room, consider using two large fluorescent ceiling fixtures on each side of your desk or four 6″ recessed fixtures evenly spaced in the room with two of the fixtures aligned with either side of your desk. For glare reduction, avoid placing the fixtures immediately in front of your desk. Task lighting for reading and doing paperwork can be provided by floor or desk lamps.
Mother Nature plays an important role in providing natural light coming in from a window, skylight or other portal. Sunlight can produce warm lighting that really improves the work environment. But, you may need to account for direct sunlight that creates overwhelming glare during certain times of day. A simple blind or even a standing screen will do a nice job of diffusing sunlight and glare shining into a window.
Whether you work in a home office or a cubicle in a large corporation, the character and quality of lighting in your workspace can go a long way toward making you productive. Poor lighting can dampen morale, produce eyestrain and headaches, and ultimately impair your ability to work effectively. In short, it’s important to pay close attention to workspace illumination.
About the author: Catherine Montague is the president of Green Design Innovation and recipient of the 2014 Best of Houzz Award. Green Design Innovation is a full service design firm and providing an International Approach to Interior Design offering an array of residential and commercial interior design services. Core areas of services include: Interior Design, Real Estate Staging & Move-in services, Color Consultation and International Shopping. We are located in Sewickley near Pittsburgh serving our clients in Naples, FL and Paris or wherever they are.