Create a Home Office That Works for You


If your office work at home is limited to tasks like checking email, paying bills and filing paperwork, a small desk in a kitchen nook or bedroom is probably all you need. But if you work from home all or some of the time — or spend long hours at the computer on projects or schoolwork — you’ll need a more sophisticated office setup. A well-designed home office has comfortable workstations, good lighting and a layout that puts work surfaces, storage, technology and other essentials where you need them.

Plan Your Lighting

The presence of computer monitors can make office spaces tricky to light. Light needs to be diffused and the fixtures positioned to avoid creating screen glare, which can lead to eyestrain.

Lighting designers say a home office should have layers of light rather than a single light source. The light in this New York office, for example, comes from recessed ceiling lights, a pendant light, a desk lamp and a window with a blind.

Here are basic lighting types and options.

  • Ambient lighting includes recessed lights, ceiling-mounted lights, sconces and uplights. It can be used for both general illumination and localized lighting for work areas.
  • Task lighting, provided by desk and floor lamps, should focus light on work surfaces and not on computer screens.
  • Accent lighting, from recessed lights, spotlights and picture lights, can be used to highlight shelving areas and art and to outline the boundaries of a room.
  • Natural light from windows, doors and skylights shows the true colors of objects (which is important for those who work with color). Position workstations and install blinds, draperies or other window coverings to shield monitors from glare and excessive sunlight.