How to Use Color and Lighting to Enhance Your Home Office
Most commercial offices are painted a dull gray or beige, though one wonders why. Haven’t the professional designers ever heard about the way color affects the mind? Just as the ergonomics of our working environment affects our physical bodies, the colors of the workplace also affects our emotions and our creativity.
Some of the brighter colors e.g., bright yellow, cause eyestrain if used too much, but so do large areas of white, because white reflects light to about 80 %, making our eyes constantly adjust to adapt. Faber Birren, who is considered the father of color psychology, reduced industrial accidents dramatically by the use of color in factories.
The right use of color can stimulate the brain, increase productivity and create a calming effect, while the wrong mixture of color can create nausea, drowsiness or aggression. It is important to have the right color — or combination of colors — in our home office, otherwise we could fall asleep or yell at the clients.
Colors that are low light reflective are better for the office worker as they tend to cause less eyestrain and tiredness. You can also use color to make a small work area seem more spacious, or even define your workspace. If your home business is stressful, then you can lower your stress levels and maintain your physical and emotional health by using the right color.
A dull gray is considered the best color for viewing documents, so how can we make sure we don’t strain our eyes and still have that necessary color to stimulate our senses? You can use bright colors as accessories in the workplace. For instance, you can have neutral walls and a bright red or blue chair.
When thinking in terms of storage, most office storage comes in dull gray, brown or off-white, so if yours is like that, why not add color with a brighter carpet or mat, a richly-colored picture on the wall, or a pretty vase of flowers? These kinds of things can cause the blandest office to take on new life.
Or you may prefer to start from scratch and do your walls over in tangerine with white trim, then it won’t matter how dull the office furniture is. In fact it may need to be dull to rest the eyes a bit. And the carpet or flooring could be a contrast too, in some cooler, calmer color. A deep wood grain would be fantastic.
Lighting in the home office can come from several different sources. Windows provide natural lighting that comes from the windows. There is also reflected light that may be from a natural source such as a window in another room, and there is artificial light. If you like natural lighting and the window is in the wrong place, then consider installing a skylight. A skylight will provide lots of wonderful natural light, often without a glare that comes from a window.
Artificial light can be from your ceiling light or from floor or table lamps of various kinds. These can use fluorescent or and incandescent globes, though the former is considered the best for office work.
Natural light may be adequate for daytime use, but in most cases it is not ideal, as you can’t always situate the computer in the correct position. Often glare from the window reflects in the monitor and that causes eyestrain. If that happens, then you may want to block the window light with curtains or a blind of some kind. Or you may want to block it out almost completely and rely on artificial lighting.
While you can get a monitor with an anti-glare screen, it may be that light reflects onto other shiny surfaces such as a plastic filing cabinet or storage areas. If this is too bright, it will cause eye irritation, even if you are not looking directly at it. If you cannot move the offending item, then you can cover the shiny spot with a cloth, or move something else between your eye and the bright spot to block it from sight.
If your room has good general lighting, you may be happy with just a lamp for spot work. If you have a lamp on your desk, make sure it has a good shade so that your face can be kept in shadow. You may prefer a freestanding lamp that you can move. If so, get one with a heavy base that cannot be knocked over.
Accent lighting is often used in an office to showcase work trophies, awards or other important items. This can create a professional-looking office, one that is both beautiful and a relaxing. It can create an atmosphere that will welcome clients and reassure them of your professionalism. Whatever sort of lighting you get for your office, take the time to get it right and you will reward yourself with days of headache-free work.
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