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Best home office lighting 2021: Brighten your space

Whether you need to revamp your office to make working from home easier or want to look better on those conference calls, we have you covered.

Many of us were forced to make a rapid transition from a traditional working environment to a home office last year due to COVID-19, and for some of us, the shift may be permanent as companies consider implementing hybrid or flexible working models. 

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As our workplaces may end up offering hybrid options by default, you should consider transforming your unused box room or dated office into something suitable for the long-term that is comfortable enough to stay in for your working hours. 

Furniture, a laptop, a camera, a microphone, and perhaps an extra monitor or two are all worth investing in, but lighting considerations should not be dismissed out of hand. You may want to show off your background (or yourself) in the best light possible on your next conference call and the right ambiance can help when you need to concentrate, read, or stare at a screen for long periods of time.  

Custom lighting can prevent eye strain and smart lighting options can be used to inject color and personality into a room you will now be spending a lot more time in.

To view our top picks for home office lighting, check out the list below. 

Philips Hue E26


The Philips Hue lighting range is a well-known Internet of Things (IoT) alternative to standard bulbs, which may produce harsh light and have little flexibility. 

Smart, connected bulbs allow us to take advantage of lighting spectrums and tailor light levels depending on our brightness preferences, all while being controlled via standard switches, mobile apps, or voice assistants including Amazon Alexa and Google Home. 

To get started in the world of IoT lighting, Philips has created the budget-friendly Hue E26 600 lumens light bulbs, offering soft, white lighting. These can improve the comfort factor in your home office, as well as give you the option to tweak lighting levels for work, study, reading, and more.

Wyze Bulbs


Another affordable option are Wyze Bulbs, 800 lumens products that can be used without the need for a smart home hub. Whether or not you prefer crisp, white light in your home office or warmer tones, these bulbs could be a suitable option as they provide a temperature range of 2,700k - 6,500k.

In the same manner as the Philips Hue bulbs previously mentioned, the basic Wyze Bulb only offers the color white, but as an added bonus, you can use an accompanying mobile app to set a timer to turn lights on and off while you are not at home. You can pick up a single bulb for $7.99 or a four-pack for $29.99.

Threshold floor lamp


Lighting products can also act as modern storage solutions or room accessories. If you have a bare-bones home office that needs some functional decoration, or space as at a premium, the Threshold floor lamp -- available from Target -- is a worthwhile investment. 

The floor lamp is available in black or brown, comes with one socket, and stands at 62.5 inches, providing plenty of space for picture frames, books, or a plant or two. 

Nanoleaf Canvas


A modern, sleek, and wall-based lighting solution for home offices is the Nanoleaf Canvas, panels that can be mounted to a wall using adhesive fixtures. 

Nanoleaf's panels are controllable via an app and can be set to a variety of colors and warmth levels. You can also choose themes -- such as for concentration, a sunset, or seasonal colors -- and you can also pick the speed of color transitions.

The square panels could be set on a wall as an office backdrop, for example, or installed behind a monitor for custom lighting while watching films or gaming. 

Philips Hue Signe table light


A premium lighting option for your home office desk is the Philips Hue Signe, a slimline aluminum model offering Philips Hue's full range of colors, brightness and warmth levels, and control via an app or voice assistant. 

The Signe can be positioned to provide your preferred lighting angle so you look your best for camera-based virtual meetings, and can also provide a splash of color in dull office corners. 

Govee smart LED strips


For subtle lighting options, you may want to consider strip lights, such as Govee smart LED strips. 

Available on Amazon, these strips can provide basic color and lighting options via an accompanying mobile application. While you can pick up roughly 16 or 33ft strips, these can be cut to size and are fixed onto surfaces simply by peeling off an adhesive strip. In a home office, they could be used to warm up a room or provide gentle lighting under a desk shelf or behind a screen.

BenQ Screenbar Plus


If you are in the market for a dedicated monitor lighting solution, the BenQ Screenbar Plus could fit the bill.

The BenQ Screenbar Plus is a clip-based light that will work with most monitors, providing a subtle light source without adding to the clutter on your home office desk. 

Designed to prevent eye irritation caused by harsh light, the screenbar eradicates screen glare and can automatically dim itself to between 500 and 300 lux -- the rates recommended to prevent eye strain -- or can be controlled via a small dial. 

LED desk lamp, wireless charger


If you're in the market for a new desk lamp, over at Amazon, you can pick up an LED-based option that comes with a wireless charger for additional convenience. The lamp has five brightness settings, a 30- or 60- minute automatic timer option, and different lighting modes. 

Sputnik semi-flush chandelier


Walnut Tree's Sputnik chandelier is a modern option for your home office and is installed semi-flush on a ceiling. Available in black, nickel, or brass, up to eight bulbs -- not included -- are positioned on metal rods and depending on your bulb choice, whether LED, halogen, or other options, you have the option to further customize your office space. This option is compatible with dimmer switches, too.

Buyer's Guide:

While deciding the best options for lighting in home offices today, ZDNet explored a variety of options ranging from traditional, basic, and affordable lighting to more modern options that take advantage of the emergence of IoT, mobility, and intelligent devices. 

Our homes are becoming smarter every year and as remote working is potentially going to become a more familiar and typical working practice in the future -- and, as a minimum while the COVID-19 pandemic lasts, a common occurrence -- the office should not be ignored.

Choosing the correct forms of lighting can not only increase our comfort but may also help prevent eye strain and improve our concentration, thereby making it slightly easier to work from home -- a place often full of distractions. Today's smart, connected lighting solutions go beyond the harsh, yellow-white light that was the only option on the table and are certainly worth exploring to improve your office, and perhaps, the rest of your home, too.