Small office lighting ideas — 7 ways design experts glow up WFH spaces

Our interior pros love these fab and functional small office lighting ideas

Small home office lighting ideas elevated these gorgeous spaces. Here are three pictures of home offices - one white one with a bookshelf and natural light pouring in, one brown one with a desk and lamp fixed to wall, and another white one with a round pendant ceiling light
(Image credit: Future / Original BTC)

You might need small office lighting ideas if you're sitting in yours right now and feel the space could use some illumination.

We've quizzed interior designers to find out their favorite tricks for livening up your WFH space. Clever task lights and adjustable pendants are just a couple of their top bright ideas.

Whether you WFH or have a side hustle going, all small office ideas start with good lighting — and we have seven of them lined up — to help you work comfortably in the space.

Small office lighting ideas — glow ups from the experts

When deciding on the best ideas for small office layouts, knowing what lighting you're going to go for is important.

Our pros have suggested various useful lighting products to help you with these, so we've also sought out fabulous buys to help you get the look.

The prices below were correct at the time of publishing this article.

1. Hang pendant lights

A white home office with a round large white ceiling light, white shelving to the ceiling on two aspects, a white couch, a pine desk and white leather office chair

(Image credit: Future)

Give your hard work the spotlight it deserves by going for pendant lights above your desk.

“Hang pendant lights of small, neat construction to create style and for direct illumination beside the desk or on the floor,” says Artem Kropovinsky, interior designer and founder of Arsight.

Artem Kropovinsky
Artem Kropovinsky

Artem Kropovinsky is an interior design expert and founder of Arsight, an award-winning interior design studio based in New York. He's added sleek illumination to a variety of rooms throughout the years including small offices where floor space is at a premium, making him a whizz in clever lighting placement.

He recommends using adjustable height pendants, as you can use them to focus light in different areas of the room.

2. Utilize natural light

A narrow white home office with a large window in the background a chair and a desk to the right hand side, and a desk with a puzzle on it to the left

(Image credit: Future)

When you’re hunched over your desk, it can be easy to miss the beauty going on outside your window. 

Making the most of windows will not only boost your work mood and make you feel more motivated in your small office, but will also enhance your small office lighting.

“It's a good idea to take advantage of natural light,” says Anne Haas, principal designer and owner of Anne Haas Design.

A picture of Anne Haas, a woman with brown hair wearing a white shirt, sitting on a white chair
Anne Haas

Anne Haas is a Northern Virginia based interior designer with 12 years of experience. She help professionals and busy families create the beautiful and comfortable home they want to live, relax and entertain in.

She likes to use cellular or honeycomb blinds (these Ebern Designs EcoHome Shades on Wayfair would work well in any home) that can open from the top or the bottom.

Artem also suggests placing your desk by your window, in order to capitalize on natural light as much as possible.

3. Opt for LED strips

A desk with a brown side panel and LED lights, with a white chair underneath it

(Image credit: Future)

Your desk is where you’ll be sitting at the most in your office, so giving it a bit of lighting love just makes sense.

“The under shelf and cabinet installation of LED strip lights is a perfect example of modern modular design,” says Artem. These lights work both as ambient lighting as well as in task-centric mode, and at the same time excel in their space-avoiding composition.”

You could even get ones which switch colors, so you can change up the vibe whenever you like, such as these Tenmiro LED Lights on Amazon which have over 53,000 (yes, really!) five-star reviews.

4. Add a desk lamp

A modern, slim right angled gold table lamp on a wooden desk with paper, a pencil sharpener, and blue stacked shallow storage boxes on it

(Image credit: Black By Design)

This is a tip for all the renters out there who can’t change their overhead lighting, but still are looking for small office lighting ideas.

“Desk lamps will help you work comfortably throughout the day,” says Mohammad Ahmed, interior designer and founder of The Home Guidance.

A picture of Mohammad Ahmed in a brown suit
Mohammad Ahmed

Mohammad Ahmed is an interior designer and home expert. He has worked as an interior designer in various companies, designing functional and beautiful well-lit spaces for clients.

“Look for geometric shapes in glass, metal, or concrete to complement your minimalist home office aesthetic,” he adds.

It’s also a good idea to find flexible desk lamps which allow you to direct the light exactly where you want, such as this adorable Bohon Gooseneck Desk Lamp on Amazon.

5. Bring in recessed lighting

A small home office with an ornate beige desk with two drawers and golden handles, a black wooden chair with rattan back, a white conical lamp attached to the wall, and a green wall-mounted shelving unit

(Image credit: Original BTC)

Swish modern small office ideas are all about using simple yet sleek light fittings, which is where recessed lighting comes into play.

Artem says, “In small offices, the linear aesthetic is achieved through the use of recessed lighting with no extra decorations.”

He adds, “This type of lighting arrangement provides a clean, bright ambiance.”

For the most energy-effective choice, Artem suggests going for LED recessed lights. We like these Ensenior LED Recessed Lights on Amazon as they come in a pack of twelve, so you can apply as many as you like.

6. Place down a floor lamp

A retro looking wooden desk with easels on it, a white rocking chair with striped grey and white cushion, and floor lamp next to it

(Image credit: Future)

Taking breaks from your computer throughout the day can be hard to do, but by creating a cozy reading nook idea in your small office, you’ll have the perfect place to take time for yourself.

Anna explains, “If you have a reading chair, a task floor lamp would work so well alongside it. This can also be turned off or on throughout the day depending on how much work is being done and how many people are using the room.”

Making the most of vertical space is also one of our favorite ways to make a small room look bigger.

7. Flick on dimmer switches

A wooden wall shelf with books, wooden bird ornament, and grey small empty vase, plus a gold dimmer switch on right side edge

(Image credit: JUNG)

Being able to fully control your lighting throughout the day will help you work well no matter the time or the natural light pouring in.

Anna explains, “I like to use a combination of recessed lighting, as well as a central chandelier or flush mount light in the center of the ceiling. Both of these are on separate electrical switches and dimmers, to give clients a generous amount of variation in their overhead lighting.”

Look for easy-to-install dimmer switches, such as these Bestten Dimmer Light Switches on Amazon. They also come in five different hues, so you can coordinate the fitting with one of the best colors for small offices.

No matter how big or how small you go, adding lighting to your small office will improve the ambiance and comfort of the space you work in massively.

If you’re now in the mood to add sparkle to more spaces in your home, these expert-approved small living room lighting ideas will also add stunning shimmer to your home.

Eve Smallman
Content Editor

Hi there! I’m a content editor at Real Homes. I've been a lifestyle journalist for over five years, previously working as an editor across regional magazines. Before this, I graduated from Nottingham Trent University a degree in journalism, along with an NCTJ gold diploma. I love running, decorating my rented Victorian home, and discovering new cheeses. For Real Homes, I specialize in interior design, trends and finding the best viral buys.