The New World Office

by | Jan 8, 2021 | News

Transitioning from the work office to the home office has been increasingly difficult.


Home can be full of distractions – roommates, pets, kids, spouses – and responsibilities that shirk our attention away. You might be looking for ways to feel more professional in an otherwise informal setting. A few tricks we have seen to reproduce an office setting at home (ie. change out of your sweats, use a standing desk, get a white board) can shift your mind’s perception. Our industry knows that lighting does not only change the room’s ambiance, but also has lasting effects on wellness and stability.


A room’s entire atmosphere can be changed just by color temperature. Warm lighting is typically associated with comfort and coziness. There is a feeling of closeness much like sitting around a campfire swapping stories. As we move into bluer tones, our body’s alertness is activated much more. It is standard for commercial offices to use fixtures ranging from 4000K~6000K as with blue-enriched lighting, our bodies feel more ‘awake’. Cooler color temperatures are less straining on the eyes and known for improved task management.

While the go-to solution for office lighting is to choose a brighter and whiter (read: more blue) light source, it’s important to consider how and why it affects us so. Under cool temperature lighting, our bodies stimulate more energy – the same way we feel in the middle of the day as opposed to sunset. Our body’s biophilia weens us toward the sun’s light cycle, so when we spend the majority of our time inside, our body attempts to align with the artificial light. Standard task lighting, however, is typically a static cool color temperature and often not dimmed, which throws circadian rhythm out of sync.

Realigning this rhythm is best honed through a mixture of changes in color temperature, dimming, and scheduling to simulate natural lighting without being outside. Studies have shown that following the sun’s natural cadence has been favorable toward mood, sleep, and overall stability by boosting morale, lowering stress, and improving task performance. Opt for blue light tones during the day and warmer lighting at night. Set a schedule for how warm, how bright, and how much blue lighting we are exposed to throughout the day to help create boundaries on how we utilize the space. For those whose kitchens or living rooms have turned into a makeshift office, having color temperature, dimming, and timing capabilities is even more beneficial.


A prime example of an all encompassing solution would be Ketra’s human centric lighting line. While Ketra offers fun colors, you can also sync fixtures to an astronomical timer to replicate outdoor lighting conditions based on time and location.

Ketra’s patented technology boasts high performance with consistent color and flicker-free dimming to 0.1%. Each LED uses a four-channel system following the black body curve, giving the user precise control on vibrancy and intensity for over 17 million colors, 1400K ~ 10,000K. TruBeam control allows for customizable optics on the reflector and lens, while Color Lock maintains uniform color across all lights throughout the LED’s lifetime.

Singularly, these capabilities are considered top-of-the-line, features found in quality lighting. Ketra’s most impressive feat is having the technology compact into various fixture styles that can seamlessly integrate into Lutron’s home automation systems. They have created a light source with a dynamic palette of control allowing for complete personalization for any task at hand.

In the coming months and years, we will need to continually adapt to the constantly changing work environment. It would seem to us that we will never go back to 100% working in the office and according to a report from Deutsch Bank, most workers express a desire to continue working from home at least part of the time, even when it’s no longer necessary. If we mix home and work lifestyles, then we must be deliberate in the way we use indoor lighting that is not strenuous to our bodies. There are several excellent case studies on how lighting can affect people in the commercial workspace; now, we need to transition those ideas to the new work environment.

Princeton Case Study
University of Texas locker room Case Study
Franklin and Marshall Case Study
Madison College Case Study
Ketra in Residential Application: Whistling Valley Home
Ketra in Commercial Application: Delos
Deep Dive into Wellness


Western’s business has always been segmented equally between commercial and residential sectors. This understanding of both sides of the business helped us plan for this new evolution of workspaces. Western began in 1996 as a small sales agency servicing the San Diego lighting community and has been servicing the Los Angeles market for over 10 years now. Western is committed to offering responsive service and innovative products to professionals in the lighting and energy control industry. Our goal is to take the project from Specification to project start up. Clients can trust that we are providing appropriate product solutions that will ensure the most successful and efficient outcome for each project we touch.

This article originally appeared in the December 2020 issue of designing lighting.