The Perfect Desktop Lighting for your Setup - Minimal Desk Setups (2023)

Welcome back to another one of our weekly articles. This week we’re looking at how to achieve the perfect desktop lighting for your day time workspace or your night time battlestation. If you haven’t read our ultimate guide for minimal desk setups, you should start with that!

For those who already know what a monitor lamp is, you can have a look at what we rate as our top 5 best value computer monitor lamps of 2021 are.

We mention that desktop lighting will be different dependent on the type of setup you have. If you have a home office setup here are some more specific tips on how to improve your home office lighting, check out this guide.

Decking out your entire setup with RGB strips and RGB parts for your desktop may seem like a great option. Rumour has it that adding RBGs will even make your PCs go faster 😉 Okay, enough joking around. Let’s get down to the key elements on how to achieve the perfect lighting for your setup. We will be talking about:

  1. Why do we need good lighting for our setup?
  2. Proximity to natural lighting
  3. Color temperature of the light
  4. Backlighting for your table
  5. Desk Lamp vs Monitor light bars
  6. Using Smart Lights

Okay so, why do we need good desktop lighting for our setup?

So that we can take some sick photos and upload it to r/Battlestations and get infinite karma. After that, you can also upload it to Instagram and tag @minimal.desksetups to get it featured. At the end of the day, you can bask in the glory of mesmerising millions of people around the world with ultimate RGB light show you’re putting on.

The Perfect Desktop Lighting for your Setup - Minimal Desk Setups (1)

Okay a bit overboard, but really, there are health and productivity benefits to having proper lighting. The quality of lighting can not only help increase the aesthetics of your desk setup but also your productivity. For one, proper lighting helps protect your eyes as poor lighting can reduce energy and may even affect your health, causing eyestrain and headaches, and ultimately impair your ability to work or game. Choosing appropriate lighting can also help you sleep at night which in turn will improve your efficiency for the next day. Sounds a bit complicated, doesn’t it? Don’t worry, we’ll help you through it by providing some key tips to find your ideal lighting solution.

(Video) My Minimal Productivity Mac Desk Setup (for students, office work, developers, and more!)

What is good desktop lighting?

Ambient lighting and accent lighting can be added to help improve the visual character of any desk setup. Whether it’s a fully-fledged RGB controlled system for your battlestation or some simple warm ambient lighting for your workstation.

In terms of ergonomic lighting, a good amount of light for your workspace setup is where the ambient lighting isn’t too bright and is just enough. Our top tip is to allow for as much natural light as possible, whether via windows or a skylight, as warm natural sunlight will help improve any desk setup. You may need to account for glare during certain times of the day, however with the use of blinds or curtains. The main thing you want to watch out for is having high contrast between your monitor and the ambient lighting. It is generally not advised to position your monitor directly in front of a window.

The Perfect Desktop Lighting for your Setup - Minimal Desk Setups (2)

Similarly, positioning a monitor too close to a window may result in glare which may have a negative impact on your vision over prolonged exposure. In terms of general lighting for the room, try not to use incandescent light as it has poor energy efficiency and try to use lighting options that utilise LEDs or fluorescent light bulbs. There are a variety of lighting options available that fit this criterion and it will be explored later in the article.

The Perfect Desktop Lighting for your Setup - Minimal Desk Setups (3)

Color temperature of light

What is the colour temperature of light?

Light generally it sits on a scale of temperature between cool and warm. To the human eye, warmer temperature light appears more yellow and cooler temperature lights will appear more white or blue.

The Perfect Desktop Lighting for your Setup - Minimal Desk Setups (4)

When staring at a computer screen all day, your body will suppress the production of melatonin. (Melatonin is a chemical produced by your body to help you fall asleep). This problem is generally present in every device that has a screen, including your mobile phone and tablet. To resolve this issue, most phones have a function to automatically dim and change the colour temperature of the screen to warmer tones during night time periods. For computer monitors, Windows 10’s built-in “Night Light” mode or programs such as f.lux can the same effect.

How to improve ambient lighting?

Surprisingly, the addition of warmer tone LED backlights your desk is a legitimate way to improve the ambient lighting in the room. Some people go as far as having the RGB lighting vary between cool and warm colours between day and night. Another way is to simply use standing lamps or desk lamps. However, recently, the use of screen bars and monitor lamps have become increasingly popular.

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The Perfect Desktop Lighting for your Setup - Minimal Desk Setups (5)

What are Monitor Lamps or Screen Bars?

Monitor lamps or screen bars are a LED desk lighting solution that is mounted on top of your monitor. You’re probably wondering why someone would do that, wouldn’t this cause glare? Well, monitor lamps are actually designed to focus light onto your workspace or desk, and not directly onto your face and eyes. The beam of light is extremely focused and is prevented from causing glare due to its design. See the image below.

The Perfect Desktop Lighting for your Setup - Minimal Desk Setups (6)
The Perfect Desktop Lighting for your Setup - Minimal Desk Setups (7)

In addition, most screen bars will have controls that allow you to adjust the brightness of the light. Some monitor lamps will also include the ability to adjust the colour temperature, which is a very important function.

Advantages of using a Monitor Lamp/Screen Bar:

  1. Improve the lighting conditions of your work space
  2. Reduce desk clutter, as the lamp is mounted to the monitor

Here are the top available Monitor Lamp/Screen Bar options.

Xiaomi MiJia Monitor Lamp

( 69USD | 59 GBP | 99 AUD)

Currently on SALE @ MDS for $59 USD with FREE SHIPPING (View Special Offer)

The Xiaomi MiJia Monitor Lamp has one best monitor lamp designs to date. If you’re interested, you can read our comprehensive review on the Xiaomi Monitor Light Bar. The main advantage of the design lies with a completely wireless control dial. For a minimal desk setup, this is a product we can wholeheartedly recommend. If you want to the TLDR version, have a look at our review video below.

(Video) A Simple and Minimal Laptop-Focused Desk Setup Tour

Here are some remarks:

  • The build quality is fairly high with an aluminum body
  • The design is extremely sleek
  • The wireless control dial also comes with several preset functions which is unique
  • The attachment mechanism allows for a 25-degree magnetic adjustment to ensure that the beam of light is focused on your desk space.
  • We would like to see a more variety on the color options of the actual monitor lamp as it is only available in black.
The Perfect Desktop Lighting for your Setup - Minimal Desk Setups (8)
The Perfect Desktop Lighting for your Setup - Minimal Desk Setups (9)
The Perfect Desktop Lighting for your Setup - Minimal Desk Setups (10)
The Perfect Desktop Lighting for your Setup - Minimal Desk Setups (11)

BenQ Screen Bar

(129USD | 89 GBP | 179 AUD)

See Product Here

The BenQ e-Reading Screen Bar has been around for a while and is considered one of the best products in its class.

The Perfect Desktop Lighting for your Setup - Minimal Desk Setups (12)

It features an auto-dimming function as well as colour temperature control via a dial. Here are some remarks regarding the Screen Bar:

  • The construction of the screen bar is extremely solid as it is built from aluminium alloy
  • It mounts onto your monitor through an ingenious counterweight system.
  • Fairly easy to use with the intuitive dial system.

In terms of desktop lighting, BenQ’s light bar does not disappoint. We have a full review on the Benq Screen light – so have a read.

Overall, we think that the Xiaomi Monitor lamp is the most competitive option as it differentiates itself from the BenQ due to its competitive price and more robust feature set, one being the wireless dial. Although, there are a variety of options available in terms of desk lighting, such as desk lamps, to achieve the most minimal setup, reducing the number of items on your desk is always key. That is why using a monitor lamp compared to a conventional desk lamp is recommended.

(Video) Architect's 5 Step Desk Setup Makeover

How to use Smart lights for your desk setup

The age of smart lights has finally come after affordability has crippled its propagation for the last 5 years. We finally have some budget-friendly smart lights that can really help improve the desktop lighting of your setup.

What is Smart Lighting? or Smart Bulb?

It’s basically smart lighting are lights that can be controlled over your Wi-Fi or blue tooth. Most of the options available on the market give you the ability to control the light via Google home or apple home kit as well. We think it’s also very useful because you are able to control colour temperature and brightness as well. Both of which are critical to ensuring good ambient desktop lighting for higher productivity.

The Phillip Hue Killer: Yeelight Smart Bulb W3

The Phillips hue is a smart light technology that has been in the market for ages, but it’s notorious for being expensive and would be considered a luxury to improve your desktop lighting. In comes Yeelight with their smart bulb which has all the same features for literally a quarter of their price. We have a pretty fast-paced Youtube shorts that shows it off. Take a look below

If you’re interested in getting a smart bulb from Yeelight to improve your desktop lighting see the links below

  • The Official MDS store – We’ve started stocking it too – See here
  • Yeelight Australian Store – See here

Stay tuned as we continue to release content regarding desktop lighting to help you optimise your desk lighting! Let us know via Instagram or any other platform what you want to see and we’ll try our best to produce content revolving around that.


What is the best lighting setup for a computer desk? ›

In general, it's best to have natural light in front of or next to work surfaces and computer screens to avoid glare and maximize your outside views. You can also position your workstation facing north or south so that the sunlight doesn't throw a shadow at any point in the day.

What is the best lighting for coding? ›

Low-level and glare-free ambient lighting offers the best overhead illumination for working on your computer. Tone down excessive or intense ceiling lights by removing some of the light bulbs or fluorescent tubes from existing light fixtures, or opt for replacing high-wattage bulbs for low-level replacements.

How do I light up my desk space? ›

Working from home: How to light your workspace
  1. Working from home? ...
  2. Make the most of natural light. ...
  3. Avoid contrast and shadows. ...
  4. Install a dimmer switch. ...
  5. Use a desk lamp or table lamp for targeted light. ...
  6. Save on desk space with a floor lamp or wall-mounted light. ...
  7. Browse our full range of affordable designer lighting.
May 19, 2021

Should desk light be warm or cool? ›

Your eyes must work hard to adapt to this, which is very tiring. Therefore, it's better to place lighting with higher color temperatures (3000 - 4000K) or cold white light (more than 5000K) in workstations like a desk, office or restaurant kitchens.

What is the recommended lighting level in office desk? ›

According to the standard EN 12464 Light and lighting - Lighting of workplaces -Indoor work places, the light level recommended for office work is the range 500 - 1000 lux - depending on activity. For precision and detailed works the light level may even approach 1500 - 2000 lux.

What is the most efficient lighting design? ›

LED bulbs produce 90 to 112 lumens per watt, Compact Fluorescent Lamps produce 40 to 70 lumens per watt, and incandescent bulbs produce 10 to 17 lumens per watt. From this, you can see LED light bulbs are the most energy efficient.

What color lighting looks best? ›

2700-3000K is a soft warm light and suitable if you would like a healthy glow for photography and not make up application. 3500K-4100K is a neutral white light and its good for photography. 4800K-5000K is recommended for make up application and photography as it is not too warm or too cool.

How do I choose a lighting style? ›

Selecting lighting for a space is a multi-faceted process that takes many different, key factors into account. As designer Marilyn Sygrove explained, "In selecting lighting we take into consideration the following criteria: purpose, amount of light, quality of light, type of fixture, and if it is a decorative fixture.

Should my desk face the window for lighting? ›

Sunlight can help you have a positive mood and help create a better overall work environment. Although a great view is tempting, like I mentioned, most designers would say to place the desk in the center of the room facing the room entrance.

What is the best lighting for office eyes? ›

The best office lighting for eyes is LED using natural white lights that are not too bright and positioned away from your eyes. Typically around 4000K/4500K color temperature is popular for modern offices as it's a good balance of between warm and cool light and isn't as harsh as older office lighting.

Is LED light good for desk? ›

They're durable, power-saving, and have better lighting quality than traditional incandescent lamps. Many of the best LED desk lamps have tweakable light settings, meaning you can set custom brightness levels and warmth intensity suitable for the task at hand.

What lighting is most realistic? ›

Natural sunlight provides the most accurate reflection of your face, but for those cloudy days when fresh rays aren't an option, white light is closest to daylight and is best for all types of content, according to Kaiser as it closely resembles the color spectrum of natural light while evenly distributing light across ...

What are the 4 qualities of lighting design? ›

These basic qualities of light are; INTENSITY, FORM, COLOR, DIRECTION and MOVEMENT.

What lighting is most accurate? ›

Sunlight has the highest CRI (Color Rendering Index), which is the measurement of a light source's capacity to accurately reveal the various colors of an object. In other words, it's the truest representation of the actual colors in a work of art. The next best thing to natural light is LED lighting.

What color light is most relaxing? ›

1. Blue light. According to a 2017 study in the scientific journal PLOS ONE (9), blue lighting “accelerates the relaxation process after stress in comparison with conventional white lighting.” This study found that stressed people immersed in blue light relaxed three times as quickly as in white light.

What color LED light is best for work? ›

In general, warmer yellow or orange lights tend to be better for relaxing, whereas cooler blue and white lights are good for working, waking up, and concentrating. If possible, the lighting temperature and color should vary based on the time of day.

Is bright white or daylight better? ›

If you want task lighting in the living room, a bright white bulb is the best option for most settings. Ambient lights are often soft white, while daylight bulbs are nice to use in darker spaces where sunlight doesn't enter often. Table lamps play a critical role in your overall scheme.

How do I know if I have enough lighting? ›

Let's recap how to gauge how much light you need for a space. Multiply your room square footage by the footcandle requirement. For example, a 100-square foot living room, which needs 20 foot candles, will need 2,000 lumens. A 100-square foot dining room, which needs 40 foot-candles, will need 4,000 lumens.

What are the 4 categories of lighting? ›

There are four main types of lighting – ambient, task, accent, and decorative.

What are 5 common types of lighting? ›

5 Different Types of Light Bulbs
  • 1- Incandescent Bulbs:
  • 2- Fluorescent Lamps:
  • 3- Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFL):
  • 4- Halogen Lamps:
  • 5- Light Emitting Diode (LED):
Mar 17, 2017

How can I make my desk attractive? ›

Here are a few ideas to get you started:
  1. Hang a Wire to Display Pictures. ...
  2. Keep Notes in Colorful Holders. ...
  3. Bring in Some Greenery. ...
  4. Add Decoration to Your Boards. ...
  5. Use Fun Magnets or Push Pins. ...
  6. Hold Files With Decorative Bookends. ...
  7. Switch Out Your Mug. ...
  8. Add a Little Interest to Your Writing Implements.

How do you make a desk cozy? ›

Enjoy these 9 simple ways to make your office feel more like home!
  1. Find a smell that makes your heart happy with aromatherapy. ...
  2. Find an accent rug that softens the room. ...
  3. Elevate the mood with inspiring art. ...
  4. Create warmth by adding live greenery. ...
  5. Adjust the lighting in your space. ...
  6. Choose furniture that reminds you of home.
Nov 26, 2019

How do I make my desk setup nice? ›

What is the best desk setup for productivity?
  1. Set up near a window.
  2. Consider a standing desk setup.
  3. Invest in an ergonomic chair.
  4. Use a keyboard and mouse for enhanced ergonomics.
  5. Keep a plant(s) nearby.
  6. Accessorize strategically for a more organized work flow.
Feb 14, 2019

Should office light be in front or behind? ›

Instead, ensure that you are facing the light source to bring your face into focus and not the background. While a light source works well behind the camera to illuminate your face, it's not ideal to have your computer placed in front of it. The best solution is to place a desk lamp off to your side.

Should I put my desk in front of or behind a window? ›

Put Your Back to the Window

Although it might be tempting to face the window and enjoy the beautiful view in front of you throughout the day, it's often more productive to sit with your back to the window. A desk in front of a window can cause distractions and limited visibility when the sun is shining brightly.

How do I set up the best lighting in my home office? ›

How to light a home office
  1. Use desk lamps for your home office. ...
  2. Create indirect office lighting with floor lamps. ...
  3. Multitask using a home office ceiling light. ...
  4. Cast light evenly. ...
  5. Mimick the sun. ...
  6. Reduce computer screen glare. ...
  7. Use bias lighting. ...
  8. If you have a separate home office.
Nov 1, 2022

Is dark or light better for coding? ›

Certain coding languages may become more legible in dark mode, depending on the style and font. In addition, the light-on-black color scheme of dark mode can assist with syntax highlighting by allowing programmers to more easily distinguish different-colored fonts.

What color mode coding is best? ›

As a quick reference, the RGB color mode is best for digital work, while CMYK is used for print products.

Should I code in light or dark mode? ›

You should use a light color scheme if you write code during the day in a well lit room with lots of backlighting, white walls etc. This is an environment where a white background color scheme is going to be much easier on your eyes.

Which color is good for coding? ›

Most early computers used light text on dark background in order to save power. As computers became more consumer-friendly, however, developers began to use black text on white backgrounds to imitate the black ink on white paper that most people were used to.

What is the best coding layout? ›

The Programmer Dvorak keyboard layout is the most comfortable and efficient layout for programmers. While the traditional Dvorak layout inherits awkward symbol locations from QWERTY, Programmer Dvorak makes the symbol row more intuitive.

What is the best style of coding? ›

Good coding style
  • Good code is self-explanatory – the need for comments should be minimal. Comments should be added to those parts of the code where explanations are needed.
  • With code one should not be clever if it is not necessary – do things in an obvious straightforward way.

Which window is best for coding? ›

Windows 10 is the most stable and widely used OS version for programming.

Which background color is best for eyes for coding? ›

Most developers use a black screen with color-coded syntax to reduce eye strain. As Toptal developer Kevin Bloch puts it: “A black background reduces eye strain and makes automatic color coding easier to read, which makes code much faster to understand at a glance.”

Which color theme is good for eyes? ›

Dark mode effectively decreases glare and blue light, which are both beneficial for your eyes.

What are the 5 different color modes? ›

Color modes are the settings designers use to show colors consistently across devices and materials. Commonly used modes are LAB, RGB, CMYK, index, grayscale and bitmap, which differ in quality and file size.

Which light mode is better for eyes? ›

Also, Dark mode emits less blue light, which reduces eye fatigue and blinking (dry eyes), especially in low light conditions. Dark mode contributes to a better sleep if you worked before going to bed, which can be translated in a better work efficiency on the next day.

Why you should always use dark mode? ›

Reduces eye strain at night and cuts glare

Dark mode users find reading easier in low light with less eye strain. They also claim it helps them fall asleep quickly and stay asleep longer. This could be because screens expose you to more blue light at night, which could disrupt your circadian rhythm.

Is dark mode better for PC? ›

Dark modes are great for darker workspaces.

However, using a computer in the dark can result in high screen contrast that can be hard on the eyes. During times like these, computer screen dark mode is downright necessary.

What are the 3 color codes? ›

Colors are almost always written with the Red value first, the Green value second, and the Blue value third. Memorize "RGB" and you will remember the ordering. Here are some examples: White = [ 255, 255, 255 ]

What is the most obnoxious color code? ›

Pantone 448 C is a colour in the Pantone colour system. Described as a drab dark brown and informally dubbed the "ugliest colour in the world", it was selected in 2012 as the colour for plain tobacco and cigarette packaging in Australia, after market researchers determined that it was the least attractive colour.

What is computer color code? ›

A HTML color code is an identifier used to represent a color on the web. Color codes are ways of representing the colors we see everyday in a format that a computer can interpret and display. Commonly used in websites and other software applications, there are a variety of formats.


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3. Architect's Minimalist ZERO CABLE Desk & Gaming PC Setup
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4. How To Light Your Desk Setup & Workspace I Budget Smart LED Strip Lights By Govee
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