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How to choose lighting? Buyers's guide

Even though natural light remains a requirement, it cannot - by definition - ensure an adequate level of illumination throughout the day. But how do you choose your lamps among the numerous models on offer? What type of lighting is best for the office? What are the relevant regulations? Here are a few tips to help you choose your lighting.How to choose lighting? Buyers's guide
Table of contents
1Workplace lighting requirements 2What lighting for what space? 3Luminaires: lamps and floor lamps 4The advantages of LED lighting
5Warm or cold light? 6Types of light bulb bases 7Light bulbs and their equivalents 8Lighting ergonomics

1 - Workplace lighting requirements

In France, the NF EN 12464-1 standard defines the requirements for workplace lighting based on three criteria: the average lighting, the limit of discomfort due to glare and the minimum value of the colour rendering index.
This is the illuminance that must be maintained in each work area. It takes into account visual comfort, visual ergonomics and safety. The value of 200 lux minimum is used in premises where work is carried out continuously (the higher the number of lumens, the better the lighting).
Unified Glare Rating (UGR)
Set by the so-called UGR (Unified Glare Rating) factor, it specifies reference values above which glare becomes annoying and reduces visual performance. According to the NF EN 12464-1 standard, the UGR factor varies from 10 to 30. A UGR factor is proportional to the risk of glare. For office activities it is 19.
The CRI represents the ability of a light source to reproduce the nuances between different colours. It is specified in the standard for 270 areas, tasks or types of activity. The NF EN 12465-1 standard imposes a minimum of 80, the maximum being 100, which corresponds to daylight.

2 – Which lighting for which workspace?

Even though it seems obvious, we would like to remind you that the necessary lighting is not the same in an office as it is in a warehouse or a corridor. Here is a list of recommendations.
Circulation areas
  • Corridor, public space, entrance hall: 100 lux
  • Stairs, loading docks: 150 lux
  • Sales areas
  • Storehouse: 100 lux
  • Shop: 300 lux
  • Checkout area: 500 lux
  • Reception areas
  • Reception, restaurant, hotel, porter's office: 300 lux
  • Educational premises
  • Classroom, conference room: 500 lux
  • Workspaces
  • Archives: 200 lux
  • Filing: 300 lux
  • Computer station, typing, reading, cooking: 500 lux
  • Architect's studio, laboratory: 750 lux
  • 3 – Luminaires: lamps and floor lamps

    To guarantee visual comfort for all and create a pleasant decorative atmosphere, it is advisable to vary the types of lighting (direct, indirect) and the styles of luminaires. Contemporary, traditional or sober design... It's up to each of us to play with the shapes of the lamps and to imagine an atmosphere conducive to everyone's well-being.


    desk lamp
  • Lighting: direct
  • Installation: can be installed or clipped on
  • The plus point: the swivelling head, in order to adjust the lighting area yourself.

  • See desk lamps


  • Lighting: direct and precise
  • Installation: placed
  • The plus: light intensity can be varied depending on the moment and activity

  • See dimmable desk lamps


  • Lighting: indirect
  • Installation: placed
  • The plus: perfect as a complement to a main light source

  • See table lamps


  • Lighting: indirect
  • Installation: placed on the floor
  • Advantage: provides a diffused light

  • See lampadaires

    4 – The advantages of LED lighting

    Following various European directives, incandescent bulbs began disappearing from 2012 and halogen bulbs have been gradually disappearing from the market since September 2018. Consumers are thus encouraged to switch to LED lighting.
  • More economical: LED is 8 to 10 times more economical than an incandescent bulb and 3 to 5 times more economical than a CFL.
  • Longer lifespan: an LED bulb lasts 40,000 h on average, which is about 20 years.
  • More durable: repeated switching on and off has no influence on the longevity of an LED.
  • More comfortable: when turning on, your LED lighting is immediately at 100%, no need to wait for it to heat up.
  • More environmentally friendly: LED contains no mercury or polluting gases.
  • Safer: LED does not give off heat, so there is no risk of burn injuries.

  • See LED lamps
    See all LED light bulbs

    5 - Warm or cold light?

    The color temperature (expressed in kelvin) is also a determining factor in the choice of a luminaire. The higher it is, the more kelvins it contains and the colder the color. Conversely, if the temperature is low, the light will be "warm".
    Warm or cold light

    Depending on the number of kelvins, the atmosphere in the room can change. As a point of reference, you will find here the result for different kelvin values:

    • 4000 kelvins: warm atmosphere, which invites one to relax.
    • 4000 - 5000 kelvins: tends toward daylight, natural light.
    • 5000 kelvins: stimulating light, brings better concentration.

    6 - Types of light bulb bases

    The light bulb base serves as a connector to the light fixture by providing the electrical contact. A wide variety of bases exist but it is not always easy to find their designation. Here is a visual summary to help you find your way.
    Different types of light bulb bases (bis)
    different types of basesdifferent types of bases (bis)

    7 - Light bulbs and their equivalents

    Here you will find an overview of the values, to help you choosing the best replacement lamp, with the same light intensity. The power (in watts) and the light intensity (in lumens) are shown. It is preferable to pay most attention to the values in lumens, as the luminous flux of LED lamps continues to evolve. The higher the number of lumens, the stronger the lighting.

    8 - Lighting ergonomics

    Now that you have all the keys in hand to choose your lighting, you should also install it carefully: this will contribute greatly to your well-being! Here are some prescriptions from occupational physicians and ergonomists....
  • Position the head of the lamp at 40 cm from the work surface, in order to have no visual contact with the source (the bulb);
  • Place the lamp on the opposite side of the hand you are writing with.
  • Avoid any annoying glare.
  • Avoid reflection on shiny surfaces.
  • Prefer lamps with brightness control.