How To Make Overhead Lighting Less Harsh

2 min read

DIY 8×8′ Overhead LightBox


Overhead lighting is a common choice for many homes and offices as it provides ample illumination for various activities. However, the harsh and direct light from overhead fixtures can often create an unpleasant and uncomfortable atmosphere. Luckily, there are several ways to soften the harshness of overhead lighting and create a more inviting and relaxing environment. In this article, we will explore some simple yet effective techniques to make overhead lighting less harsh.

Why is Harsh Lighting a Problem?

Harsh lighting can cause eye strain, headaches, and fatigue. It can also create a stark and unwelcoming ambiance, making it difficult to relax or concentrate. By making overhead lighting less harsh, you can improve both the physical and emotional well-being of the space.

Use Diffusers or Lamp Shades

One of the easiest ways to soften overhead lighting is to use diffusers or lamp shades. These accessories can be attached to the light fixture to disperse the light and create a more even and gentle illumination. Diffusers come in various shapes and materials, allowing you to choose one that complements your decor while providing the desired level of softness.

Opt for Warm Light Bulbs

The color temperature of light bulbs can significantly impact the harshness of the lighting. Instead of using cool white or daylight bulbs, opt for warm light bulbs with a lower color temperature. These bulbs emit a softer and more inviting light that can help create a cozy and relaxed atmosphere.

Install Dimmer Switches

Dimmer switches allow you to adjust the brightness of your overhead lighting according to your needs and preferences. By lowering the intensity of the light, you can instantly make it less harsh and create a more soothing environment. Dimmer switches are relatively easy to install and are compatible with most types of light fixtures.

Add Secondary Lighting Sources

Relying solely on overhead lighting can contribute to the harshness of the illumination. Consider incorporating additional lighting sources, such as floor lamps, table lamps, or wall sconces, to create a layered lighting effect. These secondary sources can provide softer and more focused lighting, reducing the reliance on the overhead fixtures.

Use Lamp Covers or Gels

If diffusers or lamp shades are not an option, you can still soften the overhead lighting by using lamp covers or gels. These are translucent covers that can be placed over the light fixture to diffuse the light and create a softer glow. Lamp covers and gels are available in various colors, allowing you to customize the ambiance of the space.

Position Lights Strategically

The positioning of your overhead lights can also affect the harshness of the illumination. Instead of having a single central fixture, consider installing multiple smaller lights or track lighting systems. This allows you to distribute the light more evenly and reduce any harsh shadows or glares. Experiment with the placement of the lights to find the most flattering and pleasant arrangement.

Use Natural Light as Supplement

If possible, try to incorporate natural light as a supplement to your overhead lighting. Natural light is softer and more soothing to the eyes. Position your workspace or seating area near windows to take advantage of the natural light during the day. This combination of natural and artificial lighting can create a more balanced and pleasant environment.


By implementing these techniques, you can transform your harsh overhead lighting into a more comfortable and inviting space. Experiment with different methods to find the ones that work best for your specific needs and preferences. Remember, creating a relaxed and soothing atmosphere is essential for both productivity and well-being.