How to Reduce Glare from Overhead Lights?

Lighting plays a crucial role in creating a comfortable and productive environment. However, improper or overly bright lighting can result in glare, leading to eye strain and decreased comfort. If you’re battling with the issue of glare from overhead lights, this article provides a comprehensive guide on strategies to reduce and even eliminate it.

What is the Glare of Overhead Lights?

Before delving into solutions, it’s essential to understand what glare is. Glare occurs when there’s a significant contrast between bright light sources and their surroundings. This imbalance can cause visual discomfort, making it harder to see objects and often resulting in eye strain.

9 Ways to Reduce Glare from Overhead Lights

1. Choose Diffuse Lighting Options

Diffused lighting distributes light evenly across a space. Instead of having a single, intense light source, opt for fixtures that scatter light:

  • Lamp shades: If using pendant lights or chandeliers, ensure they have shades to diffuse the light.
  • Frosted bulbs: These bulbs scatter light, preventing the harsh direct light that clear bulbs can sometimes emit.

2. Use Indirect Lighting Techniques

Instead of shining lights directly into a room, indirect lighting reflects light off ceilings or walls. This method reduces sharp contrasts and distributes light more uniformly.

3. Implement Task Lighting

In workspaces or reading areas, consider using task lighting. This involves having a dedicated light source for specific tasks, reducing the need for intense overhead lighting.

4. Adjust Light Position

Positioning plays a significant role in glare. Consider adjusting the height and angle of overhead lights:

  • Avoid positioning lights directly above areas where people frequently sit or work.
  • Tilt or angle fixtures so that they don’t shine directly into people’s eyes.

5. Use Dimmers

Installing dimmer switches gives you the flexibility to adjust light intensity according to the time of day or activity. This allows you to reduce brightness when full intensity isn’t necessary.

6. Incorporate Window Treatments

If glare is due in part to natural light, window treatments can be a solution:

  • Blinds: Adjust the angle to control the amount and direction of incoming light.
  • Curtains: Opt for light-filtering curtains that still allow natural light in but diffuse it to prevent glare.
  • Window films: These can help in diffusing incoming light and also reduce the intensity.

7. Opt for Matte Surfaces

Reflective surfaces can exacerbate glare. Choosing matte finishes for walls, furniture, and even electronics can help reduce reflections that contribute to glare.

8. Proper Maintenance

Dirty or dusty light fixtures can affect light distribution. Regular cleaning and maintenance ensure that lights function as intended and that light distribution is even.

9. Consider Professional Assessment

If glare continues to be a problem, it might be worth getting a professional lighting designer or consultant to assess the space. They can provide tailored solutions based on your specific needs and the design of the room.


Reducing glare from overhead lights not only contributes to a more comfortable environment but also helps in reducing eye strain and increasing productivity. By implementing some or all of the strategies mentioned above, you can enjoy a well-lit space without the downsides of excessive brightness or glare. Remember, the key is to achieve a balance that provides adequate light without overwhelming the eyes.