There’s nothing like bright, natural light when it comes to providing the optimum type of illumination for most tasks. But unless you live in a glass house, chances are good that the rooms you work in could use a sunny boost to eliminate shadows and brighten your work area. Here are some tips for selecting the proper type of lighting for typical home and office activities.
Desk Work (such as homework or paying bills) – A well-lit and well-furnished setting encourages good posture and good eyesight. Overall ambient room lighting should be supplemented with a 100-watt shaded bulb for the desk. This will create a warm, homey type of lighting that is both restful and helpful. However, if you work with both papers and a computer at the same desk, you will need a combination of both types of light. Consider a compact halogen fixture with a concentrated beam to illuminate books or reference works while working on the computer.
Computer work is very different from desk work. If you spend a significant time at a computer, try to match the brightness of your surroundings to that of your monitor screen. Ambient fluorescent ceiling fixtures, or incandescent lights directed toward the ceiling, rather than the desk, will help to eliminate glare.
Reading – Whether in bed or sitting in your favorite chair, you will do your eyes a favor if you position your light source slightly behind and to the side of your shoulder, rather than overhead. The bottom of the shade should be located at eye level to prevent glare.
TV and Video Games – Both require low-level ambient lighting that does not wash out the screen’s image, nor reflect into the viewer’s eyes. Recessed miniature downlights or miniature track lighting can be installed in the near vicinity for task lighting (such as programming remote controls, reading instructions), while wall sconces with an indirect lighting function, used with a dimmer, can create a soft, non-glaring source for viewing the screens.
Cooking – Undercabinet lighting is ideal for task lighting at countertops. Be careful of reflectoin when lighting countertops of marble, granite, etc. Mount the fixtures as close as possible to the front of the cabinets to provide the best light distribution. At the sink, consider a recessed downlight directly above the sink. Overhead ambient lighting sources will create shadows when working at counters. To counteract this problem, supplemental task lighting such as recessed downlights installed approximately 12 inches from the edge of the cabinet tops will help. The fixtures should be spaced 24 to 48 inches apart.