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An Overview: Lighting and Accessories

When purchasing lighting for your home office, you should be aware that there are two types of artificial lighting: ambient and task. Ambient lighting is the lighting that supplies the general illumination for room. Task lighting is lighting used to illuminate a certain specific area, such as hard copy.

Ambient Lighting

Task Lighting


When looking to purchase ambient lighting, keep in mind that the best use of the light is to bounce it off the ceiling or walls. This provides indirect light that serves to illuminate the workspace, while minimizing glare and shadows. The goal in lighting your home office is to make the surrounding illumination roughly equal to that of your monitor screen. In choosing ambient lighting, make sure that the lamps in your light fixtures complement the colors of your home office (cool white lamps will enhance blues and greens; warm white lamps will enhance yellows and reds).

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Task lighting is generally used in the office environment to illuminate hard copy. When purchasing a task light, keep the following guidelines in mind:

The task light should be very directional. That is, it should emit a very focused light on a given area without splashing onto the monitor or your eyes. It should also be flexible enough to allow you to properly position it relative to your hard copy.

Look for a task light with a polarizing filter, as this will help reduce glare.

It is generally better to avoid halogen lamps, as they tend to be too bright and get too hot. If you do choose a halogen lamp, look for one with a dimmer, and keep it relatively dim (approximately equal to the brightness of the monitor screen).

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Daylight is a great light source but it's unpredictable and difficult to control at times. Position your computer so that any windows are to the side of you not behind or in front of you. If you can see a window or its reflection when you look at the computer screen, put a blind over the window to shade this and reduce its brightness when you are working during the day.

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