Home design — task lighting

Filed Under: Do it yourself, Redecorating, Remodeling    by: ITC

This is lighting for doing a specific job of work which requires you to be able to see clearly. It applies just as much to reading a book in a comfortable armchair as working at a desk or sewing table, or the kitchen worktop.

In the kitchen, it is important that clear, shadow less light should fall on the worktop where intricate operations with knives and measuring scales are going on all the time. Spot lamps and eyeball lights can be good here, and so can small strip lights fitted under the cupboards or shelves above the worktop. These give a good working light but are also soft and user-friendly because the light source is concealed and they are low.

Among the most useful task lights are angled lamps which can be directed at will. You can alter them to light up a book or sewing machine, or to move the light from one part of your desk to another.

Floor lamps, or standard lamps, which direct the light downwards, make good reading lights, particularly if placed behind an armchair where they give a pleasant ‘mood’ light in a corner at the same time.

Low-voltage lighting, which came onto the market comparatively, recently, can be effective for task lighting. The bulb itself is tiny and the reflectors round it give far more precise optical control than ordinary bulbs. Low-voltage lights operate on a supply of only 12 or 14 volts, much less than the mains voltage supply, and they are a fraction of the size of conventional bulbs.

If you want a low-voltage system installed throughout your home, get it done before you do any decorating and remember you will need space for a transformer (probably about the size of a gas or electricity meter).

Make sure such a system is on dimmer switches because, small though the bulbs are they can be very bright; if they are over a dining table, say, you may not want them to be too brilliant.

Task lighting in the bathroom or bedroom, for makeup and hairdressing, can be produced either by strips of small incandescent bulbs, which are practical but cruel, or by small fluorescent strips behind a baffle. Bathroom lights should be specially designed to conform to safety regulations and should either be switched on from outside the bathroom door or operated by a pull cord.

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