Light Your Work Area - Artemide Tolomeo LampThese days more and more of us are working from home, either in a dedicated home office or at a desk somewhere in the house.

Why not make this area into a place we enjoy spending time?

The type of lighting we use can change our mood in addition to just enabling us to see.

OK, for you who are shaking your head over the concept of enjoying spending time at the desk,  it’s a fact that the correct lighting of your work area can reduce eye strain and fatigue and increase productivity. This could in theory make you get through the work load faster and get away from the desk!

So what’s the secret to good lighting of a work space?

Layering of Light: Don’t use only one light source, but no matter how small the space, always try to mix the task lighting with accent and ambient light.

Accent lights, like track lighting and spotlights, highlight certain objects away from the desk area and create visual interest. Might seem like an unnecessary luxury, but keep in mind that there are lots of inexpensive spotlight solutions out there and that this added layer of light makes a dramatic difference to the surroundings.

Tip: If you have recessed downlights, replace a couple of trims closest to a wall with directional spotlight trims and focus them on artwork on the wall instead of just downwards. Same amount of light, just put to a different use.

Ambient Light fills the dark areas and takes away from too great contrasts while making the space appear larger and more airy. Wall sconces, indirect bowl shaped pendant lights  or uplight torchieres that bounce light off the ceiling are excellent choices for ambient light sources.

Tasks Lights are most often portable desk lamps that offer a flexible solution to the need for directional light for the work surface. Ideally positioned to the left (if you are right handed) and between your head and the work surface. If this is not possible for logistical reasons, many desk lamps offer a lot of flexibility with long, movable arms and heads that rotate to cast the light just where you need it.

You obviously want to look out for glare on your computer monitor when you design your task lighting. Again, a flexible desk lamp allows you to direct the light so that this will not become an issue, yet leaves the possibility to add direct task light for reading printed material.

Track lights are not great task lights. On my home consultations I keep running into situations where clients are unhappy with the lighting over the work station and in 9 out of 10 times it’s because they tried to use track lights and now wonder why they can’t see.

Track lighting is a wonderful solution for illuminating artwork on the wall. Illuminating people or work surfaces with harsh cones of light can, however, be very unpleasant. It casts the light from a wrong angle and easily creates glare and shadows onto the work surface.

The top photo shows the Tolomeo desk lamp by Artemide, a modern classic with form as well as function.

The small  shade is shaped like a flower pot. It  has a hole in the narrow end of the shade, allowing ambient light to shine out the back.

Read why we love the Tolomeo.

Other great desk lamps:

The Tizio Desk Lamp from Artemide LightingThe Tizio from Artemide

With its minimal yet dramatic design it has stayed the star among desk lamps.

Designed by Richard Sapper in 1972 for Artemide it has become a bestseller in addition to winning numerous design awards. It’s a true modern classic.

What we like about the Tizio: It lasts, and lasts, and lasts.

AND we can get practically all parts for it if needed.

The Fortebraccio Task Light from LuceplanThe Fortebraccio from Luceplan

Thanks to its innovative central joint, the two arms rotate independently, horizontally and vertically. It is therefore guaranteed to bring the light where you need it.

The distinctive handle of the Fortebraccio  easily  moves the task light around.

What I like about the Fortebraccio: It is sturdy! With two rambunctious dogs sharing the office with me it is good to know that my desk lamp can hold its own if needed.

The Kelvin Desk Lamp from FLOSThe Kelvin from FLOS

The Kelvin desk lamp from Flos is part of a series of table, floor and wall fixtures, suitable for both office and home.

The Kelvin can be articulated into any desired position with the touch of finger.

The shade is what makes this desk lamp stand out: Available in either smoked  or injection-molded transparent polycarbonate it has a translucent quality. The interior is white to ensure superb light quality.

This striking desk lamp was designed by Antonio Citterio & Toan Nguyen for Flos in 2003.

I do realize that all these desk lamps are more expensive than most desk lamps you’ll find at big box stores. But I still recommend them wholeheartedly. They are designed to do a task and do it well. They are durable and are the kind of things you move with again and again and don’t have to throw out after a year or so because a switch is bad and a part can’t be found for it.

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