Good study habits begin with good lighting. Before the age of computing, lighting a desk well was a simple matter of providing ambient lighting combined with directional task lighting. Now, however, we've thrown the glow of computer screens into the mix, which changes the game plan altogether. To stay focused on homework while avoiding eye strain, students need a combination of well-placed light sources with the best bulbs. Take these four factors into consideration as you plan or upgrade your student's study area.
Sufficient Amount of Light
The first order of business will be the quantity of light. A room dimly lit from a sole overhead fixture can be very frustrating, as shadows will fall where you need light the most and printed text will be difficult to read. While an overhead fixture can add to the overall ambient lighting that reduces eye strain, as a single source of illumination, it would almost be better to leave it off. You need to enhance the overhead light with fixtures closer to the work. Nearby floor lamps, or wall sconces placed at either end of the desk and high enough to not shine directly into the eyes create more useful ambient light. This ambient radiance reduces the contrast between dark areas and brilliantly-lit zones to keep the eyes at a constant, comfortable dilation.
Quality of Light
Harsh lighting can make already reluctant students feel like they're in a torture chamber. Choose bulbs that produce warmer colors, such as incandescent or the far more energy efficient LED bulbs in the warmer hues. Not only do these help your student maintain attention to their studies, they tend to create an inviting atmosphere around the study area. Do avoid ballasted fluorescent lighting that flickers. While the eye may not see the flickering, it is sensed and can lead to headaches, strain and general homework malaise.
Direction of Light
Bright computer screens add another dimension of light that shines directly in the student's eyes, making the keyboard seem dark. It's important to have light directed at the keyboard from another nearby source. Task lighting that can spotlight the books and papers while indirectly lighting the keyboard is the answer. It should be downward focused, or shaded, lighting so as not to add more direct light in your student's eyes. Having sufficiently shaded side lighting from a slight distance from the desk also keeps the keyboard lit without taking up real estate on the desk.
Adjustability of Fixtures
Because everyone's lighting preferences can vary and change with different homework assignments, outfitting the study area with adjustable fixtures is smart. Lamps with swing arms, articulated supports or flexible goose necks offer all the customized light directions your student will need. Because LED bulbs produce very little heat, they keep the adjustable lamps nice and cool for handling.
Give your student an edge on homework by crafting a stylish island of light designed for productivity. With handsome, adjustable lamps and the perfect energy efficient bulbs, you can equip your diligent scholar for a bright academic future.