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Lighting a desk or work area correctly

17 Ago 2022 // by Laia Canalejo

When we work, whether we are reading, at the computer or assembling parts, we need our eyes to receive the necessary light to be able to carry out these tasks without straining our eyes. To do this, we need to prepare our work area to face the back to school and back to work.


Lighting is key to being able to concentrate, establish a good dynamic and make the most of the resources we have. Here we bring you the best tips for lighting your desk from the Faro Barcelona project team. 


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1. The desk next to natural light

In lighting projects, natural light should be used whenever possible. However, the arrangement of the elements in relation to the source of natural light is very important.


Find the window in the room where you will be working and place your desk there. It is important that the desk is placed on the side of the window, always avoiding placing it facing the window, or with its back to it.

In this way we achieve the most even distribution of light possible over the workspaces.


2. Position yourself according to the dominant hand

To make the most of natural light, you should position yourself on the opposite side to your dominant hand. This way you will avoid casting shadows when writing, drawing or typing on the work surface.


3. Avoid contrasts and glare

When designing the lighting inside a desk or office, one of the most important factors to take into account is uniformity. Abrupt changes in lighting and dark highlights make the eyes work incorrectly, causing tiredness and eyestrain.


In this sense, when using artificial light, make sure that it is projected evenly throughout the space. It is not a good idea, for example, to only use a desk lamp in a dark space. This bad contrast will make you strain your eyes more and make it harder to concentrate.


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4. Combine a dimmable table lamp with the general lighting to create uniformity.

To achieve this uniformity, the ideal solution is general lighting, such as linear continuous light luminaires, one of the best and simplest ways of distributing light throughout the office.


These linear luminaires are very versatile lighting systems, easy to install, and with light outputs suitable for a work surface. They are also available with prismatic diffusers, which are highly recommended because they help to avoid glare, especially on computer screens.


Together with this luminaire, we recommend that you look for a table lamp that serves as a support, and that helps to unify the general light in the room. Ideally, it should allow you to regulate the intensity and temperature of the light and move the head according to your needs.


Remember to place it in such a way that it does not cast shadows on your reading space, i.e. if you are right-handed, place it on the left side and if you are left-handed on the opposite side.


Another advantage of using this type of light is that when working with computers it is better that the light is not projected directly onto the screen, but that it falls on the keyboard and is dispersed. A good desk lamp should have several positions and provide natural white light so that your eyes do not have to strain when reading or using the computer. LED lamps are efficient and the light source does not heat up excessively, which helps us to stay focused for longer and saves energy as it consumes less energy.


5. Temperature of 4000K 

Light has three basic temperatures: white, neutral and warm. Cold light or white light, around 4000K, is appropriate for environments where attention is required, such as study, reading or sewing, for example.  Under no circumstances should the light be too bright or too white (6000K).


What we should avoid in workspaces are warm tones, which are widely used for decoration, and range between 2200º K and 3000º K. Although they can be used in other rooms of the work space, to recreate a more comfortable and relaxed atmosphere, ideal for breaks.



6. CRI higher than 80

Another aspect to take into account is the Colour Rendering Index (CRI), which indicates the capacity of a luminaire to reproduce the colours of objects in the same way as if natural light were shining on them.

To illuminate a workspace where users spend 8 hours a day in front of a computer, the CRI, which is measured on a scale of 0 to 10, must be above 80, as a figure below this tends to be considered as a "poor quality" luminaire. 




Importance of lighting in workspaces


Improved lighting performance translates into improved productivity, which is why our work area must have the right light for us and the right light to cope with the activity we are going to do. It has also been shown that the right light in the work environment can help us to plan our tasks and be more enthusiastic about them.


For all these reasons, the lighting of desks and work tables is an important issue, and one that needs to be set up to start September off on the right foot. The general lighting should be uniform and provide light for the entire room without having areas that are darker than others, or spaces in semi-darkness. A good option is recessed or ceiling lights that allow us to have a zenithal light that is distributed throughout the room. 


In short, the quality of the lighting must be high to guarantee sufficient visual performance. We should also bear in mind that age also influences the need for light. As we get older, the transmittance (the percentage of light that passes through a lens) of the crystalline lens deteriorates and this means that we need more light than before to perform a task.  


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