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Lighting 101: This School Year, Learn How the Right Light Can Help Your Student Shine

As the end of summer draws near and the start of the new school year looms, thoughts turn from sand and sun to tests and textbooks.

Unfortunately, when students or parents begin to plan for decorating a new dorm room or carving out a study area within the home, too often they neglect one of the most important components of an effective learning environment: the right lighting.

"Parents and students willingly invest thousands of dollars in the latest technology in computers, furniture and desk accessories in preparation for school, but often fail to recognize that lighting can truly make or break a study space," according to Michael Berman, Certified Lighting Designer for LAMPS PLUS.

"Knowing how to properly light a work area can make a huge difference in eliminating eyestrain and fatigue, and ensuring the perfect atmosphere for schoolwork."

LAMPS PLUS, the nation's largest specialty lighting company, offers the following "cheat sheet" with tips to help you select the right light for creating the perfect study space:

  • Consider lighting products that feature "full spectrum" capabilities, which provides illumination that is very close to natural lighting, and helps to reduce eyestrain when reading.
  • Fluorescent bulbs generally do a better job of illuminating reading material than normal incandescent bulbs. Today's fluorescent bulbs and tubes are available in a wide range of colors, plus they use up to 80% less energy and last 20 times longer.
  • An adjustable desk lamp provides additional light to the desk and keyboard. Position the lamp so it will not reflect on the computer screen.
  • A distance of about 15" from the desktop to a desk lamp's shade bottom works well for lamp placement and maximum light throw.
  • The lamp should be placed so that hand shadows don't streak across your work. If you're right-handed, this means placing the light source on the left side of your desk.
  • When selecting a desk lamp, make sure the arm is long enough and flexible enough to shine light where you need it and out of your way when you don't need it.
  • If you don't want to fill valuable desk space with a lamp, consider placing a multi-functional torchiere nearby that can adjust direct light to task areas. Many of today's torchieres are outfitted with improved fluorescent lighting technology. Not only are they safer, they use up much less energy while generating the equivalent of 400W of light from the uplight.

For more tips, as well as information about the latest back-to-school lighting products, visit http://www.LAMPSPLUS.com.

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