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Task lighting is lighting which is focused on a specific area to make the completion of visual tasks easier. It is differentiated from area and mood lighting, which are designed simply to illuminate various regions of a space, sometimes creating specific desired effects. There are a number of forms of this type of lighting, from generator-mounted lighting for night-time roadwork to lights which are installed under kitchen cabinets to ensure that counters are brightly lighted.
Obviously, visual tasks are easier to perform when the work area is well lit. Task lighting also eases eye strain when it is installed with care, which can make the work environment more pleasant. In industries where eye strain is a major issue, like computing, appropriate lighting can also keep workers healthy and happy. Many people incorporate good task lighting into ergonomic office and workplace layouts, recognizing that well lighted conditions are very important for everyone from jewelers to computer programmers.
In kitchens, task lighting ensures that work spaces are well illuminated so that people can clearly see what they are doing, allowing people to read recipes while they cook, for example, or ensuring that people clean their counters properly. In places like living and dining rooms, it is often situated over tables and chairs to make it easier for people to see each other or to read. In the workplace, this type of lighting helps reduce eye strain from computers and from focusing on work which can range from sewing to welding cars together.
A number of different styles of lights can be used to create task lighting. Many people like to use lights on flexible bases or necks so that they can be adjusted as needed; medical professionals, for example, use easily moved lights so that they can readily illuminate various portions of their patient's anatomies. In other cases, task lighting is fixed; as in the instance of a light mounted under a kitchen cabinet for better visibility, for example.
Many lighting stores carry various lamps and lighting tools which are designed to create task lighting, and staff may be able to help you select the right light for the job. The lighting must strike a balance between being too bright and too dark, and it must also work well within the space. For example, a gooseneck lamp in a kitchen might not be a good idea, because the springs and hinges could get dirty, but adjustable track lighting could be installed at a distance from the work area to provide adjustable light without accumulating things like flour, grease, and sauces.