What are your favorite lamps that you have used to do work under? What light bulbs do you recommend for these lamps?
November 25, 2012 4:25 PM   Subscribe

What is the best way to outfit an office in an apartment with quality lighting for studying?

I do a lot of studying for college and my apartment comes with zero lighting.

I need to find a way to really light this room with some lamps, but all the ones i have right now don't produce enough light.

What are your favorite lamps that you have used to do work under? What light bulbs do you recommend for these lamps?
posted by jModug to Education (7 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I had the same problem in a previous apartment. I really like floor lamps that have both the three-way lamp on top, and adjustable task lighting/reading light arm, for illuminating my living/study/work spaces. The one I used to have was from Target but I've seen more stylish/substantial models at Ikea and the like. How many or how to configure probably depends on your apartment layout and where you like to work. I had mine between a desk and a reading chair, and another one across the room.

I use "daylight bulbs" which emit a cool white rather than the more yellowish tones of typical bulbs. I find that my eyes don't feel as tired after many hours of reading, and it also makes the room feel brighter (to me) if you have cream colored walls. They are fairly long lasting as well as energy efficient.

Hope that helps!
posted by sm1tten at 4:49 PM on November 25, 2012

For the past few years, I've been in love with my Balanced Spectrum Floor Lamp. It produces a very bright, clear, and almost white light. It seems to minimize glare and create clarity when looking at detail: I find it helps me avoid eye strain when doing reading or sewing for hours at a time. I would recommend trying to determine if you would like the light type before buying, however: I love the light, but my dad thinks that it is too bright, harsh, and "clinical"/"surgical" (to use his words). I have SAD in the winter, so it's certainly possible that I'd prefer brighter light than the average person, so obviously YMMV. They look like they currently cost around $60 on their website (I can't comment on the experience of buying from them, as I bought mine on a whim on Craigslist a few years back). I think the bulbs come with the lamp? In any case, I *highly* recommend: it has totally increased my comfort while studying for long blocks of time.
posted by UniversityNomad at 4:50 PM on November 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

One more thing: the lamp I mentioned claims to be "full spectrum light", which I think is the operative element in why I like it. (I *think* this is the same as the "daylight bulbs" that sm1tten is talking about, but I'm not entirely sure.) If you already have a desk or floor lamp that you can use, it should be possible to buy light bulbs that are full spectrum that would give a similar effect (e.g. here). I did this last year: I bought three full spectrum bulbs for a small dark attic room, and it really did feel brilliant with almost natural light - very bright, crisp, and clear (although my friend who visited didn't like it, and said it felt *too* white/bright, so again, YMMV). The nice thing specifically about the Balanced Spectrum Floor Lamp that I linked (as opposed to buying bulbs) is that it has a bendable neck, so you can angle it just right for illuminating the pages you're reading. But I'm sure you could add a full spectrum bulb to a regular lamp with similar design and get the same effect.
posted by UniversityNomad at 4:58 PM on November 25, 2012

What's your budget?
posted by mhoye at 5:16 PM on November 25, 2012

As far as budget goes I'm not really sure. It is pretty flexible. I'd like to see both the more expensive options and low expensive options.
posted by jModug at 5:28 PM on November 25, 2012

I've heard good things about OttLites. They have quite a line of lamps that seem to be popular with knitters, crocheters, and other crafters that need good lighting for close work.

I was in the market for a desk lamp recently and ended up getting an OttLite craft caddy lamp. I've used it for both knitting and regular desk work (reading, computer work, writing, etc.) and have been impressed at how comfortable it is. The light is rather white and bright, which I thought might be too much sometimes, but it's more comfortable for me to use than previous regular desk lamps. I picked that particular model for the caddy section, the extra outlet in back, and the fact that it's portable, but I think any of their lamps would work well.
posted by wiskunde at 6:51 PM on November 25, 2012

The key, for me, is varied light. I used to have no overhead lights when I lived in an apartment, and I had multiple lamps. I had inexpensive combination uplight and reading lamp, next to a reading chair, plus a desk lamp, plus two halogen torchiere lamps to really put out the light. This combination cost me less than $100. You can find adequate examples of all of these at Target or even Wal-mart. In fact, for pure practicality, you can't beat the Walmart store brand combo lamp. More important is the set of bulbs you're using. I'd aim for CFLs in the 5000-6000K range, which is 'daylight.' Much nicer than incandescent for concentration.
posted by sonic meat machine at 6:53 PM on November 25, 2012

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