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Tips on Lighting Your Home Library or Reading Room for Sufficient Illumination

Tips on Lighting Your Home Library or Reading Room for Sufficient Illumination

  2013-01-21         sparksdirect         Advice » Lighting Design Advice

Perhaps you made a resolution to read more books in 2013, or you just got a copy of Infinite Jest for Christmas and need to carve out some reading time.

Maybe you've found a secret cave behind the bookcase of your new house.

Whatever your reasons, you're thinking about setting up a home library or reading space, and you've come to us for inspiration on how to light it properly to illuminate it sufficiently while avoiding the dreaded eye strain.

You have excellent taste.

Lighting a Reading Room 

Libraries tend to be remembered as cold, stale, uncomfortable places, lit by flickering fluorescent ceiling lamps.

That doesn't have to be the case at home, though - you ought to be comfortable in your own space, perhaps even wearing a smoking jacket and swirling a glass of brandy.

Warm light is generally the way to go, creating an aura of comfort in the new library (or the corner of the living room, depending on how much space you have), so aim for bulbs of a colour temperature between 2000K and 3000K. It will also need to be directed.

This large Ark floor lamp can be adjusted as needed to point the light downwards, directly over the back of your ornate leather chair (or luxurious couch) and onto the page: it incorporates a cantilever system that makes that easy, even from a comfortable position.

If there isn't room for a floor lamp, then a wall light is more than sufficient! We covered some great flexible reading lights on the blog a while ago, including LED options and uplights that can be bounced and diffused off the ceiling.

Now your lights are in place, you can think about upscaling and personalizing your reading space lighting scheme.

Personalizing Your Library Lighting Scheme

Did your mother tell you not to read in dim light? Well, it turns out that although prolonged periods underneath insufficient light cause stress and a little bit of eye strain, those effects aren't permanent.

Too-bright light can be even worse; why not invest in a floor dimmer switch that you operate with your foot?

Fairly recently, we also talked about using LED strip lights to light up your bookshelf - even with programmable color-changing LEDs! But the truth is, almost any small under-cabinet lights will do the trick.

If you are reading at a desk, rather than in a chair (not that we understand this at all), you can recreate the look of those libraries that only seem to exist in Hollywood movies with a warm, even table lamp that spreads the light around the desk evenly.

Mounted on a great writing desk, the Flos Glo-Ball will do the trick. Have you got any tips for creating a comfortable, classic home library with lighting? Let our readers know in the comments!