Photo: D&R International, Ltd., NREL 07739
Reading, writing and other visually intensive work requires lots of light that is bright as well as focused. That's why task lighting is specific to home work zones such as kitchen countertops, desks, craft tables and reading chairs - anywhere that someone who is doing a job needs sharp, non-shadowed light. Task lighting is not meant to illuminate the entire room - only a work surface.
In the kitchen, for example, an illuminated range hood - or an over-the-range microwave with built-in ventilation and lighting - can provide task lighting for the cooktop work area. For extra task lighting, add slim fluorescent or low-voltage linear halogen fixtures under the front bottom edge of the wall cabinets to shine down on the countertops. Make certain the light is positioned in front of you so your body doesn't throw a shadow onto the workspace. You can also install a pendant light above an island or peninsula.