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Controlling light can help treat light sensitivity

Photophobia, commonly known as a sensitivity to light, is fairly common and can often be alleviated with simple changes to your home and office lighting.While this sensitivity may be the result of a corneal abrasion, burn or disease, according to the National Institutes of Health, that's usually not the case, and simple remedies such as wearing dark or tinted glasses, darkening the room or avoiding direct sunlight may help quite a bit. Some people experience light sensitivity without any eye disease. It's wise, of course, to have your eyes checked by a professional if you suddenly notice this sensitivity. Otherwise, there are steps you can take to feel better. The U.K. Royal National Institute of Blind People, dedicated to eye health education, asserted that there's a scale of light sensitivity, and some people are simply more sensitive to light than others. Also, growing older can bring about sensitivity, since eye changes occur even when without disease.Ways to feel better The most obvious way to ease the discomfort of light sensitivity is by wearing hats and sunglasses that shade eyes from light and glare. The National Eye Institute, part of the NIH, recommended choosing sunglasses with care. While they're certainly a great fashion accessory, their real job is to protect your eyes from the sun's ultraviolet rays. When purchasing sunglasses, look for ones that block out 99 to 100 percent of both UV-A and UV-B radiation.Control your environment Even if it's not a question of light sensitivity, you may discover that the lighting in a room is just too bright, but without it, the room is too dark. The simplest answer? Replace standard wall switches with dimmer switches, which give you precise control over the intensity of the light. Most often used with incandescent, not fluorescent, lighting fixtures, they work well in most homes and many offices and can be attached to almost any internal lighting to vary the brightness or dimness. Basically, they work by increasing or decreasing the amount of power supplied to the light.Pick your spots Ideally, you could use dimmer switches in every room, but start with the areas you use the most or that have the greatest impact on your electric bill. Some surveys have shown, surprisingly, that the master bedroom lighting accounts for as much as 15 percent of electricity consumption - and that's including high-use appliances such as refrigerators, ovens and washer/dryers.Remember, too, that dimmers are decorating tools, so you might consider adding elegant switch plates, decorative plug covers and versatile wall lamps when you install the switches.

Concepts for creating and decorating a small home office

It can be a space next to a fireplace or between two windows: Creating a small home office is all about where you find the space and what you put into it.Dismiss the notion that a small but organized home office demands a room - or even a wide open space - of its own. HGTV itemized a number of workplace-suitable areas, including the "dead" space under the stairs. The space may be tiny, but by adding a corkboard backdrop and floating shelf for your laptop, you can use every inch of it. Apartment-dwellers frequently have dead space next to the entry. Instead of filling it with an umbrella stand, HGTV proposed using it for a tiny, minimalist private office.Room with a view Nowhere is it written that the home worker can't have the finest view. If your bedroom is the only place to put your office, try a vintage desk under a large window. Not only does the view refresh your mind, it also refreshes your eyes: Many ophthalmologists suggest alternating close work on your computer with a few minutes of staring into the distance every hour.Real Simple magazine found a unique way to create an office that can appear and disappear at will. Use a white plastic drop-down desk, and get wonderful cubbies and storage compartments when it's open and a nonintrusive piece of furniture when it's closed.Shelve it all Another of Real Simple's suggestions was to build an office entirely of sturdy shelves that can handle everything you send their way, from files and laptops to a vase of fresh flowers. By eliminating the need for a desk, you free up space and let the area blend into any room from which you've carved it.Better Homes and Gardens magazine gave the shelving plan another look and recommended that you add shelves above the desk and file cabinets below for all-in-one functionality.Integrating two areas When your office is part of another room, which is often the case, the best approach is to look at the small, inexpensive additions that will make the unified area cozy and livable.First, consider the paint. Just as a folding screen separates areas in a multi-use space, a consistent color of paint unifies the areas. Use similar lighting, whether track lighting or wall lighting, and try out some unique switch plates and decorative plug outlet covers in a theme that works well in both functional areas.

Valuable tips for making a home office more livable, workable

If this is the year you'll be working from a home office, you can start by delineating your space, owning it and lighting it with care.It sometimes happens that the same people who approach most rooms of their home with a thoughtful eye to decorating, furnishing and accessorizing will treat the home office space as an afterthought. It's understandable, since it's a working space rather than a living space.That's not quite true, however: Any area where you spend a third or more of your time is definitely about living, and a well-designed home office can be quite a pleasant place to live and work.First define the space Not everyone can designate an entire room of their home or apartment to the office, but that doesn't mean you can't define the space itself quite effectively. A recent article in Forbes magazine quoted the online home decorating experts at Houzz as noting that you can create a designated workspace in various ways, such as adding a door, using a loft area or even just changing the flooring material. For example, if you've carved your home office from a corner of your wood-floored living room, consider using an area rug to represent your office area, and group your desk, file cabinets, computer equipment and other necessities into that area. The rug, by the way, need not be a major expense, and you might consider shopping for a remnant large enough to accommodate the office furniture.Now make it yours The Forbes article also mentioned the importance of knowing your personal productivity style. If you're a minimalist and wall art or files you're not using tend to be a distraction, simply replace the art with a certificate or diploma and put the files away. Shelving that can be closed is perfect for the spartan work style. On the other hand, if attractive watercolors or interesting sculptures stimulate your creativity, place them where you can see them, and work away. Light it for productivity Like any room, a home office demands a careful approach to lighting, not just for functionality but also to keep you at your best and brightest. Experiment with wall and table lamps for a soft, non-tiring effect, and think about accessorizing the light sources with decorative plug covers and switch plates to give the space a bit more personality. HGTV compiled an array of ideas for warming up the space by using  furnishings, window treatments and lighting - even a chandelier would not be out of place in certain spaces. 

Redesign the office with a balance of work and play

Colored glassIf your office space feels a little stale or you find yourself overseeing a complete change in office decor, you'll want to keep a few things in mind. One of the most important parts of running a good office is keeping a balance between fun and professional both in the environment and in the decor. Here are a few tips to help maintain that balance.Make sure you get plenty of light Having a bright, open space can make your co-workers feel happier and more energetic. While sunlight is usually the cheeriest, you can still use other light sources to make the space brighter. If you have blinds and shades in your office, make sure that they're open whenever possible during the day to let in lots of sun. Simply installing a lamp on your desk can add a whole new layer of light to your workspace so that you'll feel energetic and ready to get to work every day.Have workers decorate their own space Keboto noted that workers are often happier when they get to change their own space. A few keepsakes on a desk can help break through the impersonal feel that workspaces can sometimes have in office settings. Make sure that your employees or co-workers are able to hang plenty of pictures of family, artwork and other personal memorabilia.It's also a good idea to include everyone in the office in the decision-making process when it comes to redecorating. If you're thinking of bringing in new plants or installing a new set of colored glass switch plates to brighten up the office, try putting it out to a vote for those who are interested. Having everyone come together and make a decision may even help bring about more harmony in the workplace.Make sure it's still professional While you'll want your office to feel fun and fresh for everyone working there, remember that it's got to make a good impression when potential clients or other important people stop by for a visit, according to All Business magazine. Try making sure that everything has a clean color scheme - think earth tones or other likable colors. A few earth tone switch plates will bring out color from the walls while still feeling respectable and professional to those who may be visiting. 

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