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Lighting Your Sewing Space

Lighting is one of the most important, yet underappreciated, aspects of your sewing space. Proper lighting can help reduce eye strain, improve color accuracy, and increase productivity. And you don’t have to be a professional electrician to get the results and benefits of good lighting. 

The first thing to consider is the type of lighting you'll need; the two main types of lighting are ambient lighting and task lighting. Ambient lighting provides overall illumination for a space, while task lighting is designed to illuminate specific areas for detailed work. When it comes to ambient lighting, natural light is the best option. Try to position your most used space (whether that’s your sewing machine, cutting area, or ironing board) near a window that receives plenty of natural light throughout the day. If you’re more of a nighttime stitcher or natural light isn't an option for your space, consider installing overhead lighting to provide even, diffuse light.

For task lighting, it's important to choose lighting that's bright, focused, and adjustable. Desk lamps with adjustable arms or gooseneck lamps are great options for illuminating specific areas, such as your sewing machine or cutting mat. Depending on your setup, LED strip lights or under-cabinet lights can also be used to light places a desk lamp can’t reach. You may have to test out different placements of your task lighting so that you’re not working in shadow. Also avoid placing your task lighting directly above your work area as the focused beam can cause a glare and make it difficult to see your work.

Lighting will also affect the color accuracy of your projects. Different types of lighting have different color temperatures, which can affect the way colors appear. For quilting, you want to choose lighting with a color temperature that accurately represents colors. Lighting temperature is measured in Kelvins, abbreviated as K. The lower the number, the warmer the light. The higher the number, the more blue the light becomes. Generally, a color temperature of 5000K is ideal for crafting, as it provides a neutral, daylight-like illumination that accurately represents colors. This is also an easy fix because changing your lighting color in an existing fixture can be as simple as going to the home improvement store and picking up a different lightbulb. 

And now for the fun part, don't forget about the aesthetics of your lighting! While functionality is important, you also want your lighting to look good and complement the overall design of your crafting space. As much as you’re able, choose lighting fixtures that are both functional and stylish. Or go the other route; choose lighting that does not draw attention itself. Recessed can lights overhead or under-cabinet lighting can give illumination without distracting from your overall aesthetic.

Lighting is an essential aspect of any sewing space. By considering the type of lighting you'll need, color temperature, and aesthetics, you can create a well-lit sewing area that's functional and enhances your overall sewing experience. If you have questions or are looking for recommendations, come by either Cupcake Quilts location and let's chat about lighting!