Where you bead is not so important; you may have a whole room dedicated to crafting or you may have a spot at the kitchen table, what is important is that you are comfortable and you do not find yourself suffering from symptoms like eye strain and repetitive stress injuries. There are three key components to creating a comfortable beading area: Lighting, Seating and Surface!
It is extremely important to make sure your work area is well-lit. Natural lighting is always best, but if you don't have a good window that allows light to shine directly on your beading area, a "daylight" task lamp can provide you with excellent lighting. We personally prefer the Ott lamps, several models come with a magnifier that can be a great help. Task lamps not only reduce eye strain by allowing you to see your beads, they also can make it easier to choose bead colors for your beading projects. Having a well-lit work area when you bead will reduce eye strain and can prevent headaches and neck aches. Even if you don't need magnifiers for reading or regular tasks using magnifying glasses or the built in magnifier on a craft lamp can greatly ease the frustration of using small beads and help with eye strain.
I can't stress enough the importance of having a comfortable chair that encourages good posture for long hours of beading! I've talked to experienced beaders who struggle to find a chair or position that doesn't result in a stiff back, aching shoulders, sore neck and even headaches. The good news is that you don't have to spend a fortune on a fancy chair, a simple pillow to support your lower back is sometimes all you need in your favorite chair. Or you may find an adjustable height desk chair to be great solution, we really like the ones without arms, the chair can be raised or lowered to change your position in relation to your beading surface easing the strain on wrists, arms, shoulders, neck and head!
Now that you have your light and chair covered you can setup your beading surface. Your beading surface can be simple or fancy; the lid to a cookie tin, a pizza pan with a lip, the lid from a gallon ice cream bucket, a personalized mat, a beading tray with slots to separate beads or a tea towel. Whatever you use to keep your beads from running wild, you'll need a comfortable, stable and sturdy table, counter or desk on which to do your beadwork. Remember that if you use a soft bead mat or tea towel, be sure to place it on something that doesn't wobble and isn't likely to get bumped and jostled or you will spend your beading time chasing beads (voice of experience speaking) instead of working on the bracelet for your best-friend's birthday!
Beading can be a great joy or pain, hopefully these suggestions will prevent pain and bring you great joy! Happy Beading!