Artificial light in the home is available at the flip of a switch, so it is no wonder why obtaining light from a natural source is often overlooked. However, natural light should not lay in the shadows of artificial light. There are many health benefits received from exposure to natural light. Natural light can positively affect one’s mood, efficiency and behavior and so it should be present in one’s day to day activities as much as possible.
There are many ways to add natural light to your day, and this does not have to include spending time outdoors to reap its benefits. In 2003, the Sacramento Municipal Utility District conducted a study and discovered that workers who were exposed to daylight through a window processed work calls 612% faster, and experienced less fatigue and illness than workers who had no access to natural light.
1. Add a mirror to reflect more sunlight
Increasing one’s exposure to natural light can be as simple as adding a mirror to reflect the sunlight into your house or work area. Pinpoint areas where the sun touches to determine where to place mirrors in order to maximize natural light. Mirrors should be placed near or on those places. Be sure to observe where the sun reaches at different times throughout the day and seasons because it will vary.
2. Eliminate dark color furniture and paint
Try to eliminate dark colors and paint in the house or work space, and opt for more light colored paint. Dark colors usually soak up light and can contribute to a gloomy atmosphere. Natural light reflects off of light colors and radiates farther into the room than dark colors.
3. Choose glass doors for direct sunlight into home entrance
For a more drastic change, choosing glass doors or putting glass cut outs on the doors can make a huge difference. The direct sunlight will shine through the glass into the home entrance creating a beautiful design. Rather than glass being part of a door, installing transoms or sidelights around doors may be a viable alternative. Transoms are horizontal glass frames that lay on top of a door, while sidelights lay vertically next to a door. Either option will provide that healthy boost of natural light into the home or work space.
4. Install skylights and roof windows
The installation of skylights and roof windows can also improve the natural light stream in a room. There are many factors to consider when choosing a skylight which include size, material and location. The location of the skylight and the slope is crucial when it comes to sunlight. Skylights sloping toward the west will provide afternoon sunlight, while skylights on the east will provide more morning light.
Following these tips to maximize natural light will do much more than improve one’s mood and health. Not only is sunlight healthy, but maximizing it inside the home or work space is an easy way to save on electrical bills and conserve energy. And from an interior design perspective, it is ideal for creating the illusion of a more roomy and aesthetically pleasing space.