Conceptualizing a new home or modernizing an old one requires considering the impact of lighting in your home. With regards to customized home design, lighting is of the utmost importance as it can dramatically impact the overall vision you have for your home.
There is nothing more dreary than a room that doesn’t get enough sunlight. Sunlight has many beneficial qualities: not only does it reduce our energy bills, but it also keeps us healthy. Below is a list of some of the wonders of natural lighting in the home that are both aesthetic and scientific in nature:
Benefits of Natural Light
Countless studies provide evidence of the fact that the amount of sunlight we take in affects how soundly we sleep. For example, a cross-study of Brazilian and Swedish workers showed that not enough exposure to daylight contributed to inefficient sleep.
Another research area connected to the benefits of natural light is the research concerned with the hormone melatonin, and how it impacts sleep. Melatonin is produced in the pineal gland, an area of the brain that derives its name from its pine cone shape. The pineal gland is roughly 1cm long in a human brain. Its main function is to synthesize and secrete melatonin according to how much the body needs.
The amount of melatonin produced and released is determined by the amount of light that penetrates the eye: the retina in particular. During daylight hours, melatonin appears in much lower levels. It becomes more active at night-time. Thus, natural lighting in the home helps to maintain consistency of melatonin production. Artificial lighting can disrupt and confuse the nerves sending the messages to the pineal gland, resulting in an under-production of the hormone.
It is evident then that having as much natural light in the home helps to maintain a much healthier lifestyle consistent with a regular sleeping pattern.
Depending on the functionality of a space, lighting can easily account for up to 40% of energy use. Commercial buildings generally use more light than residential ones, of course, but lighting is still an essential component of our daily lives. Introducing more natural light helps to reduce the amount of artificial light we consume, resulting in reduced energy consumption. Energy consumption isn’t only a way of saving money; it also helps us to take better care of our surrounding environment and the world we call home.
Health and Wellbeing
A 2014 study carried out by Northwestern Medicine and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign reported that office workers who had more exposure to natural light slept longer, had a better quality of sleep, were more physically active, and generally had a better quality of life.
The sleep benefits of natural light have already been mentioned above, but the study shows that health and wellbeing improves when exposed to more natural sunlight. The results highlight the necessity of making natural light a central consideration in construction design, both commercial and residential.
The employees in the workplace who had windows received an astounding 173 percent more white light than those without windows. These employees slept 46 minutes more than their sun-deprived co-workers (on average). The quality of life considerations were based on physical health and vitality, so it’s no surprise that those who benefitted from more light demonstrated a higher level of general health and wellbeing.
Productivity and motivation are also thought to be linked to the amount of natural light we expose ourselves to, according to two studies carried out by the Heschong Mahone group of Sacramento, California. So, whether you’re a homeowner who has kids studying for tests, or hoping for a new promotion, let the sunlight shine in!
Quick Fixes to Maximise Natural Light in Your home
It’s evident that natural light has multiple benefits, but how do you incorporate natural lighting into a residential design? Whether you’re starting from scratch, making drastic improvements, or just fine-tuning areas in your home, there are a number of ways to maximise natural light:
Yes, that’s right: keeping your garden tidy can help maximise the amount of natural light that floods into your home. Why? Because some of those gigantic trees and unruly shrubs are blocking light. Examine your garden area all around your house for places where greenery is placed in an area that interferes with the rays of the sun. Chop it down! More natural light in your home is more important than aesthetically pleasing greenery. Hire a professional if it’s a monstrous, root-spreading nightmare of course!
Well, this may sound obvious, but adding more windows lets in more light. If you’re creating a customized home, make sure to include the placement of as many windows as possible into your design. This is not as easy as it sounds, particularly because windows can be a feature all of their own. Placing a couch directly in front of a window can diminish its impact. Thus, window placement should be factored in alongside the design features in a room, so that there is enough space to give the windows the attention they deserve.
Curtains are a wonderful way to dress a window, but make sure they’re not reducing the amount of natural light you allow into your home. Homeowners might keep curtains drawn during the day if they live in an area with little privacy. This might keep you safe from prying eyes, but it also wreaks havoc with your living environment. Heavy, light-blocking curtains kept drawn during daylight hours is a depressing way of trying to stop the outside world from looking in: it’s time to build a fence instead so that you can simultaneously hide from the neighbors and get the cheerfuls rays of sunshine peeping in your windows too!
Mirrors are reflective, and it’s a common design strategy to use mirrors to maximise space. Did you know that they can also maximise natural light? When placed correctly, a mirror can reflect the natural light and allow the rays to bounce from place to place around the room, opening up the space to a wonderful display of light.
As a more complete and rewarding solution, a partial or full home remodel can be a terrific investment to optimize your living space and maximize the powers of natural lighting for your daily health. The ability to create a uniquely customized space with the help of a home design and remodeling professional can connect you with your home environment and drastically increase your standard of living. Find a contractor who is fully devoted to your vision of the space, committed to rendering your vision into reality through expert craftsmanship and exceptional design.