How Natural Light Can Improve You and Your Home

April 13, 2022

How Natural Light Can Improve You and Your Home

If you want to feel a sense of calm and well-being the minute you walk into your home, then nothing beats natural light.

natural light

Natural light has positive impacts on our health, well-being and productivity. 

And you don't need to be a health or design expert to know why. 

Dark rooms tend to make you feel cold, lethargic and uninspired, whereas light-filled spaces are warming and inviting.

Not all of us have homes saturated with sunlight. 

Terraces shadowed by buildings, pokey rooms with small windows, and windows shaded by trees – there are many factors that prevent natural light from streaming into your home. 

The less light we have in our homes, the more often we're likely to turn on light switches and the heater.

Natural light will have a positive effect on you and your home


Natural Light Benefits

#1 Natural Lighting Saves Energy And Money

Strategic natural lighting can reduce energy costs because it can help heat or brighten a space without using electricity.


#2 Natural Lighting Reduces Stress and Anxiety

Stress affects us all in a variety of ways. Over the last few years, everyone has experienced different levels of stress due to lockdowns and restrictions.

Bask in natural daylight for 30 minutes every morning to create an inner calm. 

If people are exposed to light in the morning that mimics the wavelengths of daylight, they become better at coping with anxiety-provoking experiences. 

According to research natural light simply improves the communication between the regions of the brain that are central to our handling of emotions such as stress and anxiety.

#3 Natural Lighting Can Increase the Value of Your Home


Would think that windows would increase the value of a home? 

A study performed by Building Technology Innovations revealed that increased natural light makes a rental space look bigger and more open, resulting in people's willingness to pay more. 

If you have an awesome view, those big windows will show it off in the best way!


5 ways natural light adds value to your home

  1. Transforms: Alongside its benefits to people in buildings, natural light can transform spaces architecturally by enhancing the design and aesthetics
  2. Brightens: Lively and spacious living spaces have an immediate impact and are instantly attractive
  3. Enhances: Daylighting is a design strategy that pays off. It evokes positive emotional responses in people, making properties more attractive, and it has a lasting benefit to buildings
  4. Boosts buyer appeal: Light-filled interiors add value to homes. The amount of natural light a home receives can influence its appeal, the length of time it's on the market and its sale price
  5. Saves: Artificial lighting is responsible for a significant amount of energy consumption and adds to energy bills. Harnessing daylight as much as possible saves on energy bills.
living room bathed in natural light

 

#4 Helping the Environment

Adding natural light to your home allows you to illuminate a room without turning on lights, saving electricity. 

One study shows that natural light can reduce lighting energy use by 50-70%. 

Using less energy helps reduce the burning of fossil fuels, which release carbon and other harmful products into the environment. Natural light in the home helps protect the planet.


How To Increase Natural Light in Your Home

There are plenty of cost-effective options that bring more light into your home.

Daylighting is a term that is used when you are increasing the natural light in your home.

This includes the practice of installing windows, skylights and reflective surfaces so that sunlight (direct or indirect) provides internal lighting. 

This is often used to maximise visual comfort while reducing energy consumption. 


Here are a few other ways to increase natural light in your home:

  • Install larger windows or glass sliding doors
  • Add more mirrors and reflective objects
  • Paint walls with lighter colours (nothing beats white)
  • Replace heavy drapes with transparent curtains or white shutters
  • Swap dark timber furniture for lighter pieces
  • Wash the windows (you'd be surprised what a difference this makes!)
  • Boost your home's feel-good factor and market appeal 

Regular exposure to natural light is not only good for your health but also has the added benefits of enhancing its value due to design, function and energy saving.

Spending time inside also tends to increase exposure to artificial light sources, such as computer screens and televisions. More natural light can help to counteract this.

When daylighting is approached as a core part of your home's design – rather than an optional extra – its results can be incredible.

Mirrors

You can lighten up any room with the addition of a few mirrors? 

For example, set up a mirror in the hallway to reflect light into a dark room. Or, place a mirror opposite a window.


Lighten up

This one's a tried and true trick of the trade that interior designers have been using for many years. 

If your room is lacking in natural light sources, choose a light colour palette for the décor, from lampshades to curtains! This will make any available light reflect off the surface and make the room feel more spacious.

It's worth noting that you don't necessarily have to go for white or cream, either. Any paler shades, such as blues or cool greys work equally well.

Clean Windows

Dirty, dusty windows don't just look unsightly, they can also block out a significant amount of natural light. 

Be sure to give your windows a regular and thoroughly clean from the outside.

kitchen with natural light through windows

Why Increasing Your Natural Light Is Important

Physical Advantages of Natural Light

Humans are used to getting a lot of sunlight, and increasing your daily time in the sun can have several benefits for your health. Here are just a few of the physical benefits you can expect to see.


Vitamin Production

One of the most well-known advantages of natural light exposure is the production of useful vitamins. 

Your body produces both vitamin D and vitamin B in the sunlight. Vitamin D is needed to promote healthy bone and muscle growth. 

It increases your immune system making it easier to fight off disease. It also helps the heart and brain function better. It is a beneficial vitamin, and the best way to get it is by soaking up the sun.

Vitamin B is used in almost every major function in the body. There are eight different vitamin B complexes, and they are all very useful. One of the most apparent effects of vitamin B is creating healthy skin. With sunlight, you will see clearer skin. It can have positive impacts on skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, and acne.


Financial Savings

There was a time when adding more windows would also decrease your home's insulation. 

With modern building materials and window options, you can get all the lighting benefits with extra windows and still keep your home insulated. 

With all that natural light in your home, you can save up to 30% on your monthly utility bills. 


Improves your mood

Did you know that there is a type of depression called Seasonal Affective Disorder, which affects many people in the winter when they do not receive enough sunlight? 

Scientists believe that the “happy” hormone called serotonin increases when nights are short and days are long. 

In fact, many psychiatrists recommend that people get out in the sunlight for at least 30 minutes a day to help prevent or treat depression.

Exposure to natural light also has a significant impact on your mental health as well. 

From boosting your mood to decreasing your risk of mental illness, a little bit of natural light can go a long way toward staying mentally fit.

As we mentioned earlier, your body's exposure to sunlight has a direct impact on the levels of serotonin it produces. 

Seratonin is a mood-boosting chemical, responsible for signalling feelings of happiness and well-being to your brain. 

When your body doesn't produce enough serotonin, then your mood begins to dip, and you become susceptible to a form of depression known as “Major Depression With Seasonal Pattern” or “Seasonal Affective Disorder” (SAD). SAD is a form of depression that comes with shorter days, typically in the autumn. 

It's triggered by the change in seasons and typically occurs in the fall and winter months.

Everyone has times when they feel those “winter blues.” But SAD is more than that. What begins as the blues progresses to full-blown depression as the fall turns into winter.

  • Low energy
  • Feelings of depression
  • Lack of interest in activities you enjoy
  • Sleep problems
  • Feeling sluggish

So what makes SAD different from depression? It is typically a cyclical depression, meaning that it clearly gets worse in the fall and winter and better in the spring and summer. 

It can be traced to the shorter days when natural light isn't as abundant. In some cases, individuals may experience a form of spring/summer SAD, which is also tied to changes in seasons and sunlight, although it happens at the opposite time of year.


Helps Keep You Safe From Mould


It may seem like an old wives tale, but there is reason to believe that clean air may also help to keep your home free of germs. 

Anyone who has had a compact or dark house with dinghy windows and poor ventilation would agree with this argument. 

Making sure your home is well-lit and well ventilated can help prevent mould growth by minimizing the humidity inside. 

Having big windows that are well styled can provide a big benefit to your home's ventilation. 

living room with large windoes

 

Natural Light Can Aid In Energy Conservation

For many buildings, lighting can account for a large share of overall energy costs. 

Constant lighting can become really expensive and it can be wasteful to use lots of electricity to light an interior space for a long period, even if you're using cost-effective lightbulbs. 

Large windows that let in natural light are surely an essential aspect of an energy-efficient home.

Although the cost of installing windows, doors, or any other glass-related options might be higher than your average power bill, they have no ongoing fees to brighten your interior spaces and minimize the need for artificial lighting.

Indoor Lighting

Natural light can be used as effective indoor lighting, and it can also be used to help regulate your indoor temperature. 

When sunlight hits large windows, this can help warm the interior naturally, and with proper blinds, you can choose how much sunlight is heating up your rooms. 

Now there is a range of outdoor blinds that selectively allow the amount the sunlight needed for your indoors. 

New technology can even turn this sunlight into electricity, further reducing your electric costs.

Photovoltaic glass is an innovative technology that allows light to be converted into electricity by using photovoltaic cells (solar cells) inserted between sheets of glass. 

These cells are transparent so they don't block light, and their position allows them to generate clean energy.

home office with large window

 

Enhance Productivity

Whether you work from home or office, we all have things we need to get done during the day. 

One of the greatest benefits of natural light is that it can help to enhance productivity, so it's important that your home or office allows good levels of sunlight via big windows. 

Natural light is thought to have a direct correlation with your overall productivity. 

Using lots of natural light in the workplace has been linked to increased productivity, lower levels of sick leave, and decreased absenteeism, although more study in this area is needed. 

A recent study showed that workers exposed to natural light had a higher level of morale, and were better able to perform tasks like remembering numbers.

Helps The Body's Circadian Rhythms

Your body clock or your circadian rhythm is extremely important. 

This rhythm dictates the cycles your bodies use to perform critical functions from digestion to cell regeneration. 

Some people might find it easy to sleep at night, but it's not always the case for everyone.

When the sun rises, your body knows it's time for a new day, and when the sun sets, your body should start getting prepared for a well-deserved rest. If you are continually bombarded by artificial light sources in your modern lives without any discernible patterns, this could affect your circadian rhythm.

After dark, your body's circadian rhythms can be thrown off by simply using cell phones, laptops, and light-emitting diode (LED) displays, so it's important to minimize their use when possible. 

Another benefit of natural light is that it may help to realign your body to its natural rhythm. If you want to maintain healthy sleep habits, try to have blinds open at least partially in your room, so you can wake up naturally with sunlight.

Increased Energy Levels

Exposure to sunlight regulates the body's serotonin production a chemical that can help boost your mood and increase your focus. 

When you're in a good mood, you usually have more energy and a desire to get things done. 

Without sunlight exposure, your serotonin levels can drop, which can lead to depression and energy loss.

Taking some time to assess the natural light in your home and then how you can improve it can provide numerous benefits to you and your home. 




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