Most people in the modern world spend up to 90% of their hours indoors. It’s one of the reasons why we need encouragement to go outdoors and get some exercise, sunshine, and fresh air. The sheer amount of time you spend indoors means that making small changes to your home environment, for example, can indeed have a significant effect on your lifestyle.
Bringing more natural light into the home has been shown to benefit people in many ways. You’ll need less electricity for illumination during the daytime, which reduces your energy consumption and carbon footprint. You also become more attuned with the cycle of daylight, leading to better sleep habits and thus increasing productivity, focus, and energy levels.
So have a look around your home – if you aren’t getting enough sunshine inside the place where you spend so much time, here are some ways you can effectively bring in more natural light with a few simple changes.
The most obvious way to let in more light is to open up your home with windows. Walls – or sections of them – can be replaced with windows. Depending on your location, this can give you more impressive views of your surroundings. If you need privacy, strategic window placement or choice of a more opaque material can easily control what’s visible from the outside. And energy-efficient materials can lead to further cost savings in the long term.
But if you already have windows, or encounter design constraints, consider some unlikely sources of added illumination. Doors can have windows added to them. Even if it’s just a panel of glass, the front door is most likely an unobstructed source of outside light. If your structure permits, adding a skylight can make a huge difference, serving as the aperture for direct sunlight at its peak.
One thing you’ll have noticed if your home has multiple floors is that light tends to come in at the upper levels. Sunlight comes pouring into our bedrooms in the morning but may not follow us down to the ground floor as we go about our daily routines.
In this situation, the key factor is the transition from the upper to lower levels. Practitioners of ancient and esoteric traditions such as feng shui or vastu shastra understood that stairs are a key structure for energy flow throughout the house. By redesigning your internal staircase, you can maximise the openness and lighting of your living space. A creative staircase makes a statement and increases the flow of light and energy harmoniously throughout the levels of your home.
Lighten the interior
Even if you’ve managed to bring in a higher volume of natural light through windows, and improved its transmission to your lower levels with a beautiful staircase, you won’t gain the full benefit if the interior is neglected. Conversely, with limited sources of outside illumination, you can still maximise what light you have by working to lighten your interior.
Removing obstructions, such as large furniture, from the path of light is an easy first step towards creating a bright and open space. You can use clear curtains or blinds to have better control of the flow of light from your windows. Using white or lighter hues for your interior surfaces, such as walls, and adding mirrors will amplify the amount of light in any room.
From opening up your home to more light, increasing the transmission throughout the interior, and maximising its effect inside, these are the range of ways to approach bringing sunlight back into your home – and enjoy the many benefits it gives.