Planning your Home
The Importance of Natural Light in Homes
Natural lighting plays an important role in making your home comfortable, visually appealing, and welcoming. The sun is a powerful tool in designing your home, filling your home with a rich, natural hue that artificial lighting simply cannot compete with. With a long list of benefits and advantages, natural lighting is a vital consideration for all home builders.
The benefits of natural light
Incorporating natural lighting into your home has a range of benefits, from sustainability to your health.
Create a more sustainable home
Introducing natural lighting into your home is one of the easiest steps in creating a more sustainable home. Increasing sun exposure will brighten and warm up your home without needing as much heating or electrical lighting. By reducing the amount of electricity being used in your home, you’ll also minimise the burning of fossil fuels. This small yet simple step is one easy way to live a more sustainable and environmentally conscious life.
Reduce your energy bills
As well as being kind to the environment, natural lighting will also be kind to your energy bills. In the summer, daylight savings allows the sun to brighten your home well into the night. Whereas during winter, the air-tight capabilities of modern doors and windows means that the winter sun’s warmth can help keep your home warmer for longer. Lighting alone can account for more than 10% of your energy bills. Using less electrical lighting will also help you save on maintenance and replacement costs.
Improve your health
Introducing natural lighting into your home will also be beneficial to your health. Sunlight can increase your Vitamin B and D levels, which are essential to maintaining good overall health and well-being. Natural lighting will also assist in realigning your body clock with the sun. This will instinctually enable your body to improve your sleep schedule and stimulate your appetite which will improve your digestion. Sunlight is also said to boost your immune system, increase endorphins and serotonin levels and assist in balancing your body’s hormones.
Maximising natural lighting in your home can also protect your family from harmful bacteria possibly growing within the home. The sun acts as a natural disinfectant and helps eliminate moisture. Both aspects can help prevent mould from growing within the home. This will also reduce the amount of cleaning and maintenance that your home requires.
How to design a home to maximise natural light
Luckily, these benefits are well within your reach. When designing your home, there are steps that you can take to ensure your home maximises natural lighting. However, it is important that these considerations are made at the beginning of your home design journey, as some aspects of your home can’t be changed later.
Orientate your home to the sun
The orientation of your home is one consideration that must be made at the very beginning of your building plans. Whilst the orientation of your home can sometimes be limited by the size and position of your block, being mindful of the sun’s position throughout the day can maximise the levels of natural lighting.
The general rule is that the longest side of your home should face north to south. The sun can enlighten and warm your home’s eastern and western sides in the mornings and evenings. However, if neighbouring buildings block you from doing so, there are still ways to utilise natural lighting. Design your home so that communal rooms, or the rooms you spend the most time in, get the most natural lighting to be most impactful. Additionally, position bedrooms on the eastern side of the house so that they catch the morning light.
Windows and Doors
If you don’t have the freedom to choose the orientation of your home, then the choice of your windows and doors are the most powerful tools in harnessing natural light. Large, clear windows, skylights and glass doors will allow sunbeams to flow through your home. Often, the middle section of a home can become the darkest. Consider installing a skylight above corridors, hallways, and staircases to invite the sunlight in. If you are concerned about privacy, high-level windows in bedrooms and bathrooms will allow you to maximise natural lighting whilst also maintaining privacy.
Using the right paint colours
The colours of your walls and ceilings can also help increase the natural lighting in your home. Sunlight is absorbed by dark colours, whilst lighter colours will reflect it. The Light Reflectance Value (LVR) of a colour determines how much light the colour will absorb or reflect. LVR can range from close to 100% for pure white to near 0% for black. Pure white is so popular in modern homes as it will allow natural light to bounce around your home, and white with different undertones will also effectively increase the brightness of your home. Using a white trim around your windows and painting your ceiling a shade lighter than the walls will brighten your home whilst also making your space look larger.