5 Ways to Get More Natural Light in Your Home

The importance of natural light to our circadium rythm and general well being has.  been scientifically proven. Natural light is good for you. There is a reason why you are drawn to interiors with big windows and lots of light. Think about how you feel on a rainy, gloomy day versus a sunny day. Does the weather affect your mood? What if it rained 365 days a year and the sun never came out? You don't have to read any scientific studies to know that your mood and general wellbeing would be seriously affected.

Light is critical to the overall mood of both you and your home. Here are some tips to make sure the lighting in your home isn't mimicking a cloudy day. Let there be light!

 

WINDOW TREATMENTS

You should open your curtains, draw your shades, and let in as much light as you can daily. Your window treatments ideally would not cause you to lose any light when opened.

Curtains should not cover any glass when open. And I always opt for exterior mount shades. Interior mount shades are light killers. And Plantation shutters are always a mistake. Not only are they dated but they are the biggest light killers of all. If you have them I suggest removing them enturely. I know, I know, they were insanely expensive. But you'll be in such a good mood when they come off you wont even care that you wasted money on them :). Plus your house will look a lot more up to date. 

Exterior mount roman shades in one of the living rooms I designed. 

 

WINDOW PAINS

Most window panes are adhered on to a solid piece of glass and can be removed without damaging the window. I've removed window panes in a client's house before. Not only did it let it more light but the windows looked larger and more modern. Don't believe me? Take painters tape and cover your window as if you were adding panes. You will see that you lose some light and it all adds up across your entire home! Not only will removing panes make your house brighter, your windows will look larger. 

 

SCREENS

I actually just took my screens off my windows in my condo and I could not believe the difference! My windows look so much cleaner and my rooms are definitely brighter. And lets face it, screens are gross. When was the last time you opened the windows in your house and were thankful your windows had screens? And let's just say you do like having screens and opening your windows- I bet it's it's less than 2% of the time. So don't kill your natural light 100% of the time because you like the option of opening your windows a few times a year.

And if it's so nice outside-then be outside! You can light a candle to keep bugs away. Screens are gross and pointless. 

 

THE RIGHT BULBS

When you can't have natural light or even when you can, the type of bulbs you use in your home really matter. For whatever reason, all of my clients husbands usually take over bulb duty and get everything from curly bulbs to bulbs that make the entire room look pink but are "energy efficient". I have changed so many bulbs in clients homes and they always think I changed their lamp shades! It makes a huge difference. 

There are a million bulbs on the market and it can be overwhelming. There are also a lot of bulbs that claim to be "daylight" but are far from it. When choosing bulbs I go by the Kelvin temperature scale. I recommend all bulbs be in the 5,000-6,000 range. All bulbs should be clear or slightly blue (like some Reveal Bulbs). They should never be soft white, curly, or florescent. 

art by Carole Marine

 

MY MOST CONTROVERSIAL OPINION

I'll just come right out and say it: I'm not a fan of porches. They are HUGE light killers. I know, I know, it seems all Norman Rockwell and sentimental to sit on the back porch eating watermelon and sipping lemonade in the summer. Let me clarify, I am not against having a great outdoor space to entertain and enjoy. However, when that space is off the back of your house or the front of your house it cuts your light by 50% (or more if your porch is deeper than 12 feet). 

I live in Atlanta. We have terrible pollen in the spring and it's blazing hot all summer long. Everyone has porches. But I always ask people how much they really use them. It's less often than you think. Let's just say you do use them when the weather is nice. If the weather is nice enough to sit on your porch it's certainly nice enough to walk a few yards to another covered area that is just as beautiful and isn't killing the natural light in your home. 

Don't make any decorating decisions based on less than 10% of the time that will affect your home 100% of the time. 

So if you are building a new home, my advice is to go for the pavilion, Or at least make your outdoor space uncovered. There are tons of possibilities of gorgeous outdoor spaces that don't involve killing the natural light in your home. 

 

 

 

Virginia Harper

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