Getting more natural light into your home – and why it’s so important
We all love the idea of flooding our homes with natural light. But not only does it sparkle and illuminate your interiors in a way artificial light can never hope to match. Natural daylight boosts our serotonin levels, so we feel happier and sleep better. And best of all, it’s free.
But not every home enjoys large casement windows or a beautiful light-filled conservatory. So how can we cheat and bring more light into our interiors? And just what are the benefits of natural light?
What are the benefits of natural light?
Throughout human evolution, our bodies have been exposed to natural sunlight daily. But now that we spend up to 90% of our time indoors, getting enough natural light is more critical than ever. With plenty of proof that Vitamin D can help to promote health and wellbeing, here’s why we all need to get more daylight:
Boosts vitamin D
Vitamin D is crucial for the development of strong bones, helping us to absorb enough calcium. Sunlight is our primary source of this essential vitamin, allowing our body to produce its own supply to keep us strong and healthy.
Lack of Vitamin D is linked to depression and obesity and causes diseases like rickets. The ‘sunshine vitamin’ could also promote better health and wellbeing. The good news is your body can start producing vitamin D after exposure to natural light indoors as well as outdoors. So throw those curtains wide and make sure you get your daily dose.
Just 30 minutes of morning light daily has been shown to relieve anxiety. But it can also help to improve the quality of our sleep. That’s because humans are naturally programmed to follow the sun, and natural light allows us to reprogramme our natural rhythms and remain in harmony with nature.
Computer screens, phones and TVs can all throw these circadian rhythms out of alignment. The more exposure to natural light our bodies get, the more aligned we are and the better we sleep.
Studies show that the number one office perk isn’t workout space or great coffee but natural light. It seems we crave daylight because it makes us feel good. In one survey, workers reported an 84% reduction in headaches, blurred vision and eye strain when working next to a window.
The link between natural light and the feel-good factor means we’re also more productive and more likely to collaborate with our colleagues. Along with that first cup of coffee, working in natural daylight could make us happier, healthier and more efficient. So whether you’re WFH or back in the office, make sure you make the most of it and work in a natural light filled environment.
How to improve natural light in your own home
There’s no wonder that natural light is one of the top priorities for home buyers. But how do you increase the amount of daylight in your interiors? Here are our favourite fixes for those dull areas in your home:
Using mirrors to bounce the light around your interiors is a well-known trick. But use your imagination, and just about any surface can be used to reflect light.
For example, painting your walls with a high sheen paint can increase the mirror-like effect. But don’t reach for the gloss. Instead, replace matte paint with eggshell or eggshell with satin.
Of course, high gloss paint can create a polished, almost lacquered finish that looks dramatic in any room and will maximise any available light. But that level of finish needs to be handled with care, so save for areas where natural light is virtually non-existent.
Go for gloss
Kitchens and bathrooms often lack natural light. To make the most of it, choose glossy surfaces and glass or reflective tiles for worktops and splashbacks. Glass tiles can bounce up to 100% of any sunlight back into a room. High gloss ceramic tiles are almost as reflective. There’s a reason why those ubiquitous glossy subway tiles are a favourite in small and dull spaces.
Metallic accessories are on-trend and will help diffuse light while looking incredibly stylish. Or turn up the volume with mirror tiles. These are highly effective at making the most of available light and can look gorgeous in bathroom and kitchen spaces. Opt for smoked or coloured mirror glass if you want to avoid the disco ball effect.
Use light colours
Get rid of that statement wallpaper and paint over any dark walls. Using shades of white paint in your interiors is one of the simplest ways to brighten your interiors.
That’s because white has a light reflective value (LRV) of close to 100% and will reflect the natural light in a room. Darker colours with an LRV closer to 0% will absorb light. If you’re worried that white will make your home look cold and clinical, find shades of warmer white that you like or opt for soft neutrals.
There’s a reason that we paint our ceilings white, and that’s to reflect the maximum amount of light into a room. Selecting a soft satin finish will do the job better than using a matte paint.
Keep curtains light (or get rid of them altogether)
Remember those circadian rhythms and how they promote better sleep? Ideally, you should remove all window treatments in your bedroom. But if natural light first thing is too much to face, opt for softer treatments like sheer curtains and translucent blinds.
Heavy drapes, pelmets and blinds can all cut the amount of light entering your home dramatically. Keep treatments light, using pale colours and natural textures. If you want to bring light in but keep nosy passers-by out, opt for window films that obscure the view or hurricane shutters that can open and close to control the light and the view.
Brighten up your floors
Lighter flooring can dramatically transform the look and feel of your interiors. Ceramic or stone tile or pale wood floors will effectively act as one large mirror, bouncing back the light.
If you prefer carpets, then stick to light and neutral tones that won’t absorb the light, giving your home that gorgeous light and airy feel.
Clean and clear your windows
Probably the quickest fix of the lot, cleaning your windows inside and out will let the light come flooding back into your home.
While you’re outside, take a few minutes to prune back any bushes or plants that could be obscuring your windows. A few minutes spent tidying overgrown foliage can significantly impact the amount of light getting into your home.
Skylights and lantern ceilings have an incredible ability to pull light into a room. By adding glazed units that face directly at the sun, you’ll bring in consistent daylight. Skylights are less likely to be obscured or shadowed than windows, allowing the light to flood straight into your home.
Replace your windows and doors
When you think of a light-filled interior, the chances are you think of large windows and bifold doors that effortlessly bring the outside in for ultimate light levels.
There’s no doubt that the best way to increase the light coming into your home is to replace your doors and windows. Imagine transforming one wall of your home into a wall of glass or adding a spacious and stylish conservatory with gorgeous views over your garden.
Light drenched interiors aren’t just for glossy interior design magazines. Replacing doors and windows is the ultimate way to solve the problem of insufficient light levels in your home.
Britannia Windows can help you realise your dreams of a light-filled interior. Download our brochure or drop into one of our local showrooms today, and we’ll be happy to help. To start enjoying the benefits of natural light in your own home, contact us today.