HOW TO DESIGN A ROOM TO MAXIMIZE NATURAL LIGHT

October 03, 2018

With so many resources available right at our fingertips, it’s no surprise that people today are spending more time indoors. With deliveries be sent straight to our doorstep, telecommuting for work and social media to connect with friends and family, reasons to leave the house are becoming far and few between. Data from the HLB Lighting Design firm reports that we’re spending 85 to 95 percent of our time inside.

This staggering number raises questions about possible health effects and energy overconsumption that could result from primarily using artificial light. So, how can homeowners make the most of their indoor living environments without reaping the negative effects of “fluorescent fever?”

Fortunately, there is an interior design strategy that focuses on natural light: daylighting. Daylighting is when you use natural sunlight to enhance the look and function of a room. It adds a clean and bright look to interiors while also providing Vitamin D to those who spend their day indoors.

While daylighting has been around for some time, the design trends that best utilize this strategy are continuously evolving. Below, we’ve compiled some of our favorite tips and tricks for capturing optimal daylight to brighten and enhance your space.

Floor-to-Ceiling Windows

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Windows that reach from floor to ceiling are a sure way to maximize the amount of sunlight that fills a room. They are also sure to make a striking statement the moment a guest walks into the room.

For best results, opt for windows with a thin frame that blend into your room design and don’t distract from the view outside. You’ll have an instant sunroom that maximizes natural light year-round.

Skylights

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If your favorite spot in the house is still too dark, a well-placed skylight might be exactly what you need.

Great for stairwells and rooms that don’t receive enough light, skylights can be customized in any shape or size to fit your vision. They also work well in rooms with slanted ceilings where walls—and window capacity—may be limited.

Transom Windows

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If you have a room with a high ceiling, but your windows aren’t tall enough, try adding a transom window to fill the gap between your existing windows and ceiling. This design strategy helps to draw the eye up, making the room feel taller while bringing in more sunlight to open the room up as well.

The extra light will be a welcome addition on overcast days and at high-noon, when your room needs a little extra reach to capture the sun at its peak height.

Bright, White and Light Colors

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Sometimes windows and skylights don’t add enough illumination to your space. One of the simplest ways to maximize daylight in your design is by sticking to a bright and light color palette.

Stay away from dark colors, which absorb light (and create a darker atmosphere), and cover your room in vibrant shades, pastels and lots of whites and neutrals. White is best at reflecting sunlight, and helps make indoor designs look airy and open.

Reflective Surfaces

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Make the most of the sunlight in a room by incorporating reflective surfaces. Mirrors, glass panels and shiny surfaces like polished marble and granite work wonders when it comes to bouncing light in different directions.

The look and style of these surfaces means this technique is best used in kitchens, bathrooms and more modern living spaces. However, glare is a possibility when it comes to reflective surfaces. Make sure to incorporate some stylish blinds or shades for your windows, which will let you control the amount and angle of light on bright days.

Play With Patterns

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The main purpose of daylighting is to brighten a room, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get creative results with how the light enters the room. Experimenting with structural shapes and sunlight can illuminate specific portions of a room for more drama or intentional focal points.

Use a screen or partition, like in the image above, to create interesting patterns or even a feature wall. Research the sun’s path for your area and plan your living space around the way the sun moves. You’ll be able to plan an interactive and impressive design by placing furniture and art where the sun falls throughout the room.

Benefits of Natural Light

Utilizing daylight in the place of artificial light boosts your mood and overall health through increased Vitamin D levels. Natural light may also help you cut back on unnecessary electric expenses through a decreased need to use your electric lights, saving you money.

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