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Let The Sunshine In: Benefits Of Natural Light In Your Home

I live in a mid-century modern home. It was built 65 years ago by the woman I bought the house from and her husband. Mid-century architects proportioned and positioned the windows with respect to the space of the interior to take advantage of the sun. Natural sunlight plays a huge part in mid century homes but there is something we can all learn from whether you live in the same style home as I do or not.

Sunlight plays a crucial role in interior design as it affects the overall aesthetics and functionality of the space. The use of natural light in interior design has been a trend for a long time, and it is not surprising why. Sunlight provides many benefits, such as improving mood, creating a sense of spaciousness, and providing a healthy source of vitamin D. Seems like we should all be getting as much sunlight as possible!

mid century modern living room, south-facing windows, modern fireplace, floor to ceiling windows, window wall, original mid century chair, linear fireplace
I am obsessed with the wall of windows in my living room.

Here are some ways sunlight can be incorporated into interior design: Window Placement

The placement of windows is the best way to utilizing natural light in interior design. Large windows facing south can provide ample sunlight throughout the day. However, it is essential to consider the location of the building and the orientation of the room to ensure that the sunlight is not too harsh or too little. A northern exposure window can provide a diffused light that is ideal for workspaces, while an east-facing window can provide bright light in the morning. South-facing windows are best for daylight. They let in the light all day long, and don't have as many problems with glare and heat as east- and west-facing windows. South-facing windows are also the perfect place to put all of your indoor plants. My living room has floor to ceiling south-facing windows and I have no window coverings on them to let as much light in as possible. If you are building a home or getting new windows, this is something to consider when working with your interior designer and architect. If you already have a home, don't worry... there are still many things you can do to maximize your natural daylight.

Reflective Surfaces

The use of reflective surfaces can help to maximize the natural light in a space. Mirrors, polished floors, and glossy surfaces can reflect sunlight, creating a brighter and more spacious feel. Additionally, adding a light color on walls, ceilings, and floors can help to reflect sunlight and make a room appear more open and airy. Sometimes you cannot change the amount of natural light coming into your home but adding these reflective services can definitely help.

Furniture Placement

The placement of furniture is crucial in utilizing natural lighting in interior design. Whenever possible, do not block windows with furniture to keep your living spaces flooded with sunlight. Placing furniture away from windows can prevent natural light from being blocked. Instead, furniture should be placed in areas where it can benefit from as much natural light as possible, such as near windows or skylights.

nursery, woven woods, window treatments, drapery, rocker, rocking chair
My client's nursery.

Especially Important in Small Spaces

Natural light can be a great way to make your home appear more spacious and inviting. Natural light can make a room feel larger and more open, creating a welcoming and inviting atmosphere. Additionally, direct sunlight can highlight the architectural features of your home, such as exposed brick or wooden beams. When adding window treatments, be sure to consider how to maximize your natural light.

Use Artificial Lighting to Enhance

The use of artificial lighting should be balanced with natural light to create a comfortable and functional space and create the right amount of light in your space. Dimmer switches, lamps, and task lighting can be used to supplement natural light and create a warm and inviting ambiance. Always use natural sunlight as your main light source whenever possible and artificial light to supplement.

Good For Your Health

But that's not all. Natural light can actually improve your overall health. Exposure to natural light can help regulate our body's circadian rhythms, which is responsible for regulating sleep patterns, mood, and overall wellness. Sunlight has been shown to improve vitamin D levels, which is essential for strong bones, a healthy immune system, and reducing the risk of certain diseases. Natural light can improve mood and reduce stress - both great when focusing on mental health. Studies have shown that exposure to sunlight can improve mood, reduce anxiety, and promote relaxation. Natural light can also help regulate the body's production of serotonin, a hormone responsible for regulating mood and reducing stress levels.

Good For Your Electric Bill

Another benefit of natural light is that it can save you money on energy costs. By utilizing natural light, homeowners can reduce their reliance on artificial lighting, ultimately reducing energy consumption and lowering energy bills. Additionally, the warmth of the sun can provide warmth during colder months, reducing the need for heating.

​Better for Indoor Air Quality

According to an article published in Science Daily, letting the sun shine into your home through the windows can actually kill bacteria that live in dust and this can help decrease the risk of respiratory issues. The article references a study published in the journal Microbiome, describing how researchers at the University of Oregon led by Dr. Ashkaan Fahimipour, PhD, created climate-controlled rooms and exposed the bacteria found in indoor dust to three different situations: one in a dark room, one in a room with visible light, and a third in a room with ultraviolet (UV) light. After 90 days, results were collected from each environment and studied, and there was a correlation between light exposure and the number of bacteria in the dust, noted the article. Bacteria that were kept in the dark were also more closely related to respiratory diseases than those that stayed alive even with exposure to sunlight.

Primary bathroom, vanity mirror, quartz countertops, vanity light, bathroom vanity, window shutters, primary bathroom
We installed shutters in my client's primary bathroom. They're the perfect way to get both light and privacy.

The amount of sunlight you get in your home can truly effect your interior spaces but it is good to know that having an abundance of natural light can also improve your health. So keep in mind that natural light can highlight the color and texture of furniture, artwork, and other decorative elements in your home. But also remember that we are human beings and we need to care for ourselves too. Luckily, getting enough sunlight does it all. It is great for enhancing the aesthetics of your home and it also has good health benefits. Taking advantage of a sunny day is a very 'good thing' as Martha would say. It is clear that natural light can make a significant impact on your quality of life. By incorporating natural light into your home design, you can create a welcoming, healthy, and inviting space that you can enjoy for years to come.


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