How to Maximise Natural Light in your HomeTuesday, October 08, 2013 by: Greener Ideal
A dark home is not especially inviting, for you or for your guests. Nobody wants to sit in a dark and dingy room with very little natural light. It’s ok at night, but during the day a lack of natural light is just depressing. But whether your home is a period property with small windows or a new build still in the early design stages, there are plenty of ways you can maximise the natural light and save money on energy bills at the same time.
Windows and Doors
The most obvious way of introducing more light into a home is via windows and doors. The only problem with this method is that large expanses of glazing need to be energy efficient. If it isn’t, you run the risk of your home turning into an oven during the summer or freezer during the winter when the temperature plummets. Thankfully, thanks to innovative design techniques, modern windows and doors are now extremely energy efficient and it is possible to maintain a very comfortable temperature all year round.
Folding or Retractable Glass Panels
A popular way of closing the gap between indoor and outdoor space is to construct folding glass panels in place of a traditional patio window or French doors. When closed, glass panels act as a wall of glass, shielding the interior of the room from the elements whilst still allowing natural light to flood in. When open, the room is opened up and becomes at one with the outdoor space, which is great during warmer weather. Glass panels can either slide or fold open, or you can install a pulley system so that the entire wall lifts up into a horizontal position.
Skylights refer to windows fitted into the roof space. These are a great way of bringing light into an attic bedroom or bathroom when it is impossible to build any other type of window.
Atriums and Roof Lanterns
Atriums or roof lanterns are a beautiful way of bringing natural light into a dark room. Rather than enjoying a view of the garden, you can instead gaze up at the sky. Roof lanterns and atriums are also a lovely architectural feature in their own right and when constructed sympathetically, they can add light and a wonderful sense of space to even the gloomiest of rooms.
Solar tubes channel natural light down through the roof space into the room below. They are a relatively cheap way of bringing daylight into a room with no other natural light source. In some cases, when a sun tube has been installed it negates the requirement for any artificial light during the day, which in a bathroom or hallway could be very useful.
Mirrors can be used to maximise any existing natural light and create a sense of space. Use mirrors to reflect what light is available. At night, place lamps in front of carefully positioned mirrors to increase the levels of illumination in the room.
There are plenty of ways to make the most of natural light using innovative and traditional glazing techniques, but in the case of a period property, make sure you stay sympathetic to the overall design.