Another good reason to maximize natural light in your home is for the health benefits it provides. Natural light helps to regulate the body’s circadian rhythm. This is the “body clock” each of us has which helps us to fall asleep at night and wake up in the morning feeling refreshed. Lack of sunlight can throw off that “body clock” and disrupt waking and sleeping patterns. This leads to daytime drowsiness, poor work/school performance, and even depression (especially in the winter time when sunlight is scarce anyway.) Keeping a steady supply of natural light flowing into the house staves off those blues in the winter and keeps you mentally alert when you need to be and drowsy when it’s time to sleep.
If you’re ready to let the sunshine in, here are some tips that will help you maximize natural light in your home:
* Install skylights. Nothing beats a few strategically-placed skylights to bathe your home in sunlight. When choosing a location for installation, try to pick the side of your house that receives the most daytime sunlight. Another good tip is to install skylights in areas or rooms that get used frequently. This will further cut down on the need to turn on lights during the daytime, meaning a reduction in electrical costs. Another great place to install skylights that is often overlooked is the bathroom. You’ll create a spa-like atmosphere right in your own home.
* Install blinds. This is an easy and very economical way to maximize natural light in your home. Blinds allow you to control the amount of light that comes indoors. If it’s a hot summer day and you need to cool off, simply close them. Adjust the slats to allow a little or a lot of sunlight in, depending on the type of weather you’re having, or raise them entirely for full exposure.
* Replace heavy draperies with sheer curtains. Naturally, the heavier the fabric, the less light that is allowed to get through. Sheers on the other hand will allow light through even when closed. If you don’t like the idea of not being able to block out the sunlight in a room from time to time another option is to install curtain tie backs. These are very inexpensive and will keep your curtains pulled back during the day when the sun is shining but still allow for privacy at night.
* Remove obstacles from the outsides of windows. Trim overgrown hedges or shrubs. Cut back tree branches that are blocking the glass. Move patio furniture that might be in the way.
* Keep windows clean. Sounds pretty basic, doesn’t it? The great thing about this one is that it won’t cost you more than a bottle of glass cleaner and a rag. Homeowners often don’t realize how dirty their windows actually are until they take a few minutes to give them a good cleaning. Sometimes a simple cleaning can improve a window’s transparency by ten to twenty percent. This can make significant difference in the amount of natural light that will be able to get through.
More often than not, homeowners recoup the cost of installing skylights, purchasing better curtains, etc. in the energy savings that are realized over a few years or less. It’s just one great reason to make some changes that will maximize natural light in your home.