Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Making the Most of Natural Lighting

Balance is key for any home, but specifically for each individual space in a home. A good rule of thumb is to make sure major rooms in your home are illuminated from two different directions. Don't try and achieve relentless light, but rather balance light with shadows. This contrast brings a powerful dynamic to living spaces. If it's impossible to achieve this balance of light from two different directions, consider implementing a skylight. Skylights are great at subtly bringing more light into a room and diminishing harsher shadows.

Natural light also brings warmth to a room in more than one sense. Temperature wise, light contributes added heat that may be of interest during winter months. During the summer, intense mid-afternoon sunlight can be oppressive and unappealing. Take these situations into consideration when designing a room. Make sure rooms receive light at appropriate times of the day. For example, a porch should typically be shaded during the afternoon. Or, in a master bedroom, you may want your windows on the east side of the room so sunlight can enact as a natural wake-up call. It's worth plotting the course of the sun in a drawing of your site. Take into account trees, overhangs and other objects that may provide shade. Natural light also brings warmth, in an inviting sense, to spaces in your home. As humans, we are drawn to illuminated areas. If you want to improve the flow of your home from one room to another, use natural light to highlight staircases, walkways and other transitional spaces. By doing this, you're inviting individuals to move through your home while being guided by subtly marked pathways of light.
Finally, natural light can be used to play with textures, materials and colors in your home.

Consider implementing aluminum surfaces, glossy woods or white walls into your d├ęcor. These surfaces allow light to reflect in an inviting and intriguing manor. If you feel like light needs to be diffused in a room, consider purchasing sandblasted glass. When light hits this texture, it creates a glow that warms a room, yet cuts back on the sun's intense rays. Experiment with patterns. How does light filter through a trellis? A vine covered trellis can provide just enough relief from the sun to shade a porch or sitting area.

Natural lighting has an important impact on how things are illuminated in your home. Work with an interior architect in order to maximize your home's potential for capturing sunlight. For more tips on how you can illuminate your home with natural light, contact me today!

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