When looking at design, one piece of advice given to me was to add natural light – It’s natural that bright rooms make us feel happier, more alive and vibrant.  #truth

In my design life, over the years I can say I gleaned a lot of design advice and nuggets we can include in the designs we produce. Today’s article is about natural light with windows. Most of us can agree that natural light (and SUN) helps to increase our feelings of happiness and of better moods for our family life. It bathes your room in a rich full spectrum hue that light bulbs can only hope to duplicate; it increases your body’s “feel-good” serotonin levels;  Well, let’s bring some more of that into the house! How do we do that? Here are 5 ways to increase natural light into your home through glazing. But before that, let’s do a quick home assessment:

Assessing what is happening in your home today is the first place to start. Do all the living areas in you home need more natural light, or just a couple dark rooms? Is it your furniture that makes the difference, or small windows – or maybe the rich mahogany floor? Take a walk through the home spaces and start to take some notes. Before making any major changes, remove some items that may be adding to the darkness or removing some light and see if it makes a difference. In the same token, if the “offending” item is large and cannot be removed (like a dark floor) cover it with something brighter and see how the light changes in the room. Perhaps take a before and after picture and look at them on your computer monitor or a larger screen. After your initial look through the house consider these glazing options to add natural light.

1) Install wider windows. Consult with a building designer or engineer for making these kinds of changes, but increasing the window width increases your light at the cost of losing some wall space.

2) Consider making existing windows deeper. Deeper windows will allow you to look out farther into the views from that space, especially when sitting down. It is increasingly more effective for a window where you can benefit from the vertical views like ocean or valley views.

3) Box bay windows can also be an area to add light and perhaps even a space to incorporate a daybed or built-in sitting bench. This change can be to a traditional box bay window or a more contemporary element in a new addition or even in a separate room of your existing home. Either way, there can be an opportunity to bring in light and maybe update some of the darker rooms of your home all at the same time.

4) Think about installing a skylight. Or several. Skylights can be an amazingly effective way of pulling in natural light. It can be a more consistent light than windows in some cases, as they are often not shadowed by trees or building like normal windows can be. Sunlight reflected off of clouds can come directly into the house. Multiples can help to create a feeling of volume as well – extending your windows to include the sky.

5) Corner windows! This is one that requires some thinking and maybe engineering as well, but it could also be a ‘no-brainer’ way to make those views bigger, and those full spectrum rays more available to you. The additional wow-factor of some of these choices like the corner window can really add drama and visual interest to your interior and exterior space.

This may seem like an easier task when creating a new home, but there are many opportunities to bring new life to an older house. One opportunity is to create a modern makeover by bringing in a new exterior (siding, windows and/or addition) and a infusing a modern transition to the neighbourhood. In all these cases, a consultation with a qualified house designer would be advantageous to moving forward in making your new home better, or your existing home more light-filled. Like I said, it isn’t always as easy as bigger and more equals better, so the discussion does need to happen with someone that has experience. These conversations will help you to know and become aware of potential problems that may occur if you just add more without caution.

In any case, these 5 considerations of adding light and character to a traditional or contemporary home can make your project a successful one with a cohesive factor to bring life into your space. There are other was to bring in light as well, and we’ll touch on that another time.

Until next week – keep dreaming of your creation changes for your space…

duane ensing

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