Step Into The Light – Solutions For Dark Spaces In Your HomeJason Siddall
If you’ve ever turned up your face to the sun and stood there smiling, eyes closed, basking in the pleasure of the warmth and light, you’ll understand why natural light is so important to us as human beings. Sunlight makes us feel good – it stimulates our appetite and improves digestion and circulation, it boosts our immune system and white blood cell count, and it increases serotonin and endorphins.
There’s definitely a reason why people who live in far northern countries, where there’s little or no sunlight during winter, often succumb to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). So it makes perfect sense that we want to let as much natural light as possible into our homes. If dark spaces are a problem in your home, take a look at these great light solutions.
Light Solutions For Your Home
Designing a home without thinking about how you can make the most of natural light is a little crazy – it’s like turning away free stuff! Light is abundant – especially in South Africa – and it costs nothing! The sun gives us an amazing amount of light energy – we would be foolish not to use as much of it as possible.
This doesn’t, of course, mean living in greenhouses! Although the sun illuminance on a clear day is approximately 10 000 foot candles (the standard we use to measure the intensity of light), we only need about 35 foot candles to read by. So, even when clouds reduce the amount of light into our homes by up to half, 5 000 foot candles is still a lot of light!
All we have to do is find as many ways as possible to let it into our homes.
Windows are obviously the first thing we think of when finding light solutions to dark problems, but there are so many other innovative ways in which we can take advantage of this amazing natural resource.
Yes, you read that correctly. Although we think of stairs more as ways to move people than to maximise light, a stairwell actually presents an incredible opportunity to borrow light from your upstairs storey. Think glass balustrades, glass treads and glass risers. If it’s possible to orient your stairway so that catches the most sun, even better. Stairs truly are an innovative light solution to a dark first-floor problem.
Exterior windows are an obvious way to bring in more light, but interior ones can be equally effective when it comes to borrowing light from a brighter, adjacent room. They can be frosted or sandblasted for privacy if needed, while still allowing in precious natural light.
That’s right – walls no longer have to be solid blockers-of-light! Think glass walls on the front façade of office buildings and retail malls, for example. But they can be also be used to great effect in residential homes as well. For privacy, glass can be laminated, textured or sandblasted, but it will still absorb and reflect some of the light while scattering the rest. It all depends on how translucent it is. If privacy is not a problem, clear glass obviously transmits the most light.
The sky above us is one huge light source, so it’s a great place to borrow light to brighten up a dark space. In fact, “top light” (light that comes into our homes from above) is over three times as bright as light coming in through vertical sources, such as windows, doors and walls. Skylights are easy to install in all types of roof – flat or pitched – and you usually don’t even need municipal plan approval. So, if you have the chance to bring in light through the roof, take it!
Opening up the back of your house with traditional French doors, sliding doors or more modern bi-fold or stacking doors, is a wonderful way to let in ample natural light. It also creates enviable indoor-outdoor flow and makes interior rooms appear much larger.
If you’re looking for light solutions to your dark problems, contact GHI Architectural Solutions. Our Silhouette range of balustrades, pool surrounds, frameless showers, glass facades and wall and door systems is the perfect way to let more natural light into your home. Chat to one of our friendly experts about light solutions that will work for you.