Maximising natural light

James Rippon James Rippon
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As the darker months begin to settle in here in the Northern Hemisphere, our minds begin to wander off to sunnier corners of the globe, and we may begin to ask ourselves, how can we try to maximise the (often little) amount of natural light available in our homes? 

The sun, with the light and warmth it brings, has many health benefits, from healthier skin to better mental health, amongst others. What better motivation to try to increase the amount of light shining in our homes? There are many ways to do this, and when a house is being designed this should be one of the key considerations in regards to size, aspect, colour, windows, location and use of different materials.

Here are a few tips and ideas when trying to increase the amount of sun in your living space, and keep the winter months easier to bare.

Skylights

South Park 3 SW6: modern Living room by CATO creative
CATO creative

South Park 3 SW6

CATO creative

​Skylights are a great way to bring in natural light, as they face the sky, and can steal sunlight at all times of the day.

Skylights are obviously only suitable for the top floor a building, and are the perfect way to allow sunlight into a space where the walls on either side of the room are being blocked, such as in terrace homes or top floor apartments.

Floor to ceiling glass

​Using floor-to-ceiling glass is the perfect way to maximise the lighting benefits the sun creates. This amazing two-storey, open plan home by Jamie Falla Architecture has incorporated glass into the whole of one side of this open plan room, allowing light to shine throughout the entire downstairs and into the mezzanine above. Notice the glass spills over from the wall onto the ceiling, bringing in even more light and creating some beautiful, design-inspired lines and shadows.

To see more photos of this amazing home click here.

Aspect is key

​One key consideration in the design of any building is the aspect, and the amount of light the openings and windows will allow. As far as homes go, the desired aspect is different for every house. In the northern hemisphere, a south facing aspect is most desired, and this is especially the case for houses with gardens. A south facing garden will receive the most light, maximising the growth of plants and flowers.

In the Southern Hemisphere however, a north facing home is more desirable. Today's home owners are more educated than ever, and are more aware than ever before of the importance of the direction the house faces.

Pictured here is a renovated English home from Sam Tisdall Architects, providing us the perfect example of the right aspect for this particular home, which allows for maximum light on the ground floor with its large, open planned downstairs.

Click here to check out the rest of the photos from the renovations of this beautifully restored Victorian townhouse.

White and bright

Craven Hill Gardens,  Apartment:  Bedroom by Eliska Design Associates Ltd.
Eliska Design Associates Ltd.

Craven Hill Gardens, Apartment

Eliska Design Associates Ltd.

Painting the interior of a room and decorating it with white furnishings is another genius way to maximise the light the sun creates.  Decorating with white can open up the smallest of spaces, providing a look of cohesion. By decorating in all white in the same tone, the room allows for viewers' eyes to wander around the room, proving an illusion of making a space seem bigger than it actually is.

Open plan living

​The fewer walls blocking light, the better. As we see more and more open plan designed living spaces, we see more natural light filtering throughout the home. As there are less confined spaces in an open plan floor, the illusion of more space is given off.

Essential in the bathroom

Being the room with the most moisture, the bathroom may well be the room in the house needing the most sunlight, as it the most susceptible to mould and other nasties. With an all white bathroom, you can see here only a little amount of natural light is needed to brighten up the whole space. As this is often the first place we go after dragging ourselves out of bed, it is nice to know this space is dry and bright, to help us slowly wake up and take on a new day.

Use of mirrors

Cathnor Road:   by Coupdeville
Coupdeville

Cathnor Road

Coupdeville

​What better way to decorate the home than with mirrors, which will fill any space with light, not only from the sun. This ingenious use of a fish-eye style mirror has been smartly placed at the end of the hall, directly opposite the door that is providing all the natural light. By using this rounded style of mirror, as opposed to a common flat mirror, the light is evenly distributed to all four corners of this space, not allowing any area to be without light.

What do you find helps increase natural light in your home? Let us know in the comments section below.
Whitton Drive:  Terrace house by GK Architects Ltd

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