Natural light makes any room feel cozy and appealing. It also helps save energy. In all of our remodeling projects, we try to maximize the amount of natural light we capture. This can be somewhat challenging in older homes as we try to extend the character of the original home into the new space.
Homes built more than 50 years ago relied on windows for both lighting and ventilation. To avoid drafts in the house, those homes used smaller windows that created cross-ventilation without being too drafty. Modern windows are much better insulated, though, so it’s possible to add larger glass surfaces without sacrificing warmth in the winter. Therein lies the challenge. It’s tempting to try to use large windows for natural light, but that can impact the character of the home.
If larger windows are less appealing for a project, we often look to skylights, light tubes or roof windows as ways to let in natural light without destroying the aesthetic of the home. They can let in a lot of light, with only a subtle impact on the home’s exterior appearance.
Light tubes use reflective materials to bounce light from a small roof opening into a room and can be very bright. Roof windows are usually able to open and can create a nice source of ventilation. Skylights, especially with sloping walls can spread light over a wide area with only a minor increase in height over the roof.
Natural light can have some unintended consequences though. Too much natural light, especially if it all comes from the same direction, can create glare and add a lot of heat to a room on sunny days. Windows on the south side of the house will capture lots of light and heat in the winter, but should be shaded or made from a specially-glazed material to moderate that effect in summer.
Light-colored paint on the walls and ceiling will bounce light around a room. Light colors also help to make a small room seem more spacious. Semigloss paint adds a bit of reflectivity and durability and eases cleaning. However, to reduce glare avoid semigloss on walls that receive direct sunlight.
Natural light is a big plus in any remodeling project. Ask our design team how we can let the sun shine in on your project.