Sunlight is essential to humans, keeping us warm and keeping us healthy by giving us all the vitamins we need. However, it also has more material benefits in that maximising natural light can reduce our heating and lighting costs, so it makes sense to make as much use of sunlight as possible.
Why our bodies need natural light
The most important thing sunlight gives us is vitamin D. Whilst we can get vitamin D by other means (i.e. from certain foods), exposing our bodies to sunlight is the quickest and most impactful way. Vitamin D helps to maintain normal levels of calcium and phosphorus, helps us to absorb calcium, and facilitates the strengthening of our bones and teeth. Natural light also improves our moods and boosts the immune system.
Home benefits of natural light
What can sunlight do for the home? Making use of natural light cuts down on the need for artificial lighting and can help to heat the home, thereby bringing down the cost of electricity bills. Frankly, things always look better in natural light than they do in artificial light, so by bringing sunlight into your home, you are automatically making your home look more beautiful.
Maximising your natural light
Small, dark rooms in the home should be a thing of the past. If you have just moved into a home and have the budget available, you might want to think about knocking down non-supporting walls to improve flow around the home and make the most of natural light. If you are doing a major remodelling but are unable or unwilling to lose walls completely, you could install a window in an internal wall to let light in but also to make a feature of it.
Makeover your home
Perhaps you just want to makeover your home and give it a new look. In this case, you should be paying attention to the windows. Do not use window dressings that block sunlight, such as blackout blinds or heavy curtains. A far better solution is to install shutters at the windows. These have several advantages. They fit snug to the wall so that there is less chance of air bleeding through gaps in the window frames; they can be closed completely to afford total privacy; or they can be opened to allow as much light and air in as you wish, but angled to keep peering eyes from seeing in. They are aesthetically very pleasing, presenting a clean and streamlined look, but offer the opportunity to frame and dress them with curtains if you find they look a little too bare all on their own.
There are other ways to maximise natural light without spending a fortune. Place a mirror on a wall that is opposite or adjacent to a window as it will reflect light into the room and make a small space appear larger. Reflective surfaces, such as metal or glass, also work on the same principle.
Natural sunlight should be maximised in the home in the above ways to not only make us feel better and healthier but also to help keep utility bills down.