The Benefits of Optimizing Natural Light in Your New Home

Bookshelves in a great room with a living platform and clerestory windows

When designing a new home, there are many factors you must balance. How does the layout of a room affect its functionality? Which appliances and fixtures work with your custom cabinetry? Does your flooring material suit the other design elements of the room? Incorporating all these details strategically is part of designing a high-end home. After all, you want it to look beautiful and support your daily life activities as smoothly as possible.

But one element that people often forget to consider is natural lighting. This may be because it doesn’t directly come from a feature within the home itself. Although you can’t pick up a sample of natural lighting or pick it out of a catalog, it’s still important to visualize how it will affect the experience of being in your home.

Natural lighting can completely transform both how a space feels and how it functions. When you neglected it as a design element, your spaces may tend to be too dim or have too much glare or just lack inspiration. When you prioritize it, you can breathe life and poetry into every room. Read on to learn more about the influence of lighting and explore the benefits of optimizing natural light in your new home.

Improve Energy Efficiency

From helping the environment to saving money on energy costs, natural lighting plays a major role in sustainable design. Rooms with ample sun exposure don’t require artificial lighting during the day, and they therefore consume less electricity than those that do.

Strategic use of natural light can also enable passive heating and cooling strategies. These design solutions utilize both the sun and specific building materials to warm or cool a room without the use of heating or air conditioning systems.

As an example, you can look at the roof of Turkel Design’s Desert House. By using solar modeling, our architects designed the roof overhangs to project the distance required to take full advantage of the sun throughout the year. The low winter sun can shine beneath the roof extension and warm the concrete flooring within the home, creating a natural source of heat in the cold months. During the summer, the roof blocks the sun’s higher angle, protecting the glass walls and interior of the home from the hot rays and keeping the concrete floor cool in the heat.

Health Benefits of Optimizing Natural Light

Natural lighting also offers numerous health benefits, which is why you should optimize it in your new home. It can brighten the mood in a room and even help preserve healthy eyesight, sleep schedules, and more. Designs that prioritize natural lighting are designs that prioritize your health, mood, and overall well-being.

Preserving Eye Health

These days, most people spend lots of their time with artificial lighting. It may come from working at a computer for hours or having artificial fluorescents in the office. Regardless, artificial light can take a toll on your eyesight and hasten the development of nearsightedness. Spending more time in natural light reduces eye strain.

Improving Sleep

Your sleep cycle relies on your body’s natural circadian rhythm, which in turn relies on the cycle of the sun. Your circadian rhythm helps you feel energized during the day when the sun is up and sleepy in the evening when the sun goes down.

Artificial light can throw off your circadian rhythm. This is why experts discourage screentime at night. The light from your computer or phone can throw off your sleep cycle and prevent you from feeling tired when you should. However, incorporating natural light into your home’s design can support your circadian rhythm and promote a healthy sleep cycle. Exposure to natural light in the morning and throughout the day helps you wake up feeling energized. It also helps you feel tired in the evening, allowing you to fall asleep and stay asleep for a good night’s rest.

Boosting Mood and Energy

Sunlight affects chemical production in the brain. Those chemicals then influence your mood, energy, and more. One key example of this is the production of serotonin. If you don’t get enough sunlight, your brain doesn’t produce as much serotonin. This can lower your mood and leave you feeling sad or lethargic. If you’ve ever noticed your mood dropping in the middle of winter or during a streak of gray, rainy days, it’s probably because of a shortage of serotonin.

Prioritizing natural light in your home’s design helps you prevent these dips in mood and energy. When natural light exposure is part of your everyday life, you’re less likely to experience the chemical and hormonal changes that stem from a lack of sunlight.

Natural Lighting Strategies Throughout the Home

Different parts of the house have different needs. Paying attention to natural lighting in design through factors like which direction the windows face or the angle of the sun can help you optimize each space individually. For example, if you want to design a home office, you should incorporate ample natural lighting. Not only is this better for visibility while you work, but it also helps boost alertness, motivation, and focus.

Another example is the bedroom, where you can use natural light to facilitate your sleep schedule. It’s important to note that, in this case, optimizing natural light means paying attention to your unique lifestyle and routine. Are you someone who likes to wake up and fall asleep early? East-facing windows allow natural light to enter the room in the morning, creating a bright and rejuvenating environment to start your day. But if you’re more of a night owl or designing for a vacation home where you’ll want to sleep in, avoid east-facing windows. This can keep the early morning light out, creating a relaxing bedroom environment for slow, peaceful mornings.

Turkel Design can help you incorporate natural light the right way in your high-end prefab home. We’ll make sure you’re able to experience its many benefits each day. So explore some of our past projects for inspiration, and contact us today.