5 Tips for Maximising Natural Light

The number one thing you want in your house each day is natural light. But how to let light in?

Light has the ability to grace spaces with mood and liveliness. What’s the point of having a beautifully designed home, filled with carefully selected things when there is no light to shine on them by day? I shudder at the thought of sitting in a lounge room that needs to be lit by artificial light in the mornings and afternoons when I’d like to lay back and read. Wherever you are in the world, you must consider natural light and the way it interacts with your home.

As a designer, one of my biggest jobs is to maximise natural light effectively whilst controlling heat. This is an artform and makes or breaks a good interior. We’re always working towards building a home that maximises natural light and is therefore more efficient to run.

A science called ‘daylighting’ is devoted purely to achieving the best natural light in interiors. It is all about manipulating and wielding as much daylight as possible to reduce the need for electric heating and allow a natural ambience to animate homes. ‘Daylighting’ mandates that homes should be designed to completely negate electric lighting by day. Why turn a light in with a switch when the sun is out and able to illuminate? Done correctly, correct daylighting will also result in a lot of cost savings for a house by avoiding electricity consumption by day.

However if poor daylighting occurs, residents will deal with uncomfortable glare and heat during the day.

Are you getting a feel for how complex this art is now?

Here are my top 5 tips Daylighting your home:

  • Light wall colours will reflect light, hence why Scandinavian interiors are so commonly all light
  • Place desks and task areas such as bathroom mirrors near windows
  • Install doors with glass panels to let light in
  • Design skylights, light shelves and skytubes into the house

Through the thoughtful placement of windows and skylights, as well as strategic shading and glass technologies, we aim to reduce the need for artificial light during the day. The placement of skylights, light shelves and skytubes of appropriate size can let the right light in without increasing heat in Summer or losing warmth in Winter.  It also can reduce the need for artificial light over task spaces.

It’s very important to consider where your house is positioned in relation to the sun. In Australia, the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, all from a north direction.  So, when we position windows, or rooms for that matter, we are doing so to maximise the morning light (from north east) and generally blocking a hot afternoon sun (from the west)

We delve into all things lighting in Module 04 of Open Studio – our online interior design classroom.