Handling Light in the Home Through the Seasons
Ask people what they would most like to change about their homes and what most of them will tell you is that they’d like to increase the level of light. A well-lit home makes us feel happier and more energetic, and studies show that it can have significant health benefits. It also gives you the chance to show off your décor.
Every season presents different lighting challenges, so there’s a lot to take into account, but with good planning your home can look bright and beautiful all year round.
In spring, you’ll want to make the most of the lengthening days and let the sun come streaming through your home. Moist air tends to mean that there’s more ambient light, and this can be bounced off polished hardwood floors and pale-coloured walls to increase overall illumination without glare. Glass-panelled doors and interior windows let the light flood through your home, and growing some plants inside will add to that outdoorsy feeling.
As the heat builds up in summer, you need to strike a balance between keeping the home bright and keeping it comfortably cool. Blinds are a good solution and can also be used to prevent glare on TV and computer screens. Leave windows and interior doors open to let fresh air through the house, and use summer throws and rugs made of pale, soft fabrics to increase the feeling of space and light without adding to glare. Using voile instead of traditional net curtains gives you an extra option for softening the light from windows.
Autumn is the season for western light, long and low in late afternoon and early evening. Homes with west-facing windows can make the most of this by using mirrors to catch and reflect it, whilst fashionable metallics - red, copper, brass and gold - can bring out its natural warm colour. It’s also important to start thinking about insulation. Good sets of solid shutters can really help to keep your home warm and you’ll love opening them in the mornings to see the light streaming in. Later, over dinner, candlelight adds to the warm feeling of a home well prepared for the months to come.
In winter, the days are short and light levels often low, so artificial lighting becomes more important. Lights in warm colours can also help to make your home feel cosier. Blue-tinted lights in the bathroom and kitchen can help you to feel more alert on dark mornings, while softer, pink-tinted lights in the living room will help you wind down in the evenings. It’s a good idea to have several light sources in any one room in order to provide flexibility, and standing lamps and wall sconces can work nicely alongside overhead illumination.
Lighting may often be thought of as a detail, but it can make a big difference to the look of your home and to the way you feel about living in it. It doesn’t cost much to improve it, so it’s well worth making some changes.