- Decorating, Home Decorating & Interior Design

In Praise of Rays

Using Windows and Doors to Bring Natural Light into Your Home

(ARA) - Dark and confining may be fine for a cave, but it isn’t what most people want in their homes. Today’s homeowners want well-lit, personal spaces throughout the house, and more continuity with the outside world.

Windows and doors are central design elements of every home, bringing in sunshine and natural light, and providing fresh air and views that transform enclosed areas into comfortable, inviting living spaces. Increasing natural light in the home to supplement or replace electrical lights, is becoming more important to homeowners as they consider new homes or look to remodel their current one.

“The sun warms our souls. It makes us happy to be alive. On a sunny day, especially after a winter of gray skies, your first instinct when you step outside is to raise your face to the sun and smile,” said Joan McCloskey, an editor with Better Homes and Gardens magazine. “That same feeling happens in a sunny room with broad expanses of glass that beckon in the buttery yellow light. The sun makes colors seem more intense, not muted. Properly placed and right-sized windows can do a lot for the look, feel and personality of a home. The sun creeps into corners and makes a room feel bigger, airier, and fresh.”

Technology Makes it Possible

Today’s windows and doors are better engineered than those made in the 1970s -- a time when more than 20 million American homes were built. Advanced materials and design now make it possible for windows to be larger, stronger and more energy efficient. In addition, today’s manufacturing technologies allow homeowners to select windows and doors in a variety of shapes, sizes and styles.

Advancements in glass technology also have contributed to the growth of window design in the home. Newer, low emissivity (Low-E) coatings significantly reduce heating and cooling costs, and help manage the effects of ultraviolet light -- which can be a cause of fabric fading.

Get Out the Compass

Achieving maximum natural lighting and energy efficiency depend in part on climate, where the windows are placed in the home, the home’s architecture and the landscaping surrounding it.

For example, south-exposure windows provide large amounts of direct lighting throughout most of the day, while north-exposure windows, by comparison, provide shaded, even lighting. Windows placed on the east and west sides of the home allow for lots of light, along with even, shaded light, at respective times.

In addition to simply letting in more light, windows can help shape the sun’s rays into dramatic patterns and layers through the use of grilles, art glass and shaped windows. Rooms with multiple exposures can benefit from direct and indirect lighting that can create a feeling of warmth and spaciousness.

“Think of windows as part of the total wall plan, not only in terms of the pattern they will create on the exterior side of the wall, but how light will come into the room. Light will bounce off the ceiling when windows are placed high in the wall, adding to the positive effects of the indirect lighting,” said Fred Foster, an architect with Andersen Windows, Inc. “Lighting areas directly and indirectly with natural light causes less glare, which will result in a more pleasing quality of light in the home. Natural light sources give objects and materials in interior spaces a more natural, truer color.”

Skylights are a perfect example of how to add a different lighting source in the home. Installed in the roof, skylights can be optimally positioned to bring light to areas in a unique way, often complementing light from existing windows and doors -- perfect for bathrooms and kitchens. Skylights are also a great solution for lighting rooms where privacy may be an issue, where there may be a less than desirable view, or where there is no outside wall such as in a hallway.

According to experts at Andersen Windows, homeowners can increase natural light in their home in three ways:

* Adding windows, skylights or patio doors to their home

* Replacing old windows with new ones placed in optimal locations

* Replacing windows and doors with larger ones or window/door combinations

Healthful Benefits

In addition to lighting a house, natural light has many potential health benefits. Sunshine and daylight may affect people psychologically and physiologically, and living in dark, poorly lit homes may lead to mood changes, depression and conditions such as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

For more information on the virtually limitless sizes, styles and combinations of Andersen windows and doors that can help increase natural lighting in your home, visit or call (800) 426-4261, reference # 3019.

Courtesy of ARA Content


Views: 1