7 Ways to Beat the Winter Blues Using Natural Light
Winter comes with two things darkness and cold.
It makes us feel depressed and exhausted at all times, which is why we have the expression “winter blues.”
But what can you do about the weather? Nothing!
What you can do, is find positive ways of dealing with Winter until Summer gets here.
Why is Winter so gloomy?
One of the reasons Winter is so depressing is the lack of light. Without it, we become morose and lack energy. That’s because we need natural light to;
⦁ Enhance our brain functions
⦁ Keep our circadian rhythms normal
⦁ And optimize our vision as we require lots of light to see.
⦁ Encourage the body to produce serotonin which brightens our moods
⦁ Increase production of Vitamin D in our bodies which is essential for bone health
That’s what natural light does for our bodies, but what does it do for our homes?
Well, natural light;
⦁ Prevents mold growth in wet areas of our homes
⦁ Reduces energy use by substituting our artificial lighting needs
⦁ Improves the ambiance and aesthetic appeal of our living spaces
Therefore, in Winter, when it’s cold and gloomy, we lose out a lot. However, although winters are brutal, not only because of the cold but also due to the lack of natural light, it doesn’t stop us from going about our day as usual.
If it gets dark at 2 pm, you can’t jump into bed (which is how we often feel). You must turn on an artificial light source and keep going till the day ends.
Therefore, energy bills in Winter are pretty high. That’s not an ideal situation, but it happens.
Fortunately, there are solutions to the lighting problems we experience in Winter. A cost-efficient one is maximizing the natural light you get from outside.
That sounds confusing since, in the first place, it’s in such low supply, but it is possible.
Ways to increase natural light in your home during Winter
You can take advantage of whatever natural light you get in Winter to make it less gloomy and reduce your energy costs.
Here are seven ideas you can use to increase natural light in your home during Winter.
Glass skylights make so much sense to have at home or in the office because they are a cost-effective method of accessing sunlight.
The sun doesn’t cost you anything to shine, and harnessing its energy is one of the best ways to reduce your power costs.
Skylights are roof windows made of glass, polycarbonate, or acrylic glazing with framings of wood or vinyl.
They are fixed on roofs using flashing and are used to light up dark areas of the home.
Skylights can stream up to three times more light into a room as vertical windows. Therefore, they are an excellent way to access natural light during Winter.
You can use them to ventilate your house, improve its appearance, and access a nice view of the sky day or night.
Large skylights are better than small ones when it comes to accessing natural light. However, your skylight should not exceed 15 percent of the square footage of a room.
Use that guideline to install a properly-sized skylight in a dark room of your choice, such as a bathroom, bedroom, sitting area, or kitchen(Whichever spaces you use the most.)
You may also install them over very dark spaces such as hallways, foyers, and closets that rarely have enough light.
Although a skylight is an excellent solution for harnessing natural light and directing it into the home, installing it over lower floors is cumbersome.
What you can do is put up tubular daylights, also known as solar tubes or sun tunnels, over such lower floors. They work the same as skylights but are easier to install.
Solar tubes are compact solar lighting solutions that you can use to illuminate hallways, bathrooms, closets, and foyers in Winter.
They require significantly less space than skylights to install and are a more energy-efficient lighting solution because they do not contribute to heat gain.
Solar tubes are made of polycarbonate or acrylic. They consist of a dome you install over a roof to harness sunlight and a metal tube (10 -14 inches wide) made of reflective material that directs light to a diffuser lens.
Although they do not give you a view of the sky, they are cheaper to install than skylights.
Solar tubes also filter out harmful UV rays at the roof level, ensuring they do not find their way into your home and increase heat gain, harm your eyes, skin, or furniture.
If you install a solar tube with an energy-star rating in your home, you will earn tax credits due to its energy efficiency.
You can scatter solar tubes in different areas of the home or across a ceiling to light it up. Ask a light installation expert how today!
Sunrooms provide us with a great view of the outdoors and bring lots of light into the home.
They are a favorite solution for anyone looking to enjoy the outdoors while inside their house.
In Summer, they give us a space to relax and observe the outdoors without dealing with bugs.
In Winter, you can hide away from the snow or rain and still have a view of the outside while enjoying any natural light available.
You only have to find ways of heating your space up, such as using a wood fireplace or an electric heater.
If you construct a sunroom in your home, ensure it faces the right direction for maximum sun exposure and warmth. For example, south-facing sunroom access a lot of sun during the day.
Mirrors reflect light, and you can use that aspect to brighten a room or make it look more spacious.
You only need to place a large mirror in an area that catches a lot of sun during the day, and it will reflect the light to other parts of the room.
An ideal spot is opposite a large window to take advantage of the sunlight that inevitably streams through it.
Find such a space in your home and install your stylish mirrors. You will be surprised how much it brightens up the room and adds to your decor appeal during Winter.
It will also help to open the blind, which may cut down the amount of light flowing into your home when closed.
If you are worried about privacy, lightly-colored window dressing such as sheers will cover your window while letting in light.
If you have few windows in your home and live in a predominantly cold area, increasing their number is a great way to let more light into your home in the cold season. You could also increase the size of existing windows.
And as funny as it sounds, cleaning your windows is another way of improving your lighting in Winter.
A cloudy, dirty window is unlikely to let in a lot of light. Clean, clear window panes let in all the light they can capture from outside.
Therefore, if your window is smudgy or covered with a layer of dust or dirt, wipe it regularly with window cleaner and a cloth to allow as much natural light as possible into your home.
The more trees or tall buildings you have around your home, the less natural light you will have streaming in.
Of course, you can’t do anything about the tall buildings apart from moving away.
But you can trim any branches from surrounding trees that are blocking light from your home.
You will be surprised how much more light you get in your home after you get rid of distracting tree branches hanging over areas such as your windows or doorways.
You may feel dark colors are great for your home decor, but if you live in a predominantly cold area that experiences lengthy winters, using light colors in your home is better.
It ensures your home does not feel dull and gloomy, which will drive you nuts when you need some cheering up in the heart of Winter.
Paint your house in light colors such as soft blue or white that will brighten your room, especially when sunlight is streaming in through the windows.
Install light sheers and curtains for the same reason too.
Are you tired of dark and gloomy winters?
These are seven ways you can brighten up your home during cold months using natural light.
Using solutions such as skylights and sun tunnels to improve your home lighting will also reduce your energy costs.
Try these ideas and see how much they brighten up your winter months.