Mother Nature is a master decorator. In summer, she dresses the world in lush greens and vibrant floral hues. And in every season, natural light is one of her most powerful designer touches.
Natural light should play an important role in your home decorating efforts, too. Not only does light from outside affect how certain colors look in your decor, it can influence a home’s mood, style and even the health of the people who live there.
Decorating with natural light doesn’t require a designer’s expertise or budget. You can use natural light to create an inviting atmosphere by keeping a few important points in mind:
The right direction
Light enters our homes from every window and every direction. The directional source of natural light can influence the effect it has on a home’s interior.
Sunlight entering from the north is usually colder. A northern exposure will only get direct sun during summer months. By contrast, a southern exposure guarantees a warm, sun-filled interior. Rooms that receive light from the east will have bright mornings, muted mid-days and cooler evenings. West-facing rooms will experience the most sun in the afternoon and evening.
You can also bring light into your home from above, through a skylight. No matter where you put one in your home, a skylight will allow you to admit the full scope of the day’s light into your decor - morning, afternoon and evening. Both venting and fixed skylights will offer the benefit of allowing you to control the amount of light that enters through it if you add simple accessories like manual or remote-controlled blinds. Tubular skylights, like Velux’s Sun Tunnel brand, can create a different effect by bringing diffused sunlight into spaces where you might not be able to put a traditional skylight, such as a first-floor master suite or a closet.
You can learn more about skylights at www.veluxusa.com. You can download a free app on the website for personal devices including iPhones, iPads, iPods and Androids that allow you to see how different skylights will look in your own home. Simply take pictures of your rooms and place skylights in the images until you’ve found the ones that work best for you.
The colors you use in your home decor will react differently under different natural lighting conditions. For example, reds will look vibrant and cheerful in a room that gets sun from a north-facing window. But those same colors might overpower the decor in a west-facing room. Settings with a southern exposure that brings in ample light can withstand a darker color palette that would make a north-facing room feel dark and dreary.
You can balance the changing sunlight of an eastern exposure with a mix of colors. And neutral colors will create a soothing effect in a west-facing room that captures the sun’s fading light in the late afternoon and early evening.
When choosing colors that will relate well to a room’s natural light, remember that the color will look different in your home than it does on the paint chip or in the home decor store. By keeping these rules of thumb in mind, you’ll be able to select color families that are most likely to work well with a room’s natural light.