As much as some good task lighting and a ceiling full of recessed cans will make a room come alive, there’s nothing like airy, natural light. You can change your home’s color, its style, and even its structure, but when it comes to the amount of sun you get, you can rarely change much. How much natural light you home receives depends on so many different factors both in and outside of your house – the direction your home faces, the topography and structures around, the number of windows you have – these can be costly or just impossible to fix.
So, when you’re on the market for a new house, be sure to consider the lighting potential of any dwelling – lest you end up with a dungeon, or an oven.
Here are some questions to keep in mind when scoping out a new property:
1. Which way does the house face?
Normally, south-facing homes get sun at the front of the house, and for most of the day. They tend to be brighter and warmer. A house that faces north gets light at the back and is cooler and darker. This may be especially important to note depending on your climate. When it’s cool most of the year, you may want a house that’s naturally a little warmer, if it’s warm for most of the year, you may prefer a house that doesn’t make you cook.
Also be sure to take a look around your property and note what could potentially affect your light. Does your house face an open field, or another row of houses? Are you at the base of a hill that will cast a shadow for most of the day, or at the top, almost always exposed to sunlight? These factors will influence the brightness in your home, and also the temperature.
2. How and when will you use the rooms?
If you’re buying a house with east-facing bedrooms, you’d better like getting up with the sun…or just be a really heavy sleeper. Consider how you plan to use each room – eating, sleeping, bathing, working, lounging – and when you normally do these activities. Then, decide what kind of lighting would be best in each room. Perhaps you’d like to take an invigorating shower in the bright morning sun, or if you eat dinner right when the sun sets, you probably don’t want in reflecting in your eyes.
While you might not be able to find a house that gets the perfect amount of natural light in each room, if you know what you’re getting into, you’ll be able to enjoy the rooms that do, and modify the rooms that don’t.
3. What are the windows like?
Once your house is built, it can be costly and time-consuming to add or remove windows. So, before taking the plunge and becoming a home owner, make sure to consider the size, shape, and placement of your windows, and what that means for the home’s natural light levels.
Are there large trees close to the house blocking out the light? Will a close-by lake reflect directly into your windows? Are the windows crazy tiny or just too big? Be sure to consider modifications – window coverings you’ll have to buy, foliage you’ll have to trim – and whether or not they would make a difference.
Did you consider light when you bought your home? What questions do you wish you had asked when you had the chance?