If this dull weather has you dreaming of sunnier climes, perhaps you should think about bringing more light into your home before booking flights abroad. Believe it or not, the UK averages 1493 hours of sunshine each year, with particularly sunny spots including Eastbourne and Newquay in the South East.
You don’t need to live on the coast to encourage more natural light in your home, as any viewer of shows like Grand Designs will know. With many homeowners seeking to reduce energy bills and make the most of their surroundings, architects are increasingly incorporating light as a striking feature in the most admired homes. So, how do you go about making more of every drop of sun, golden or otherwise? With a little help from above, the side and of course, down below.
From above: Skylights
A Skylight is probably one of the first design features you imagine when you consider ways to let more light into your home and you may be surprised to find the most simple designs are not as expensive as you might think. They are most simply installed in loft rooms or other rooms that reside directly below a roof. All allowing a better view of the stars at night and potentially from roof lantern or pyramid skylights that sit above the parapet through to electronic powered opening skylights that are fitted with rain sensors, all can help to channel a little more light into your home and won’t necessarily need planning permission. You will need to choose your skylight materials carefully though, as while it’s nice to enjoy some natural warmth from the sun, you won’t want to feel as though you’re living in your own private greenhouse.
From the side: Bi-fold Doors
There’s been a bit of a bi-fold revolution in Britain in recent years. Particularly popular in kitchens or dining rooms that back directly onto the garden, it’s now possible to replace entire walls with floor to ceiling glass doors that allow light to spill in from the side. Of course, your home’s location may dictate that you don’t want to fit wrap-around bi-folds but as this pad – thought to be the most expensive home on sale in the US shows, glass walls are becoming a key component in the most luxurious of properties. Why? Because for many, our working lives now dictate working indoors for long hour, which makes good views and great light among the most precious commodities around. If you don’t quite have the budget to buy your own LA based super house complete with bi-fold walls, Vufold is a UK bi-fold stockist that manufactures here in the UK too.
From below: Glass Floors
Okay, so having a floor made of glass is not necessarily the most practical option and fitting tends to be fairly expensive too. That said, if you do have other light enhancing features incorporated into your house design, glass floors can really ensure light permeates your home. Installing central strips of glass flooring will help light flow between floors and, you can use sandblasted glass in areas where you require privacy but still want light to diffuse This means you won’t need to gaze down at someone making toast in the kitchen below while you put on your dressing gown and slippers in the room above. Corridors are great spots for glass floor installations as they can help you feel surrounded by light. Creating floor ‘windows’ into basements that could otherwise feel dark and dingy and can also make a feature of what lies below. Of course, you’re unlikely to want to invoke this glass-bottomed boat feel if your basement is where you do all your washing and store your lawn mower but for those lucky owners of basement wine cellars, glass floors can look very chic indeed.
A home with multiple glass features is not for everyone as fitting glazing throughout the home does have a distinctly modern feel. But, if you’d like to make a little more of your surroundings by taking in the views around you, or reduce your reliance on your energy suppliers or enhance your mood with one of mother nature’s best medicines, engineering your home so that it allows light to seep in from above, below or indeed, all around you, is a good way to go!