Thursday, January 3, 2019

The Home-buyer's Guide to Natural Lighting

Are the 3 L's of real estate changing? When looking for a new home, there are many factors to consider. Location is likely the first item on your list. It could be in the second and third position as well. Is the neighborhood safe? How far will you need to commute? What are the schools like? Then there's the age of the house, number of bedrooms, the layout, and the size of the kitchen. With all the considerations, you may not realize you are overlooking an important feature: lighting, lighting, lighting.

How Important Is Natural Light?

Natural light offers many lasting benefits for you and your family. This guide will provide valuable information about natural lighting and its role in the home-buying process. Let's begin with the basics.

What Is The Difference Between Natural and Artificial Light?

While no one decries the invention of electricity and the ability to see in the dark, manufactured light differs from natural light in wavelength and color. You may have learned the colors of the rainbow as a child: red, orange, yellow, blue, green, indigo, and violet. These are the colors of light, and nature has placed them in the sun in a particular order and intensity that changes as the sun moves through the sky (from our vantage point).

In an attempt to replicate solar light, man has invented fluorescent, incandescent, and LED light sources. These bulbs successfully create the illuminating factor of the sun but without duplicating the full spectrum and variations of intensity and wavelength. The bright side is that humans can now function in the evenings with enough light to do almost any activity under the sun. The downside is that artificial light may have adverse effects on sleep cycles, mood, and productivity.

No one is going to suggest throwing out your light fixtures, but you can benefit from natural light by allowing more of it into your home. If you are looking for a new home, you may want to add natural light to your checklist of necessities.

Why Is Sunlight Important for a House?

According to studies, natural sunlight influences more than what our eyes behold. The illuminating effects of the sun shining its light into a room can have an impact on the emotions, behaviors, and productivity of those inside.

You've probably experienced this firsthand without translating it into thought. You walk into a bright room and suddenly feel refreshed and invigorated. It just "feels" right. A dark room can have the opposite effect. You walk in and suddenly feel a heavy weight fall upon you.

There is science behind this phenomenon, and the range of benefits reach farther than feelings.

Seven Benefits of Natural Lighting in Your Home

Consider these seven reasons why you should place natural lighting on your home-buying checklist.
  1. Hold property value. Many people desire natural lighting in their homes. If you purchase a home with more sunshine, the house may be more marketable in the future, commanding a higher price when you decide to sell.
  2. Save on utilities. More light harnessed from the sun means lower lighting costs. Studies estimate that lighting your home costs about $200 a year on average. Turn to natural light, and you could put that money toward a new window.
  3. Improve sleep. The National Institute of Health (NIH) reports a direct correlation between indoor natural sunlight and better sleep. In one study, those with more indoor sunlight exposure experienced longer sleep duration and better sleep quality compared to those with less light exposure.
  4. Be more productive. The same study showed that people exposed to natural light were also more productive throughout the day.
  5. Improve vision. Research has shown that LED, fluorescent, and incandescent light bulbs operate on different wavelengths than what is considered ideal for human eye health. Extra natural light in your home could be a sight for sore eyes.
  6. Fight depression. Sunlight has the power to release the neurotransmitter serotonin. According to studies by the NIH, sunlight can increase cognition in depressed persons. However, you don't need a government study to know that sunshine on your shoulder makes you happy.  Allowing more natural light into your living space can boost your mood and fight off those seasonal blues.
  7. Enjoy the view. More light means more opportunities to see the landscaping, trees, mountains, lakes, or other natural features of the area. When you invest in a home, you are investing in the surroundings too. Get the most out of your view with more glass.

Every Buyer Can Benefit from Natural Lightning

Wherever you are in your home-buying experience, natural light is worth factoring into your buying decision. Where are you in your journey?

First Time: If you are a first-time home-buyer, you are eager to find the right house at the right price. You may be tempted to sacrifice a little light to keep your mortgage payments down. While staying within budget is essential, so is the future value of your home.

Upgrading: When you are at the stage in life where you are ready to move to a larger house (or downsize), it is the perfect time to find a home with natural lighting. You may find yourself more productive, sleeping better, and happier.

Second Home: Your second home or vacation retreat is a place for you to get away and relax. The right balance of natural lighting is vital to make it the sanctuary that you desire with plenty of outdoor views.

Rental: If you are considering investing in rental property, natural lighting is just as important to a quality renter as it is to a homebuyer. Seek for the light, and you may find a better tenant.

How to Increase Natural Light in Your House

If you have found the perfect home or are preparing to sell your house, here are some helpful tips to bring more of the outside light indoors (or brighten up a darker house).

Remodel: The most obvious way to increase the natural light in a house is to include more transparent openings. Installing new windows or a skylight, including a transom or sidelight window near the door, or adding exterior sliding glass or French doors can increase the ambiance in any home. While these options may incur costs, a more affordable option is to switch out the exterior doors with those with more glass.

Re-treat: The curtains and other window treatments in your home can have a powerful effect on the light in a room. Remove light-blocking curtains and replace them with something airy and sheer.  If you want to brighten up your space dramatically, remove all curtains and drapery to bring in the full spectrum. Another option is to meet in the middle and install café or half curtains that provide peek-a-boo light with a little privacy. Shutters and blinds are another practical option, allowing you to control how much light you let into your space at any given time.

Reflect: According to interior designer Ashley Whittaker, “Adding a mirror is like adding a window to a room. It brings in light and creates more depth.” Not only does it expand space and increase light, but it also improves the overall aesthetic interest in a room, she says. Reflection is a creative and affordable tool to enhance the luminescence in any space that you want to brighten up.

Re-create: If there is no other way to bring the sun into your home, but you are desperate for some of the benefits, you can install a full spectrum fixture or bulb in any room. Though the frequency will not be identical to the light from outdoors, it will be close, allowing you to enjoy a bit of brighter side.

Words of Caution on Lighting

Natural lighting does come with a few disadvantages. Here are a few words of warning to balance the benefits.

First, natural light can impinge on your privacy. If you can see out, others may be able to peer inside your home. Make sure that you factor safety into your decision-making process.

Second, direct sunlight through your windows can discolor and compromise your furniture, rugs, carpets, and clothing over time. Light colored carpets and upholstery can hold up to the task better than bright or dark colors. Check the orientation of the house in relationship to the sun, and view the house at different times during the day to see where the light shines in.

Third, if you don't like the view outside your house, natural light may exacerbate the problem. The Cunningham Team believes that your home is an extension of your environment. Buying the right home is not just about the house, it's also about your surroundings. We want you to enjoy every part of your new residence inside and out.

If you are looking for a home in the Greenville, South Carolina, area, we will do everything to help you find the perfect one, natural lighting and all.

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