Natural light is healthy and necessary for us to be at our best. It helps to ensure that we get enough Vitamin D and has numerous other benefits, including boosting our immune system, strengthening our bones and helping to maintain a natural and effective sleep cycle.
However, there are times when you want to reduce or control the level of light getting into your home, particularly in the summer, when the glare of the sun can make some rooms uncomfortable to spend time in. Fortunately, human ingenuity has developed numerous ways in which we can control the level of light that we are exposed to in order to ensure a comfortable home environment.
Curtains and drapes
The old-fashioned solution is, of course, to hang curtains and drapes up over our windows. One of the advantages of this method is that there is a huge variety of curtain styles and materials available, which makes it possible for the creative homeowner to express themselves in their décor. There are disadvantages, however, with this method of lighting control. While it is possible to half-open curtains to let some light in, they don’t offer a precise way to tailor the lighting environment in your home. They are also prone to becoming dirty, to attracting dust and to absorbing odors, meaning that they need to be taken down, washed, cleaned and replaced on a regular basis.
One popular solution is the use of blinds. While blinds can’t offer the same aesthetic appeal as curtains, these days they are available in a variety of styles and materials, and advances in blind technology means that they are also fairly easy for most homeowners to fit.
The big advantage of blinds is that they offer a greater degree of precision than curtains when it comes to managing the light levels in your home. With blinds, you can make fine adjustments to set the level of light just right, and some blinds are even available with remote control technology, so you don’t even have to go to the window to adjust the settings.
While blinds need cleaning, this process is relatively straightforward and less of a project than cleaning curtains or drapes. They also attract less dust than curtains, which is important, particularly if you are concerned about dust mite allergies: a relatively common complaint.
Shutters for light control
External shutters are a common feature on European homes, and in those parts of the US that are prone to extreme heat, such as Florida, Texas and Arizona. In some areas of coastal Florida, many homes even have specially designed hurricane-protection shutters to protect windows from debris.
For the rest of the country, shutters are more likely to be decorative than practical, but this overlooks the advantages that shutters can bring. Modern design makes it possible to fit your home with a wide variety of shutter solutions, from traditional style external shutters to shutters for bay windows and rolling shutters. Shutters can not only enhance the appearance of your home, they are also a neat solution to the problem of light regulation, as they are often designed to fit neatly into the window frame or, in the case of rolling shutters, to be almost invisible when not in use.
As well as enabling you to control light levels, shutters also offer other benefits. They can keep your home cool on bright summer days, trap heat inside during the cold winter, provide a degree of privacy that other methods don’t offer, and even act as a second layer of security on your windows.
Smart lighting solutions
Modern technology also has a solution to the problem of domestic lighting control. There is a range of intelligent light-adjustment devices and products, from light-enhancing paint to light-sensitive digital programmable control systems that operate all internal light fittings, blinds and shutters, ensuring that the light in your home is always at an optimum level, according to your particular needs.
While getting enough sunlight is vital to our wellbeing, there are also times when we want to be able to regulate the amount of light that enters our home. There are many methods available to achieve this, from traditional curtains to the latest in advanced digital technology, so for US homeowners who want to take control of the light levels in their home, the options are plentiful, whether your priority is aesthetic appeal and comfort or precision and convenience.