There’s a reason there are so many sayings about the concept of “home”: Your home is a special place. It should be your sanctuary, where you feel happiest and safest.

Creating that happy place doesn’t happen by accident though. It takes an understanding of how a home’s design affects our emotional state and how to maximize the positive effects. Neuroscientists and psychologists have joined forces with architects and interior designers in concluding that certain aesthetic qualities increase a sense of emotional wellbeing. One of the most influential qualities? The incorporation of natural light.

Let the sun shine in

Natural light exposure can influence how we feel at home, both consciously and subconsciously. And it’s easy to create a brighter, happier home. You can increase natural light in your home by:

  • Adding windows facing east to let in the sun shine without letting in too much heat. Strategically positioning west-facing windows under eaves or with trees partially shading them can also provide a nice sunset view without sending the temperature inside your home skyrocketing.
  • Looking at your window treatments and removing any heavy drapery. Shutters or blinds can help control the natural light without blocking it.
  • Using the natural tone of wood or light colors to help light reflect into darker spaces. Mirrors or metallic surfaces are also great at bouncing light around.
  • Removing or rearranging furniture that blocks windows. Smaller pieces can be positioned near windows.
  • When remodeling, add pocket or double doors between rooms to allow for privacy and an acoustic barrier when necessary but facilitate unfettered air flow and light when not.
  • Replacing internal walls with windows to allow borrowing of light. Today’s glazing practices create sturdy, translucent surfaces that open up a home.

Sleep better, feel better

The advantages of building designs that maximize natural light are well known. Sunlight from the east has been proven to positively impact your body’s internal clock, also known as circadian rhythm. Natural light exposure offers many physiological benefit, including helping you sleep longer and enjoy better quality sleep.

Letting the outside into your home through natural light and exposure to the outdoors creates a brighter home and a happier you.