Updated: Mar 14
"Daylighting" is a term you don't see on interior design TV shows or blogs very often — even though it plays a major part in the aesthetics of every room. When used to its full potential, daylighting brings out the best in your design features and lets them shine in natural light.
In practice, daylighting is the use of windows, mirrors and other reflective surfaces to capture and move natural light in and around living spaces. Daylighting systems capture 3 different forms of natural light:
Direct sunlight: Unobstructed, high-intensity sunlight that constantly moves throughout the day. In sunny climates, direct sunlight can exceed 100,000 lux.
Skylight: Sunlight scattered by the atmosphere and clouds resulting in a soft, diffused light. Overcast skies can produce anywhere from 10,000 to 30,000 lux depending on the season.
Reflected light: Sunlight and skylight reflecting off the surrounding landscape, including the ground, trees and surrounding buildings. The reflective properties of the surrounding surfaces determines the amount of reflected light available.
Daylighting systems can range from windows, shades and reflective surfaces to distribute the light, to skylights and sun tunnels that add or redirect sunlight to window-less areas. When designed for the layout of the space and the amount (and type) of natural light available, a sufficient daylighting system can provide all 4 types of light we rely on during the day.
Task lighting focuses light to task-oriented spaces like offices, kitchens, bathrooms and playrooms.
Accent lighting highlights design features including artwork, floors, accent walls and architectural elements.
Ambient lighting provides general lighting in hallways, bedrooms, living rooms and dining areas.
Natural lighting mimics direct sunlight from above to create a more open and inviting feeling to indoor living spaces while providing enough light for everyday tasks.
Considering Light In Your Interior Design
When considering lighting options, think about how you use each room and how the lighting needs change throughout the day. When placed on north or south facing roofs, skylights and sun tunnels provide optimal, day-long natural light from above, filling in corners and making spaces feel bigger. Use natural light from above to create an open, cheery feeling that doesn’t take any electricity to achieve.
When the sun goes down, consider electrical lighting that will create the mood that fits your style. Bedrooms benefit from natural light from above during the day, and a combination of lamps and overhead lighting at night. For a cozy feeling in the living room, consider floor lamps with energy efficient bulbs in warmer light tones. In the kitchen, office and other workspaces, try bulbs that replicate natural light to make tasks easy on the eyes for better focus.
Daylight design is an essential element in creating spaces that are functional and aesthetically pleasing. Take time to come up with some bright ideas for your home to make the most of your creative style and let your living spaces shine.
Colorado Home Cooling & Daylighting is Colorado's top-rated VELUX Sun Tunnel Skylights specialist. Contact us about your home daylighting system today!