The benefits of incorporating natural light into your kitchen

There are several benefits to incorporating natural light into your kitchen. If you don’t know what the term ‘natural light’ means, it’s light that derives from a natural source like the sun, a candle, or even a nicely lit fireplace. For this article, we will be focusing on natural light provided by the sun throughout the day.

So, how does natural light get into your kitchen? Well, the most obvious way is through your windows. However, many homes these days are being built with specific architectural designs to let more sunlight in. Some of these architectural designs include:

  • Light Shelves: These are horizontal-shaped shelves that have a window built into the back of them. These shelves usually sit up high on the wall and are designed to distribute natural light more evenly through out the room.
  • Sun tunnels: Sun tunnels are circle-shaped holes in the ceiling made to let the natural light shine in while decreasing the glare and the uneven light patterns at the same time. Sun tunnels also help minimize solar heat gain. These architectural designs are unique and quite useful.
  • Skylights: Skylights are basically windows on the ceiling. They’re a fantastic way to incorporate natural light into your kitchen. Skylights distribute light evenly throughout your room for a very balanced look.  

open concept kitchen with skylights

  • Glass doors: Glass doors are a stylish way to integrate natural light into your kitchen. If glass doors aren’t your thing, you can also incorporate French doors too.
  • Clerestory Windows: Clerestory windows are typically located on the upper portion of a wall that’s well above a person’s eye level. These are the kind of windows that you sometimes see in churches. These windows allow natural light to flow freely into your home without the homeowner having to give up their privacy.

These are just a few of the most common architectural designs that promote the use of natural lighting. Now that you know how natural light enters your kitchen and the rest of your home, it’s time to discuss what the benefits of doing this are.

Aesthetically Pleasing

One of the main reasons why homeowners incorporate natural lighting into their kitchen is to add that look of elegance and highlight all the important features in the room. These features can include things like the natural stone countertops, custom crafted cabinets, and even hardwood floors. Natural lighting will really take the design of your kitchen to the next level. In addition to this, natural lighting can also make the size of your kitchen look much larger than what it really is, especially when it comes to kitchens that have large windows that overlook a grassy field or another scenic view.

Productivity and Mood

Integrating natural lighting into your kitchen does has a positive influence on your mood and your ability to get stuff done. In fact, recently studies show that incorporating sufficient amounts of natural lighting into your home helps boost productively and heightens your overall mood. Now, how great is that? This is wonderful news, especially for anybody who suffers from seasonal affective disorder (S.A.D.). By simply letting in more sunlight, you’ll be happier, healthier, and much more productive each day.

Circadian Rhythms

If you don’t know what a circadian rhythm is, it’s a person’s sleep-wake cycles. The more time we spend indoors, the more messed up our circadian rhythms become. Artificial lighting also affects our body’s ability to produce the chemical melatonin. This chemical has a major influence in the quality of sleep we get. This is why incorporating more natural lighting into your kitchen is important to your health and your overall wellbeing, especially for people who live in geographical areas that experience long, bitter winters.

Save on Electricity

One of the most common reasons homeowners incorporate natural lighting into their kitchens is to help save on electricity. By minimizing the amount of energy your household uses each month, you’ll more than likely see your monthly electricity bills decrease. Now, who doesn’t want to save more money? However, to really save, there are a few guidelines you should follow when it comes to the proper placement of your kitchen windows and glass doors. For example:

  • South-facing windows and glass doors are better for people who live in geographical areas that experience both hot and cold temperatures. By inserting windows on the south portion of your house, most of the sunlight during the winter will shine in, but during the summer, the sun won’t shine directly in and add heat to your home.
  • North-facing windows are the best choice for any homeowner who wants to minimize unwanted solar heat gain throughout the summer. North-facing windows are also a good way to let in light that’s evenly spread out and produces little or no glare at all.
  • East-facing windows are the worse choice of the three when it comes to lighting your home naturally. Why? The only time they let in natural light is either in the morning or the night, and they help contribute to the solar heat in your home during the warmer months.  

Mold and Mildew

Homes that incorporate natural lighting tend to have less of a mold and mildew issue than homes that rely strictly on artificial lighting. Why is that? Mold and mildew like to grow in low-light environments. In addition to this, the rays from the sun can minimize the chances of mold and mildew growing or spreading even further. This in return makes for a healthier environment for your family to live in.

Vitamin D

The human body needs vitamin D, and if you don’t get enough, you can face certain health concerns. If you don’t already know, vitamin D is a vitamin we get from being exposed to sunlight. If you can’t get enough sunlight, you can always take a vitamin D supplement, or you can just integrate more natural lighting into your kitchen. Getting enough vitamin D is extremely important for people who live in geographical areas of the globe that experience long, cold, bitter winters.

Boost the value of your property

beautiful modern kitchen with white cabinets and plenty of natural lighting

Inserting new windows, glass doors, and other designs that allow natural light to flow freely can actually increase the overall value of your home by quite a lot. This is especially true for homes with large picture windows overlooking a scenic view. These features on a home can potentially raise the value of your home by several thousands of dollars. If you every decide that you want to put your home on the market, you just might make more than you originally paid for it.

Things to consider before you incorporate natural lighting into your kitchen  

Although natural lighting is very beneficial, there are a few things you should consider. First, by inserting more windows or a glass door into your kitchen, you’re giving up some of your privacy. It’s easier for people to see inside of your home. It’s important to note that skylights, sun tunnels, light shelves, and clerestory windows will not compromise your privacy.

Another thing you’ll want to consider is that when you use natural lighting during the summer, the sun beaming in will warm your home and possibly make your air conditioning system work harder than it already is. The same can happen in the winter time but with your heating system. This is why the placement of the windows in your kitchen and the rest of your home is so important.

Lastly, incorporating natural lighting into your kitchen takes a lot of planning, and the whole project can end up being quite expensive. The planning process involves the proper placement of all your windows, skylights, sun tunnels, and clerestory windows for maximum effectiveness and choosing the right design for the overall look of your home.

Maximize the natural light coming into your kitchen

Once you have began utilizing natural lighting in your home, there are a few things you can do to maximize that sunlight.

  • Make sure you move all furniture from in front of your windows. Furniture that is positioned in front of a window will block the sunlight coming in.
  • Paint your interior window frames white to help increase the reflection of the natural light.
  • Use mirrors in your kitchen to reflect the natural light in the direction you want.
  • Avoid using heavy or dark drapes over the windows. These drapes will keep the sunlight from shining into your home.
  • Use a cleaning solution and a clean cloth to keep your windows clean. A clean window will allow more natural light into your home than a dirty one will.

A Final Thought  

Incorporating natural lighting into your kitchen is extremely beneficial. Natural lighting can increase the overall appearance of the room, help you become more productive, heighten your mood, keep your household healthier, minimize mold and mildew, and even decrease your electricity bills. However, it’s important to remember than when you start inserting more windows and glass doors into your kitchen in addition to the rest of your home, you’re giving up some of your privacy. If this is an issue for you, then choosing skylights, sun tunnels, light shelves, and clerestory windows may be the better choice. Finally, use the tips listed above to maximize your natural lighting, so you’ll get the most out of it.

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