There’s nothing like natural light. It’s environmentally friendly, kind to electrical bills, pleasant in character and — even during the darkest days of Pacific Northwest winters — in abundant supply (at least for part of the day).
Whatcom County homeowners looking for a boost to the character and feel of their homes have plenty of options for increasing the amount of warm, natural light they can enjoy indoors.
Windows: Windows should always be a homeowner’s first choice for introducing natural light. Not only do they brighten up a room, but they also visually open up the space and extend the home into the outdoors. Plus, they’re fairly easy to install. Hudson Remodeling’s Bellingham construction crews recently installed a full two-story wall of windows in one Bellingham home, opening up grand vistas of the Puget Sound and flooding the home with gorgeous light, dawn to dusk.
Solar tubes: Solar tubes are incredible. They look and feel like recessed lighting, and they can be so bright they’ll leave you fumbling for the switch as you leave the room. Solar tubes work by taking the sunlight from outside and channeling in through a reflective tube and then diffusing that light throughout the room. Solar tubes are brilliant and cost-effective ways to introduce additional light into a space, often costing as little as one-half or even one-fourth as much as skylights. Consider them for windowless bathrooms, that dark corner of the kitchen or in other spaces without adequate window lighting. Solar tubes produce the equivalent of three to ten (or more) 100-watt incandescent light bulbs, depending on size — all without requiring any electricity whatsoever.
Skylights: In essence, skylights are windows placed into the roof. They are especially nice when there’s not a lot of attic space to contend with during insulation, but they can be installed through any height of attic. However, they’ll lose some light to absorption within the skylight well, and they don’t take advantage of diffusion systems (like solar tubes do) to spread the light around the room. Skylights can serve to raise room temperature, so you might consider whether that would be welcomed (or appreciated!).
Window wells: In basement living spaces, windows should be close to the floor and large enough to provide egress in the event of an emergency. These larger windows also provide the benefit of additional daylight into underground spaces. If your home in Bellingham, Ferndale or Lynden was built with a basement, consider the benefits of enlarging underground windows.
Additional possibilities: While you’re mulling over the above home remodeling options to increase your Whatcom County home’s natural light, you also might consider a few additional options for a sunlight boost:
- Add more mirrors or other shiny objects, especially in places where they can reflect window light.
- Replace an exterior door with one that contains a window — a full-panel window would work great, but even a small half-circle at eye height would add important natural light.
- Replace opaque window treatments with sheer curtains that maintain privacy while also allowing natural light to filter into the home, even when closed.
- Use lighter paint colors on walls and ceilings. You might even consider a high-gloss paint on your ceiling to boost the reflection potential. Consider swapping out your flooring, too, for a lighter, more reflective option. Changing from carpet to a light-colored wood, for example, can make a big difference.
- In lieu of windows, consider using glass blocks in exterior walls. Remember that they are not load bearing, though, so contact a good home remodeling contractor to install them.
- Consider opening up your indoor space, removing walls and doors or using translucent instead of opaque dividers.
- Cut back and/or move any exterior plants that might be keeping sunlight from entering the home.
- Clean your windows! Have you ever noticed how much better you can see in your car after getting it washed? Your home windows are no different. A good cleaning can make a noticeable difference.
When you’re ready for your beautiful new windows, doors, skylights or solar tubes, please reach out to Hudson Remodeling. Our Bellingham construction crew works throughout Whatcom County to improve the character and livability of our clients’ homes, taking advantage of all of the beautiful natural light that the Pacific Northwest has to offer.