Managing The Day/Night Lighting Cycle

Take care, when designing your lighting system, not to ignore the brightest light in your home: the sun. Sunlight, if managed properly can serve as an important element in your lighting solution.

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Morning Sun

East-facing windows provide morning light, sometimes earlier than we might like. Start by looking at what it illuminates, and, more importantly, what it does not. Whether you allow sunlight to strike a light-colored surface or diffuse it with a semi-opaque window treatment, your usable light will be concentrated around the window. Bleary, morning eyes adjust to the level of glow at the window and expect similar light levels throughout the living space. Consider light sources that strike light-colored walls or ceilings in areas shadowed from morning sun. This type of indirect light creates a natural blend for a comfortable, early morning mood.

Evening Sun

As with morning sun, map out the areas of your home with natural light in the evenings. Note, however, that our schedules often have us awake long past sunset. As darkness falls, your nighttime lighting design will come to dominate. Here, unlike morning, transition is key. Again, fixtures that allow direct light to strike surfaces in sun-shadow will ease the visual transition. A brightly lit room will always fade well, but with softer modes, often favored in the evening, take care not to create imbalanced light levels by relying solely on ambient light for sun-shadowed areas.

Southern Exposure

South-facing windows add light throughout the day. With a fully translucent window treatment, that light will sweep across the room, and will reach farther during the winter months. With the sun high and bright, some rooms will only need supplemental or task-oriented lighting through these hours. As always, build systems you can set to high or low levels, which help you manage ambient brightness when moving between sunlit and non-sunlit rooms.

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