The Importance of Light Control in Your Home
There are several rooms where the importance of light control is a given - primarily the bedroom - but the truth is that light control should be a consideration in every room.
“Light is critical for our health and wellbeing,” says Dr. Victoria Revell, a chronobiologist at the University of Surrey. “Ensuring that we receive adequate light levels at the appropriate time of day benefits our alertness, mood, productivity, sleep patterns, and many aspects of our physiology.” However, there are times when too much light – or even any light at all – can be a bad thing. This is why light control is such an important consideration when purchasing window treatments.
There are several rooms where the importance of light control is a given – primarily the bedroom – but the truth is that light control should be a consideration in every room.
Light Control in Your Bedroom
Let’s start with the most obvious, the bedroom. Natural light influences our circadian system, which regulates our patterns of alertness and sleepiness. Without regular exposure to light, a person’s sleep–wake cycle can vary by as many as two hours per day. In layman’s terms, natural light exposure is important during the day to keep our bodies in sync. At night, however, “your body needs to sleep in near total darkness for optimum health,” writes author Jennifer Barrett in her article “Sleep Oasis.”
According to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), and you should “consider using Blackout [Shades], eye shades.” These window treatments “can be very helpful for blocking evening light during the summer, streetlights, as well as morning rays (especially handy if you have an early riser),” says the NSF. Outside mounts are recommended for blackout shades to give you that “cave” effect. Otherwise, there will be light gaps on the left and right sides of the shades.
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Light Control in Your Nursery
Like your bedroom, light control is incredibly important in the nursery. According to NSF, children require anywhere from eight to 13 hours of sleep, depending on their age.
- Preschoolers (3 – 5 years old): 10 to 13 hours
- School-aged Children (6 – 13 years old): 9 to 11 hours
- Teenagers (14 – 17 years old): 8 to 10 hours
Again, room darkening shades are best. Not only can these window treatments block unwanted light at night, but they “can also be useful to darken the room for daytime naps.” However, window treatments in the nursery also have another important requirement other than light control – safety. The Window Covering Safety Council (WCSC), the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), and government safety officials recommend that you only use cordless window products in your child’s bedroom.
We recommend Top Down/Bottom Up Room Darkening Honeycomb Shades. These window treatments are cordless, which is ideal for safety, and lined with Mylar® to block nearly all exterior light. Plus, the added functionality of the duofold shade, also known as a Top Down/Bottom Up shade, allows you to let in natural light when you want without sacrificing privacy. It’s the “ultimate in flexibility,” says Amanda Lecky, HGTV.
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Light Control in Your Living Room and Kitchen
“More public living spaces, like living rooms and kitchens, are ideal for allowing filtered daylight to penetrate,” writes Karen Egly-Thompson, Houzz contributor and former interior designer.
Kitchen: “Whether you are fortunate to have a large sprawling kitchen that has plenty of options for lighting, or your kitchen seems too dark to feel comfortable, you may want to consider letting in some natural light,” writes Ronique Gibson, Decoist. We recommend Faux Wood Blinds. Made from 100 percent vinyl, these window treatments are made to stand up to the harshest environments. “Being such a high traffic area, it’s important to have quality window treatments in the kitchen…that will add style while simultaneously withstanding all of the messes,” writes Katie Christopher, Houzz.
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Living Room: “In my view, no space without natural light is worthy of human occupation,” says interior designer John Saladino. Your living room needs to be stylish and inviting. And the right window treatments can help you accomplish just that. We recommend Wood Blinds, which remain one of the most popular choices for living rooms because of their traditional look, aesthetic appeal, and light control. Wood blinds “add a feeling of warmth and coziness to the atmosphere in the room” and “give a natural look to the room with a graceful charm,” says Jimmy Sturo, Ezine Articles.
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Light Control in Your Home Office
“There are certain factors that everyone knows affect workplace productivity,” says Andrew Jensen, a business growth, efficiency and marketing consultant – location, aesthetics, size and space, and privacy, just to name a few. “But there is one important factor often overlooked by most employers across the globe: lighting.”
Artificial fluorescent lighting can make it difficult for the eyes to focus, causing eye strain and even migraine headaches. Natural light, on the other hand, has its own problems. While it beautifully illuminates and warms a room, it can also cause debilitating glare on computer screens – a big problem.
For the office, we recommend Solar Shades. They reduce debilitating glare on computer screens, yet “let the good light through,” says interior designer Rebekah Zaveloff. The key is the fabric opacity. These window treatments are “available in varying degrees of ‘open-ness,’” explains interior designer Mike Strutt. The Openness Factor is expressed as a percentage (ranging from 1% to 10%), and indicates the quantity of light that the shade will let in.
Workplaces with good light exposure saw as much as a 40 percent increase in productivity as well as a marked decrease in error rate, according to statistics from Eco-Business. Workers in such offices also saw a 15 percent increase in creativity.
“These findings put scientific rigour behind our intuitive desire for daylight,” write Ash Buchanan, the director of sustainable design and well being at Cohere, and Juliana Sayago, a communication designer completing a Master of Environment at The University of Melbourne. “The business case is clear: daylight promotes human health and potential.”