July 1, 2021
As the long summer days stretch well into the evenings, there’s nothing better than being at home and taking full advantage of the extra daylight.
How we juggle natural light and artificial light makes a huge difference to the way the rooms of our homes are perceived. This article provides advice on how best to light your home during the summer and early autumn to make the most of the natural light available. The objective is to ensure that interior lighting sources complement and enhance the available natural light. Helping to smooth tired eyes and show off interior spaces to the best effect while also being functional.
Getting as much natural daylight into the home as possible is the main objective during the summer. And why not, it’s free and our eyes were designed to perceive the world around us by the sun’s light. Window treatments of summer house interiors such as blinds, curtains and reveals should be adapted to avoid glare, on the one hand, and capture as much as possible, on the other. As a general rule, the south and west-facing windows will need some adjustable shading, while the light from north and east-facing windows should be maximised. When the winter comes along, the reverse is true.
Just like stone, timber and cement, light is also a material that we construct our homes with, albeit in a different way. The different seasons require different approaches, both inside and outside the house.
Softer, more subtle lighting is the key to getting the most out of the home during the summer, while a more vibrant, stronger lighting helps compensate for the lack of natural light during the winter months.
Each room in the home is used slightly differently in summer than in the winter. We don’t tend to spend as much time in living rooms; bedrooms are more likely to be experienced with natural light; the kitchen and the garden become an extension of one another etc. Here below is a guide to the optimum ways to light the home during the summer, room by room.
Just like what we eat and the way we use the kitchen changes during the summer, the décor should also adapt to the season.
Views over a softly lit garden through large panoramic windows are ideal, but even a few window boxes or potted plants will do the trick of connecting inside and outside during the summer.
There will always be a need for two types of lighting in the typical kitchen; task lighting for preparing food, reading labels and recipes, and the ambient light for using the rest of the space.
Having a roof-light in the kitchen, located over an island worktop or a separate dining area, really comes into its own during the summer months. The pattern of light and shade changes during the evening to provide a natural sensation in sync with the day. Tip: If the architecture of your kitchen doesn’t allow for a roof light, the same effect can be achieved with ceiling lights.
There’s a love affair going on with retro-style filament fittings at the moment. They seem to be everywhere. Whether you are a fan or not, the concept of a decorative bulb or fitting with soft ambient lighting – designed as a feature over a breakfast bar or a kitchen dining table – makes sense. Especially so in the summer, when a softer light is preferable.
During the summer, there should be a greater flow between the different areas of the house. Avoid glare and contrasting intensities wherever possible, while moving from room to room or garden to patio.
Spending time in the living room during the hours of natural daylight and into the dusk requires a sensitive touch. Because window treatments tend to be different during the summer months, i.e. we don’t draw the curtains till much later, rule number one should be to avoid reflections of indoor light sources in windows. This is achieved by creating islands of soft lighting around the living room, ideally table lamps or low sources with the light directed downwards or upwards.
The colour of LED light occupies the cooler blue end of the spectrum, while incandescent bulbs have a warmer yellow colour. This makes LEDs better for summer lighting, together with their energy savings. Choose lights with dimmers as the same lamp can provide a very different effect depending on the intensity.
Anything that attenuates artificial light during the summer months is a plus. To make the most of table and floor lamps, use fabric shades that help soften the light. Use brightly coloured pastel colour or pattern fabrics to enhance the summer feel, whether the lights are on or off.
The summer is the only time of the year when most of us are aligned with our circadian rhythms, i.e. we rise at sunrise and go to sleep around sunset, or just after.
So artificial lighting in the bedroom should reflect this natural order of things. The following tips will help achieve a good night’s sleep over the summer months.
Sleep experts tell us that the blue light given off by mobile phones and other digital devices is not conducive to sleep. Best then to keep a kindle or a book to hand before dropping it off. Install adjustable overhead reading lights or standard lights sitting on the bedside table, either way, the light is localised and task-oriented. LEDs are the best option because of their cooler light, energy efficiency and versatility in terms of design.
If possible it’s best to avoid using the ceiling light during the summer months. Apart from killing the mood and casting a harsh light, there are other alternatives like floor lamps and scones to ease out of and into the day.
Because we spend more time outdoors during the summer lighting the garden should be approached in the same way as any other room in the house.
Instead of flooding the outdoors with an undifferentiated even level of lighting, the best approach is to consider the garden as the sum of its different parts.
Paths and driveways need to be highlighted for practical reasons, but this can also be an opportunity to introduce a decorative feature. The number of sculptural lighting products on the market nowadays is dizzying. Choose a style of fitting that matches the aesthetic of the house, i.e. a lantern for an Arts & Crafts or a cutting edge fitting for a contemporary style house.
Summer house wall lights or sconces can convert the garden terrace into an alfresco dining space over long summer evenings, ideal for barbeques and get-togethers. The indirect light washing over walls is comfortable to the eye and provides the perfect complement to a moody sunset, followed by dusk.
Illuminating an entrance is simply practical and evokes a sense of welcome at any time of year. During the summer months, an up-light concealed within some planting will ensure a dappled and appealing light that, as well as signalling the front entrance, will be decorative and warm.
Lamps & lighting solutions
At PORCELANOSA we offer you a wide range of lighting solutions for your home, including pendant lights, ceiling lights, under-cabinet lighting, as well as LED panels. Discover our lamps and lighting solutions in our Living collection catalogue.