It’s most often the things we’re surrounded by on a day-to-day basis which we take for granted. Some things we’re so familiar with, it’s not until they suddenly change that we take notice. Natural light is something we experience every single day, only noticing a lack of it as winter draws in and as we celebrate the return of longer days in the spring.
We don’t tend to question the things we can’t control; we become used to them without realising the potential effects on our bodies and mind. But how does natural light, or a lack of it, affect us on an average day? And how can we make the most of the benefits within our working environments?
The human body follows a 24hr cycle known as the circadian rhythm; this internal body clock affects physical, mental and behavioural changes throughout the day. Whilst these are regulated internally, our exposure to natural light is one of the primary factors keeping our circadian rhythms in check. Sleep patterns, metabolism, heart rate, blood pressure and hormone levels are all connected to these rhythms.
From an interior design perspective, the interplay of light and shadow creates ambience, enhances colours and textures and can give a space uplifting energy. Natural light is also strongly connected to mental well-being, boosting the feel-good hormone serotonin. Not only does serotonin stabilize our mood, but it also helps to heal wounds, soothe nausea, and maintain bone health.
Try Slatted Styles
In modern-day open-plan workplaces, it’s common to see spaces divided into smaller zones; these dividers can prevent daylight from reaching the innermost areas. If you need to use tall products to break up a room opt for those with less opaque properties, products such as Bodyn and Calvert feature slatted elements which allow light to filter through whilst creating a visual buffer between areas.
Slats also add depth to the lighting within a space. Place them near a sunny window for ambient shadows, changing as the sun moves throughout the day.
Seek Out Reflections
Another way to maximise the daylight in a space is by selecting colours and materials with light-reflecting properties. These will bounce as much natural light from the windows deeper into your interior spaces.
Lighter surface finishes like our Oyster White and Light Grey RAL colours reflect light more than darker finishes, which have light-absorbing properties. Matte finishes are also best avoided. Instead, opt for the more reflective, like our glass-topped Milo coffee tables.
An Energising Suntrap
Assess where natural light filters through the windows at different times of the day. Casual seating in a sun-drenched area can provide an uplifting spot for a one-to-one meeting or a recharging coffee break.
Reece and Sedir are the perfect soft seating options for this, the lower back heights prevent sunlight from being blocked from the rest of the space. If areas require more privacy try using more translucent materials like Calvert dividers with sheer weaves which allow light to glow through.