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The Founders Club Blog

How Room Orientation Affects Natural Light in Your Custom Homes

Energy conservation, improved vision and mood, and natural views are only some of the benefits of letting natural light into your home.  Too much natural light, however, can cause heat gain/loss and create unsightly glares.  Create your perfect balance by planning ahead and using room orientation to your benefit.

Knowing the direction in which every room in your custom home is facing will help you take advantage of the natural light readily available.  You may or may not want the sun streaming in on your face when you wake up in the morning, but you will definitely want to see the sun slowly set on the horizon from your backyard view.  Delve into the different types of room orientation and be prepared when you meet with your architect and home builder to design your dream home.  After all, room placement in your home is permanent and you want to make sure every design detail is thoughtfully executed.

Rooms Facing North

The soft light coming into the living room of the Girona

North-facing rooms provide soft, indirect light and are typically the darkest rooms in a home in terms of natural lighting.  They are also the ones with the most predictable natural lighting, making them a great area to hang art since the lighting won’t change depending on the time of day, you’ll experience little glare, and you’ll have a lesser chance of the light damaging the artwork.  Living rooms, dining rooms, and family rooms are great options for this room orientation.

The cool hues of northern light may make a room feel a bit cold though, so add some warmer tones to your interior design to balance it out.  Red, orange, and yellow accessories will help make the room feel welcoming.  These rooms will also require horizontal shading to prevent excessive heat in the summer, but will provide solar gain in the winter.

Rooms Facing South

Like rooms that face north, south-facing rooms offer consistent light throughout the day, but the sunlight streaming in through these windows make the room the brightest in the house since they bring in warmer light.  This is especially true in late morning to mid-afternoon when there is a lot of light coming into a south-facing room.  This orientation is best for rooms that are not used as frequently, such as a garage, a laundry room, a work room, or stairs.

More sunlight in a south-facing room means colors will appear brighter, so a southern room will be the best place to add darker colors to your design, or you can add softer colors to balance out the light.  Brighter colors can be used if you want a bright pop of color in your home enhanced by natural lighting. 

Rooms Facing East

Good morning!  East-facing rooms are sure to let the light in during the morning hours, but you’ll find the afternoon light to be a little more dull when the sun is overhead.  That is why figuring out when these rooms will be used is important.  If you are using them in the afternoon, be aware that you will not have any direct sunlight to light your way.  These facts make this orientation a great place for kitchen and breakfast areas when the light is bright and you are starting your day and a little more muted when you are preparing dinner.  This orientation is also suitable for warm summers when a bedroom facing east will provide cooler temperatures.

Since there is such a contrast between the warm hues of the bright light in the morning, which tend to wash out color, and the cooler hues of the more subdued lighting in the afternoon, both warm and cool colors should be used in the interior design to balance out the light (or lack thereof) at any point in the day.  But, if you are using these rooms more in the afternoon, adding more warmer colors will balance the lack of natural light.

Rooms Facing West

The Brighton shows off how gold-hued natural light blends with neutral cream colors.jpg

The room with a view is a west-facing room since this is where you will be able to see a beautiful sunset.  Of course, you will also have the strongest light in the late afternoon and early evening, which may increase the temperature past your liking.  Add vertical shading to minimize overheating and glare in the afternoon.  A west-facing room should be one you use in the evening when the natural light from the sun won’t be an issue.

The strong natural light coming into your home will bring gold-orange tones that will instantly warm the room.  The warming gold-orange colors will allow you to use cool neutrals in the room to create a harmonious blend of colors.  If this room will be used in the morning, consider alternative sources of light, as you will not have any direct sunlight.  You will also have to think twice about adding a lot of warm colors to your interior design as these colors will become overpowering in the afternoon and evening when the strong light streams through the room.

Choosing a luxury home community with oversized home sites suitable for any of your room orientation and home layout needs is essential.  The Founders Club community has custom home opportunities on beautiful oversized home sites - estate home sites range from a half acre to one acre - and each one is surrounded by lakes, wetlands, nature preserves, a golf course, or often all four.  The Founders Club also works with five preferred Sarasota home builders to create luxury custom homes designed and built with you in mind.

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