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How to Balance Privacy with Natural Light

There’s always that fine line to walk between enjoying the benefits of allowing as much of that abundant Florida sun as possible into your home versus keeping your privacy. Those big floor to ceiling windows provide a striking view from inside or exterior, but after the sun sets, you’re probably ready to relax and enjoy the evening to yourself, closing out the world outside for a relaxing evening and night.

DAYLIGHTING The use of natural light in interior spaces, indicates Kate Reggev for Dwell, is sometimes called “daylighting,” and holds a plethora of benefits. It can increase productivity and comfort, provide mental and visual stimulation, boost one’s mood, and given the correct season, can even dramatically reduce energy costs, which is key for our Naples, Florida climate. Sometimes, though, it can be difficult to incorporate standard window design in a space for practical or aesthetic reasons. In other environments, your contractor may recommend traditional windows, which allow strong, direct sunlight when filtered or indirect sunlight as preferred. You’ll need to take into consideration the direction in which every room in your house is facing, however, as each offers pros and cons.

DIRECTIONAL DIFFERENCES Eastern exposure gives you morning light, which can be enjoyable unless you appreciate sleeping past dawn. Elena Frampton of Frampton Co. shares that her company pairs clients with appropriate custom window treatments based on their wake up preference. “Some clients love to wake up with the sun, in which case we’d match them with a high-transparency roller shade and decorative drapery,” she says, “Of course, some like to control the sun, in which case there are many blackout options available, even programmable.”

Western facing rooms optimize the rays of that glorious afternoon sun. If it’s your living room, you should especially enjoy it. Stay away from oranges and reds in your ideas for décor, lightheartedly warns designer Kelly Hinchman, or your home will be “on fire”! Southern exposure will give you bright light all day, but as Architectural Digest relates, optimal natural lighting comes from northern facing windows. Northern-facing rooms will enjoy consistent, balanced lighting throughout the day that’s never too harsh or dull. Some even agree that northern light can be calming, which is optimal for your kitchen, given the time typically spent there.

WINDOW TREATMENT OPTIONS Now that we know how to best make use of the sun’s rays, we need some effective, and stylish, ways to cover up those windows when all that wonderful natural light is just a little much, like at night or when you’re not home. Window materials and design must be taken into consideration when building or doing a remodel. Start with window tint, paired with high-quality window treatments. Plantation shutters are a good example. Said to have been brought to Florida by Spanish settlers, they elicit a very “Old South” feel and can be easily adjusted to allow as little or as much natural light in as you prefer.

Florida Shutters and Blinds recommends a larger louver size shutter in order to easily control the amount. Designer roller shades offer the option of motorization and can be programmed to rise and fall automatically, while Roman shades create a bunched, elegant look when rolled up and are available in unique patterns and designs to accent your living space. However, if you’ve got, for example, a gorgeous beach side view, a great option for respite from the Florida sun when you need it are solar shades that both reflect and absorb the sun’s rays, says Naples-based Beach Bungalow Blinds. Best of all, you’ll still be able to see out your window, and they’re made of 100% biodegradable and recyclable materials for an environmentally friendly window treatment choice.

Here in Florida, it is entirely possible to enjoy the sun as much or as little as you want while maintaining your privacy, and look good doing so. J. Sweet Construction’s new home construction and remodeling experience spans over 20 years and we can provide expert advice for all of your plans, including window treatment decisions, always with honesty and integrity.

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