The Importance of Natural Light (and when to Fake it!)

Full Disclosure: My studio has a Southwestern Exposure. It gets natural light all day. Sometimes enough to facilitate the need for blackout curtains in the summer. My first summer in Wallingford came with a very warm surprise – once the mercury rises above 80 degrees (26 degrees for my Metric folks) – my flat bakes.

But I’m lucky.

For those who didn’t luck out like I, you have to tease the natural light into your apartment or fake it until it looks like you do.

Below is a picture of my studio with full sun. I use sheer curtains these days mainly for privacy. Sheers also filter the daylight (pictured below) to a more manageable level during the evenings.

Now, hold on, you’re probably thinking. Why would you show us pictures like that last one? Everything else had been so pretty up to now!

I’m not apologizing for it. Images like this are what happens when Depression hits hard. That was when the thought of cleaning overwhelmed me enough to cry over it.

But was I kidding about the light?

Nope.

When the sun goes down in the evenings, the apartment is dark.

Fake It Until You Fool Everyone (including yourself)

Lighting a little slim in your space?

Bring in more of the powered variety.

When evening falls, I turn on the lights, mainly because I hate walking through dark spaces, but it came in handy for the gloomy Seattle winter I wasn’t prepared for, at all.

I thought I was.

Oh, I was so wrong.

If you were to stand in my living space right now, there are 11 sources of light in my apartment:

  1. LED Spotlights by my closet doors to reflect light into the room (seldom used)
  2. Two mosaic table lamps surrounding my new sofa.
  3. Small frosted IKEA GRONO lamps on my dresser.
  4. A selenite lamp picked up at a Gem show a few years ago, which is a cool, soothing light that I leave on when I leave the apartment so I’m not completely blind.
  5. The ceiling fan light (I hate this light so I leave it off)
  6. An amethyst lamp that I leave on for the same reasons as the selenite tower. It sits on a drawer unit with one of the mosaic lamps.
  7. My corner pendant lights (pictured), which would be great once I can figure out the wireless outlets (so I’m not bending over my bed to plug them in) and turn them on with my phone.
  8. Battery-operated LED candles on a picture ledge near my bed. They’re super handy during power outages.
  9. Candles – because watching one or four helps me focus during working hours.
  10. Fairy lights (pictured below) a more recent addition that was the product of a pure whim. I love the light they provide and since I already had them prior to the move (they lived on the patio at the previous apartment), they were also free!

Why is light so important?

  1. For folks with working retinas – being able to see where you are going is a good factor.
  2. For my health: Lights that are too bright hurt our eyes, but lights that are too low also hurt our eyes. Too much blue light before bed screws up sleep cycles (guilty) and zaps melatonin levels. But primarily…
  3. It lifts my mood. I love the way the spotlights reflecting off of my closet make my skin look when I’m attempting to take a selfie. I adore how bright the fairy lights make my entire wall when they’re on. I marvel how sleepy I get when I’m watching the glow of the LED candles before I go to bed. If I need an instant pick-me-up that may not clear a depressive fog but will help knock it back a few feet, I turn on my pendant lamps.

So do me a favor?

Look around your space right now and see how your light is looking. Is it flattering? Does it make you feel good? Is it soothing or cozy? Tell me about your space in the comments and if you haven’t figured out how to coax in your own space’s light, let’s help make it work for you!