Whether you’re looking to buy a compact condo in downtown Atlanta or a sprawling house in Alpharetta, don’t forget to look at lighting in your would-be home. In particular, the natural light that filters in could have a big impact on your quality of life.

Studies have shown that sunlight promotes good health in our minds and bodies, and sunlight deprivation can cause adverse health effects such as low energy and moodiness. If you have ample natural lighting, you might feel a lift in your mood — and your productivity levels — and you also won’t have to spend as much time with artificial lights on.

You want to look for the right amount of lighting in your new home. Here are some factors for you to consider as you view potential purchases.

Layout and style

The layout, room sizes and number of windows all have a significant effect on how much natural light a home receives. A chopped-up, closed-in layout will have less natural lighting than a floor plan that uses open space.

Some architectural styles may also influence light penetration. A maisonette — a two-story apartment situated in the interior of a condominium building — would have minimal natural light infiltration, which would require an over reliance on artificial light. Big, airy rooms with giant windows may not be possible in your prospective home, but look to see whether the most lived-in parts of the house have windows or skylights.

Room orientation

The home’s orientation to the sun has a major impact as well. For buyers looking for optimum sunlight in the living room and other spaces, the south wall makes the best location for windows. If you love early-morning sunlight, east-facing rooms offer the most light potential for this time of day.

Since the north side of the home receives the least amount of natural light and the most heat loss during the winter months, look for a house that situates your utility rooms, bathrooms and other non-living spaces on this side.

One thing to watch out for: If you envision one room as a living area or entertainment center, look to see whether it has west-facing windows. Those windows will allow piercing light through during sunset, which might interfere with your evening leisure time, unless you’re willing to install heavy-duty shades or curtains.

Tips for touring homes

The best time to view a home is between mid-morning and mid-afternoon. As you walk through rooms, pay attention to sources of natural light, such as window orientation, doors and skylights. For second visits, schedule your appointment at a different time of day so you can see how the light will move through the house. If you’re concerned that a house may be a little dark, make an appointment to see it on an overcast day.

Tell your real estate agent what you want in a home, and how you envision using particular rooms. He or she can provide suggestions and point out potential problems or unexpected benefits.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

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