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How to Use Borrowed Light in your Home

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Natural light helps your body produce Vitamin D, improves your circadian rhythm/sleep pattern, helps you focus, enables you to get more done and makes you feel happier. It also reduces your energy consumption, lowering your utility bill. Since all areas of your home and/or office do not have exposure to natural light, how can you use borrowed light in your space? 

What is borrowed light?

Borrowed light is light entering an interior or otherwise dark room or passage from an adjoining space. It’s when an area with abundant natural light shares light with adjoining rooms. It refers to the capturing of natural light and transferring it to another space. 

Ways to Borrow Light:

  • Glass Walls: Translucent glass panes or walls built to collect and disperse light and incorporated into a space allow natural light to penetrate. Textured, laminated and/or sandblasted glass walls absorb and reflect light, brightening an area while providing some privacy. 
  • Transom windows are located over the top of a window or door and come in many different shapes, styles and designs. An indoor transom provides a means of borrowing light, introducing natural light to a room without compromising privacy.
  • Stairs are generally thought of as a means to connect levels of a home but a stairwell is an excellent vehicle for borrowing light from an upper story. Stairs can be positioned to capture and reflect light from above. Surrounding stairs with glass railings and white walls aids the process. Or opt for a floating glass staircase and let the light in! 
  • Interior windows: Bring in natural light from an adjacent living area with the help of interior windows. Choose sandblasted, acid-etched, textured or laminated windows to maintain privacy. 
  • Skylights are a great option. The light that penetrates is more than three times brighter than the light that enters vertical windows. Reflective walls with a high-sheen paint help the light travel to other spaces.
  • Light tubes: To carry light farther, pair a skylight with light wells or light tubes. Light tubes are small, round skylight-like bubbles on the roof connected to large tubes with a mirror-like interior surface. They bounce light down, around curves and obstructions (as far down into the house as you want to go) shining the light onto a small glazed dome on a ceiling inside your house. The dome looks like a modern light fixture, only it varies with the natural outdoor light.
  • Mirrors naturally make a dim space feel lighter and larger. Hang a mirror across from a window so that it reflects the outdoors, creating the illusion that it’s a window and bouncing light into the room. This ensures ample reflected natural light during the day and a view of the world at all times. Place a mirror behind a light source (table lamp, floor lamp, sconce, candle) to bounce light back into your space, expanding the corners of the room. Try mirrors in the recesses of a skylight to bring in views of the rooftops or put mirrors in window recesses to reflect light into your rooms.
  • Reflective flooring with a polished finish (wood, stone, high-gloss concrete or tile) bounces light around a room.
  • An open-plan layout allows darker rooms to borrow light from those rooms that are illuminated by daylight. Use a half-wall, or three-quarter-height stud wall if you want a visual barrier.
  • A pale colour scheme reflects light. Use lightweight fabric with metallic accents. 

Daylight has positive effects on mood, sleep cycles, productivity, and health. Ensuring we get enough of this vital resource is key to our physical and psychological well-being. It’s crucial to maximize natural light in any space, regardless of whether or not it has direct access to the outdoors. Borrowed light can help you achieve this goal. 

Looking for ways to bring borrowed light into your home? Interested in glass railings, glass stairs, glass walls and/or mirrors? Call Calgary’s premier glass and mirror company, House of Mirrors & Glass (403) 253-3777 or email us at info@houseofmirrors.com.  Our helpful team of associates can assist you in finding the look that works for you. Check out our showroom today! Our knowledgeable and efficient team provides excellent customer service with a focus on custom design.