Poor home design contributing to the UK’s winter blues

Poor home design contributing to the UK’s winter blues

A lack of consideration for natural daylight in home design is depriving UK homeowners of natural daylight during the winter and contributing to the winter blues, according to new research by VELUX®.

Half (50%) of UK homeowners feel that they do not have enough daylight in their lives during the winter months, according to the results of a survey by VELUX. Around the same number say that this lack of exposure to natural daylight negatively impacts their mood during the winter.

The lack of exposure to natural daylight is due to our increased reliance on spending time indoors. The survey reveals that almost half (43%) of homeowners typically spend two hours a day more outside at weekends during the summer than they do during the winter.

Given the amount of time we spend at home during these months, we become much more reliant on our homes offering access to natural daylight. However, more than a quarter (27%) of homeowners do not feel that their homes have been adequately designed to let in enough natural daylight from the outside.

One in five (22%) are keen to do something about it, by making improvements to their home through measures such as converting loft space, brightening up darker spaces, redecorating with brighter colours, building an extension with roof windows or retrofitting windows into existing extensions.

Commenting on the results, Grant Sneddon, product manager from VELUX, said:

“For many of us in the UK, putting the clocks back for daylight saving time can be associated with a dip in mood as we prepare for the winter ahead. However, as our research shows, we still don’t make the most of natural daylight when it comes to designing our homes. This daylight factor is even more significant during the winter months, when we tend to spend much more time indoors. However, there are many modifications we can make to our homes to help bring the outside in, and provide homes with access to natural daylight which can help to beat the winter blues.”

To help homeowners design daylight in their homes, VELUX has provided five top tips:


  1. For single storey extensions, don’t just rely on bifold doors. Bringing in daylight through the roof can let in twice as much daylight. There are so many ways of maximising daylight in your home. For dark, confined spaces with access to a roof, consider the use of sun tunnels.


  1. Positioning of vertical and roof windows is extremely important to achieve the optimum daylight levels and effects. Ensure that you get the right balance between light intensity and light coverage. The desired spread of light will have an influence on where windows are positioned and also on the size of windows.


  1. Consider how you can maximise the light once it is inside the house. For example, use high level roof windows to provide natural daylight into the rear of the home where use of vertical windows might not be possible due to adjacent buildings. And with clever use of internal glazing or translucent materials, light can then travel further into the house.


  1. The more daylight you bring in the greater the need to control it, so ensure that you consider how you can alter it to suit your needs. Decorative blinds, curtains and different glazing options can produce pleasing results if done in the right fashion.


  1. Not only do you need to consider how and where daylight enters, but also just as important are the internal finishes. Bright walls, ceilings and floors can bounce and reflect daylight into areas that would normally be quite dark.
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