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Seeing the Light

Design strategies to enrich your living environment with natural light

There’s a movement afoot around wellness and nature. The average person is more aware of their health and wellness regimens, and this is tending to impact their decisions around the home building process. A crucial element in designing any space is harnessing natural light. When done correctly, sunlight can animate a space, reduce energy costs, brighten your mood, and increase productivity. 


With the immense amount of sunlight we receive in the Caribbean region, efficiencies and experiences can be enhanced through the power of the sun. Here are some quick natural lighting and design tips for incorporating nature and daylight into your home.  

  1. Clear glass walls or placing glass in a wall above eye level will assist with the diffusion of light into the next room. Translucency is your friend and can be used successfully to incorporate daylight. Be sure to determine the right style, however – textured, laminated, or frosted windows and glass have various effects on light translucency.
  2. Interior frosted windows are great opportunities to borrow light from adjacent rooms while still allowing for privacy.  
  3. Skylights are both attractive and eye-catching and provide an opportunity for bringing natural lighting into a space where access to views are blocked, or where resorts are built in a dense area. Reflective wall coverings should be paired with skylights to allow sunlight to travel into additional parts of the room.
  4. Stairs are generally considered more for transporting people than light, but a stairwell is an excellent vehicle for borrowing light from an upper story.
  5. Replacing solid doors with glass doors that have gazing panels are another quick and easy way to increase the ambient light level within your home, even if those panels are frosted or obscured glass. For any external doors, utilize impact-resistant glass for maximum protection. 
  6. Add some nature into your design space. This appeals to multiple senses and also provides an increase in good indoor air quality. Hearing water and smelling plants increases benefits to guests as humans are a multi-sensory people.
  7. Enhance the airflow and ensure variability in temperatures throughout a space. Studies have shown that performance and moods are enhanced by varying air flows – clearly, nothing drastic, however subtle changes in airflow have been shown to increase balance and improve focus amongst occupants.
  8. Incorporations of patterns also have an impact on wellness, especially those which mimic nature and incorporate biomorphic patterns. Our brains associate these patterns with living organisms, and this encourages a connection with wellness.
  9. Have fun with it! Utilize shading and shutters to ensure temperature controls for comfort.
  10. You may want to marry active and passive systems within your design to combat the humidity often experienced within the Caribbean region.  

We may often take our natural resources like sunlight for granted; but if we make a conscious effort to incorporate it into our homes, we’ll improve physiological and psychological health, budget and the overall quality of life.

Marvin E Flax

Marvin E Flax

Marvin is the Managing Director of OBM International, leading the global master planning, architecture, and design firm in its Tortola office. Creative by nature, Marvin uses the beauty of the BVI for inspiration.
Marvin E Flax

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