Benefits of Natural Light

By Kate Riley July 1, 2019

*in partnership with Milgard

I’ve been working with a client for almost a year on a full scale remodel. It’s remarkable how this home has changed from a dark and run down home to a fresh and functional abode that suits her lifestyle. When she came to me, overwhelmed, at the beginning stage of her renovation, I asked her in her initial interview what were the things she wanted most and of her biggest requests was more natural light. We got right to work with a new architectural plan to achieve her wish in every way possible.

Her home is a traditional San Francisco zero lot line structure, meaning the sides of the neighboring homes are so close they can reach out and touch the wall of their neighbor’s home. This placement does not allow for any light coming into the home on either side, only through the front and back spaces. It required a special strategy with the architectural design to reorient the location of spaces so that the most amount of natural light comes into her home in the spaces where she craves it most.

This is her newly furnished dining nook, flooded with sunlight, and it’s where she enjoys morning coffee, meals, wine in the evening, and catching up on social media.


For her home’s renovation we chose vinyl windows from the Milgard Tuscany® Series. The wider frame profile maximizes natural light and her view of her rear yard. SmartTouch® locks make her windows easy to open and because of their design, she knows just by looking when it is locked. There is no “before” picture to share because what was here before was a closet and dark narrow hall, but not anymore! Now it’s a bright and airy nook with a pass through to her rear deck. The natural light that floods the space has made it her favorite space in the home!

There are several benefits that come from the strategic placement of new windows in a renovation or new build to add more natural light. Today I’ve partnered with Milgard Windows & Doors to share a few!


Improves Mood

Natural light is one of the most popular requests in new homes and renovations for good reason. Exposure to natural light improves health because it’s a huge mood booster. Think about it. Whenever you’re tired or unproductive or grumpy, often it’s a lack of natural light in your day. Natural light triggers the production of serotonin, the brain chemical that makes you feel happy. Just sitting next to a window feeling the light as it enters a space lifts the spirits and improves anyone’s mood. It’s why tables next to a window are the ones requested when people dine in restaurants, and why window offices are more sought after than cubicles in the workplace.

Adds Value

In the architectural plan, we situated this south east facing bathroom to allow for plenty of morning light. Milgard offers obscure glass which we used in the horizontal slider in the shower to allow for natural illumination during morning preparation, something all women crave! The addition of this window reduces the need for artificial light during daylight hours.



Physiological Boost

Circadian rhythms are present in all of us, that natural 24 hour cycle which tells us when to sleep and when to wake up. Screens and artificial light interrupt our body’s rhythm, but natural light does the opposite, it helps regulate our biological clock.

We are modulated by external cues that come from sunlight. Exposing ourselves to light in the morning helps us to wake naturally and resets our circadian rhythm. Natural light in the morning signals your body that it’s time to be awake and as the sun sets, our bodies relax and settle into rest mode as part of our sleep-wake cycle. Our internal clock is timed much like a wristwatch when we’re regularly exposed to natural light.

Financial Savings

If your home is dark you use more hours of artificial light to brighten it up so it makes sense that adding more natural light to your home with new windows cuts down on the amount of time you need your artificial lights to be on. New windows and doors are long-term investment but one where you can reap the above mentioned benefits too! Milgard’s energy efficient windows are tailored to fit your climate, local codes, and green building standards to control temperature which may result in less heating and cooling expenses.


It’s a universal truth in design: large panels of glass situated toward a view make a space to feel more open and welcoming, yet another reason to let the natural light pour into your home!

I’ll share more images of my client’s remodel soon (as well as sources). Meanwhile, if you’re considering replacement windows or new windows, be sure to visit Milgard to see the variety of window and patio doors available to you.

*This post in partnership with Milgard Windows & Doors, all opinions (and the first two photographs) are my own, remaining images courtesy of Milgard. 




Weekend Reading

By Kate Riley June 30, 2019

Hello friends, how was you June? Mine was a little extra lazy as June should be, right? ;) Today I’m finishing up a garden DIY project that I’ll be sharing soon, it’s one of those kinds of projects where you have to wait for your vines to grow so you can photograph it. :)  Fellow DIY bloggers know what I mean.

I’m headed to Las Vegas this week to celebrate the Fourth with family and friends with a BBQ + pool + fireworks party, it’s always fun to celebrate there. The Fourth of July has become my favorite holiday, it’s climbed above Christmas on my list. I love that there is no real gift buying or decorating pressure, it’s just all about relaxation, food, friends, and fireworks! Do you all love the Fourth of July as much as I?

Favorite links from this week:

A clever garage screen + cool tile + lush garden = chic outdoor oasis.

Step inside this dramatic renovated bachelor pad redone in a black and white palette.

Wow, how cool is this koi fish inspired backsplash?!

*le sigh* Dreamy golden light in the Tuileries Garden in Paris.

Yes —> finding your creative voice because “cover bands don’t change the world”.

For those chasing sunshine in California: the ten best SoCal beaches.

She’s the youngest person to travel to every country (how she did it).

Life advice from a 103 year old record setting runner.

Lately on Instagram (@centsationalstyle)