Despite the Winter equinox on 21st December heralding the slow increase of daylight hours, January often feels so much darker than December. It may be true that this is somewhat down to the mass community hangover that dominates this month, but it is also down to light, both natural and artificial.
Seasonal affected disorder (SAD) is linked to natural light and the consequent decrease in the body’s production of serotonin; the hormone affecting your mood, appetite and sleep. For some people, this is more pronounced and their low mood and level of lethargy are classed as SAD. For employers, light is an issue for commercial, working and learning spaces as it affects the mood of those within it. So how can you help to combat symptoms of seasonal affected disorder using the space that you have?
The key is to maximise the natural light that people within a space can receive. When you consider that for a third of the year we experience less than ten hours of daylight in the UK, making the most of natural light should be a consideration in all decorative schemes no matter what month of the year your decoration occurs. A good decorator will be able to consider a space with an eye to how it will appear in January even if the project takes place in June, so work collaboratively and the space will benefit year round.
If you are undergoing a refit, look at maximising the amount of glass in your space. Glass technology is developing at a rapid pace, so the possibilities of this material are boundless. Consider for example smart glass, which works by altering the transparency of the glazing from transparent to translucent or even reflective when voltage, light or heat is applied. Glass as a material can be as strong as you require, or indeed as beautiful. Graphics or etching can be applied to maintain your branding or decorative scheme while allowing natural light to dissipate around the space.
Whilst there is nothing better than getting outside, a commercial space can help by situating communal or social zones in areas with good levels of natural light. In this way, when you are planning your spaces during a refurbishment, take a moment to consider how the arrangement of those spaces can ensure that the building users have access to good levels of natural light.
Despite its lack of natural light, December is awash with artificial light of all kinds. From illuminated penguins and reindeer to fairy lights adorning window and door frames alike, the twinkling glow of the festive season is undeniably mood lifting. Then, on Twelfth Night, it all goes out. It may not have a biological effect on your serotonin production, but there’s a lot to be said for accessorising a space with artistic artificial light. If you have a dull spot in an office or lobby area, using a creative lighting solution can change the mood and function of a space. From quirky light fittings to illuminated art, signage and light boxes, artificial light can significantly change a commercial, office or leisure space.
If you don’t know where to start when thinking of creative artificial light, why not take some inspiration this month from the biennial festival Lumiere London? Commissioned by the Mayor of London, this free light festival runs from 18th to 21st January and features fifty spectacular light installations across London from Kings Cross to Westminster. Find out about it here: www.visitlondon.com/lumiere
Whether natural or artificial, light has the power to transform a space. The key to its use lies in your original design. At HL Decorating, we understand light, how it works and how to use it to its maximum capability, and we are happy to advise you on your refurbishment or redecoration project.