Increasing natural lighting in a living space is one of the most beneficial quality-of-life improvements. Natural light has positive effects on human focus, mood, energy levels, circadian rhythms, eyesight and more. While incorporating ample natural light, avoid design decisions that reduce privacy and increase heat and glare from Western exposure. Try to create varied lighting within spaces. Indirect light through small tubular skylights can create usable light in hallways, closets and windowless bathrooms.
High-efficiency windows will insulate against thermal changes and can greatly reduce energy usage over time, but require a higher initial investment. Interior shading devices are generally less expensive and simpler to install, while exterior devices are more effective for a higher initial investment. High end systems can utilize solar sensors to automatically adjust their shade positioning throughout the day.
Make sure that windows have blinds or curtains that can limit the amount of natural light. Custom-sized, manually adjusted interior blinds are available. With higher budgets, electrically operated and remotely controlled units can be installed. This can also help control heat gain although exterior shades are much more efficient at reducing heat gain, but at a much higher cost.