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Natural lighting in the home has several advantages. Most obviously, sunlight can save you big bucks on your electric bill. The economic advantages are undeniable. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, heating your home typically accounts for 42% of your utility bill, while the average household also dedicates 5% of its energy bill to lighting. In total, about 47% of the energy we use is dedicated to heat and light. What's amazing is that the sun provides both of these resources for free.

But then benefits don't stop there. While natural light conserves electric energy in your home, it can fuel the energy level in our bodies.

It's scientifically proven that exposure to sunlight improves productivity and makes us happier, healthier, and calmer. Natural light also combats Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD); promotes restorative sleep patterns; helps reduce eye strain; and increases our Vitamin D levels.

In terms of the ambiance of your home, natural light can transform the appearance of a room. Many architects and designers seek well-lit spaces because they're more aesthetically pleasing and appear to be larger. Seriously, what's not to love about a little sunshine streaming through your windows?

But what if your house doesn't have many windows, and skylight renovations aren't in your budget? Here are 5 affordable tips to help you maximize the existing natural light in your home:

1. Incorporate Mirrors in your Home Decor – Mirrors reflect light. It's kind of their job. Hang them (or other reflective decor pieces) opposite your windows or glass doors.

2. Choose Light Color Palettes – Light color palettes reflect sunlight better than darker ones. When choosing an interior color scheme, spend some time in each room and get to know the space. How does the shifting sunlight affect your surroundings throughout the day?

A room with northern exposure receives less daylight than southern-facing rooms. So, in this case, a warm color palette would soften shadows and bode well with more hours of artificial light.

3. Rearrange Your Furniture - Position your furniture so that it's at least a few feet away from windows and glass doors. That way, it won't block any incoming light.

4. Ditch Heavy or Dark Curtains – For many people, having curtains or drapes is necessary for privacy. Choose light, airy curtains or consider blinds as an alternative. Blinds still offer privacy at night, but give you control over the amount of light that comes in during the day.

5. Clean –Regularly cleaning your windows keeps them dirt-free and transparent so sunbeams can come through and dazzle your home.