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Best Sun Exposure for an Apartment

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If you’re lucky, you live in a lovely apartment with large windows. You get a great deal of sunlight to shine into your home every day while you’re sitting at the breakfast table or relaxing on the couch during the weekend.

Unfortunately, not all of us can be that lucky. Often, apartments are positioned on different sides of a building or blocked by other apartment buildings that limit the amount of sun exposure we get.

sunrise in a living room apartment with view of the city

Just think of what apartments are like in New York City. Some places are lucky to get just a few hours of direct sunlight every day. People pay top dollar for apartments with the right windows and sun exposure.

Generally speaking, the best direction to face is south, at least in places like NYC. This helps your apartment get maximum direct sunlight for all or most of the day. It’s the most sought-after direction for people in apartments.

Discerning apartment buyers and renters know to look for sun exposure when looking for a place to live.

The amount of light that comes in will affect what the owners or sellers can charge for the apartment.

You’ll also have to learn some things about sunlight management to keep your apartment cool and comfortable throughout the day.

Here are some tips on how to get the best sun exposure and enjoy it all day long.

Why Sun Exposure Is So Important for Your Apartment

Sunlight has a huge impact on mental wellbeing. If you travel to Nordic countries and other places with limited sunlight during the day, oftentimes they have what are called “happy lamps” in their apartments and homes to mimic sunlight.

The sun gives energy, lifts your mood, and is a great source of Vitamin D. If possible, throw open those blinds and let the sun in. You’ll save money on your utility bills by keeping your lights off as well.

Exposure to sunlight every day is also important to serotonin secretion, which keeps people in good moods and feeling positive.

These days, with more people working from home and kids doing schoolwork in living rooms and bedrooms, sun exposure is more important than ever. That’s why so many people are vying for the same apartments.

Background image of cozy living room interior with comfy velvet couch and minimal decor lit by sunlight,

Watch Out Because Too Much Sun Heats Things Up

Having direct sunlight shining through your windows is certainly beautiful. However, especially during the summer, too much direct sunlight can make the atmosphere in your apartment uncomfortably hot.

When the sun beats down on your windows for hours, it heats the glass and that heat radiates into your apartment. Things can get so hot that even the air conditioner on full blast won’t make a dent. You’ll be sweating through the afternoons as you work from home or try to take a weekend nap.

Ironically, people who fight so hard for a southern-facing apartment that gets a ton of sun spend hours in their apartment with the blinds drawn.

To combat the effects of the hot sun, get your air conditioner going a bit earlier than normal. Get some pull-down blinds and you can bring them down part-way to reflect some of the heat from the windows.

above view of residential apartment building at sunrise

Apartments Facing Different Directions Get Different Sun Exposure

We’ve already covered the fact that, most often, southern-facing apartments get the most direct sunlight exposure. But what about apartments facing the other directions? Are they all equal? Not quite.

Let’s examine each direction and how it affects sunlight in an apartment.

West-Facing Apartments – West-facing apartments don’t get the most sunlight, but they are still a good choice because you get beautiful sunsets that will give you a boost of energy late into the evening.

It’s perfect during the summer as well because the sunlight coming in goes later into the night. You won’t get any sunlight in the morning, so it’s a tradeoff.

East-Facing Apartments – East is, essentially, the exact opposite of west-facing apartments. When you’re facing east, you wake up with the sun every day.

It’s great for morning people who wake up with a lot of energy ready to attack the day. You can get ready for the workday or sit and eat breakfast with the beautiful sun shining through your windows.

Things will be a bit different at night, but you can always go outside after work to watch the sunset while you’re on a walk or a jog in the park.

North-Facing Apartments – Unfortunately, if you rent or buy a north-facing apartment, you’re not going to get much sun at all. If you’re in a large city, north-facing apartments barely get any sun exposure. Many get none all day.

A lot of apartment buildings make sure to put large windows in north-facing apartments to increase light levels inside because they get no direct sunlight.

However, some people don’t like sun exposure in their apartments. Either they don’t like the way the sun heats things or they’re more of a night owl. Whatever the case may be, there are plenty of happy people in north-facing apartments.

A woman looks through the blinds at the early morning sunlight.

Choosing the Right Blinds

No matter what kind of sun exposure your apartment ends up getting, the right blinds will help you accentuate the light on your terms and prevent you from cooking inside on a hot day. In a south-facing apartment, even very thick blinds have a hard time keeping things cool inside.

Do some research into which types of blinds do well against direct sunlight if you’re struggling with heat issues. Also, if you want to maintain light levels in a north-facing apartment, look for blinds that give you privacy but still let the light in. There are some great options out there at affordable prices that can make your place look great.