The orientation of your house: tips for perfect outdoor exposure

The orientation of your house: tips for perfect outdoor exposure

Wake up in the morning caressed by a warm sun, relax on the couch during the day and read a nice book in natural light, and cook or chat with friends in the evening illuminated by the horizontal rays of the sunset: a dream? Not if you pay attention to the best exposure of your house

If you're thinking of buying a home, there are many things to consider and countless assessments to make: the price, the age of the apartment, its location, the presence of an outdoor space, not to mention the building's orientation with respect to the sun. Why is this last aspect so important? On the one hand it allows you to save significantly on the cost of lighting and heating, and it also makes it possible to create a healthy, comfortable environment capable of conveying a feeling of well-being every day and a garden to enjoy all year round.

Are you curious to see the tips for the best sun exposure of your ideal home?

Studying your house's orientation: ancient origins

We know that sunlight is good for our bodies and affects our moods.

While such aspects are considered critical in modern bio-architecture – the set of disciplines that take into account the psycho-physical well-being of people in buildings, integrating it harmoniously with the natural surroundings, also to enjoy the benefits of the open air – in reality it is a truth that has been widely known for centuries. 

In fact, the study of the proper exposure of the house has ancient origins, Marcus Vitruvius Pollio having written about it in his treatise De Architectura in about 15 BC, showing that the right orientation allows making the most of the sun's light. For him the building's position depended on latitude and region, suggesting that in hot countries like Egypt a house's exposure to the sun should follow different parameters compared to Nordic regions. Still today knowing the bio-climatic characteristics of the place where the building is located is important, but there are criteria for the orientation of a house that can be applied at any latitude. Ready to find out more?

The best exposure of the house to the sun: the right position

To correctly assess the orientation of your (future) home, the most important thing is to follow the course of the sun, or simply keeping in mind that it rises in the east and sets in the west. Easy, no? In fact, every good designer knows that you have to start from the points of the compass and then follow some guidelines. Here are some tips to achieve the best exposure to the sun for both the interior and the exterior

  • North: this is the coldest side of the house and, especially in winter, both the interior and exterior are not very bright. So from this side it will be appropriate to place spaces that need less light and that are less lived-in during the day, like stairs, corridors or service rooms. If the garden faces north, the good thing is that it won't change temperature abruptly as it cools or heats slowly and uniformly. And you won't even have to do without greenery or points of colour: climbing or shaded plants like ferns and hellebores with their lush leaves and colourful flowers will do the trick. If your outdoor area has more than one exposure then you might consider placing walkways and rocky beds to the north, complementing them with adequate outdoor lighting to create an enchanted atmosphere even when night falls.... 
  • South: this is the ideal exposure for your home and your outdoor space! It is certainly the best and brightest side, and if your garden faces this direction you will enjoy natural light almost all day long. However, with so much sun you need to reflect not only on the type of plants that are most suitable, but also on outdoor covers that provide cool, sheltered areas of shade to enjoy your outdoor space in total safety and comfort. As for the interior, on the other hand, this orientation helps to heat the rooms in winter when the sun is low, thanks to the light that penetrates deep into the rooms, but in summer the sun's rays are higher, almost vertical, so they don't enter directly into the rooms and they don't overheat. It's the perfect side to accommodate your living area, the space where you spend most of your time, the beating heart of your home. 
  • East: this part of the house will receive the very first rays of the sun, with the light intensifying during the early hours of the day and then getting darker during the afternoon. So the choice is simple: inside the house you place the sleeping area in the rooms facing east, to wake up with the sun and fall asleep with the moon. Outside, however, you have to keep in mind that this side tends to heat up quickly, but also dissipates heat just as fast. So focus on plants that grow best in semi-shady areas, like refined azaleas or camellias, and you might even consider a heated veranda where you can have an intimate breakfast overlooking your garden.  
  • West: from the afternoon onwards, this is undoubtedly the sunniest part of the house. Why not consider a west orientation of all those spaces that require good natural lighting, like a dining room or a study, where you can relax in the warm light of the sunset? And a south-west orientation is perfect for your outdoor space! But keep in mind that if the garden faces this direction it will be very hot in summer and very cold in winter because of the large temperature range. Consequently, as far as greenery is concerned, you will have to focus on plants that love the sun, but better if they are "rustic". Moreover, why not think of a welcoming veranda to be protected with mosquito nets or vertical closures depending on the season, to capture all the beauty of your outdoor space?

Windows and verandas: solutions for maximum comfort

Proper exposure is important, but it's not enough. To take advantage of the benefits of the sun like heating and direct lighting you need to think well about the windows. In fact, having well-oriented windows and an interplay of open and closed spaces for the outdoors is essential. For this reason, if your house is still under construction, for the side facing north we recommend very large windows to gather as much light as possible, to the south vertical windows are best, especially for when the sun is almost vertical, while to the east and west use large horizontal windows. If you're lucky enough to have a terrace oriented in these directions you might want to consider a balcony veranda to enjoy a spectacular and impressive view of sunrises and sunsets. 

Be careful though, because verandas facing west or south-west could have a problem in the summer: in very hot cities the constant, intrusive presence of sunlight can be bothersome. The solution? Ideally you should use light-coloured shade curtains inside that allow light to filter through in a diffuse, uniform manner. On the outside one of the Corradi Pergotenda© models would be perfect for shielding the light in summer and letting it in in the winter, perhaps even opting for the addition of glass side closures, which leave the view of the garden open and add space to your home. For a complete outdoor experience in all seasons, without limitations. 

Protected from the cold in your veranda yet still kissed by the rays of a colourful autumn sun, thanks to these tips for the right exposure of your house and garden you can enjoy all the magic of a fiery sunset in total comfort, even in the coldest months: are you ready to let yourself get excited?

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