7 Alternatives to Natural Light in the Classroom

Did you know, the average student spends 40 hours per week indoors?!  That means less access to the great outdoors and the healing natural light that comes with it.  

Alternatives to Natural Lighting

Poor Lighting Can…

  • disrupt sleep patterns
  • contribute to disturbance in hormones
  • cause depression

The Right Lighting Can...

Of course, natural sunlight is the best type of light for any situation, but even when we can’t find ways to incorporate more sunlight into our learning environments, we can take care to use lighting systems that are proven to mimic the benefits of natural sunlight.

As school design becomes a bigger focus across the nation, one thing is clear: lighting is key to students in any space.

Whether you have the chance to include daylighting (bringing more natural sunlight into your school through use of skylights and the like) or need to work around a smaller budget, there are many ways to enhance the lighting in your learning space.

Pendant Lighting

Considering Renovations?

Sunlight

If your budget allows for a structural change like this and the building is set up for it, skylights are the best way to go. Installing one or more skylights in each classroom provides a healthy, much-needed dose of sunlight to students during the large amount of time they spend indoors.

Solar Tubes

If you don’t have the means for skylights, don’t fear! There is still a great option for incorporating natural sunlight into your learning space. Solar tubes, or installations that redirect sunlight from one area of a building to another (think from the roof, down through the insulation and into your classroom), are a great option for buildings where it may not be logical or possible to install a skylight.

Working with a minimal (or nearly non-existent) budget?

Sunlamps

If any sort of alterations to the building are off the table, check out sunlamps instead. These individual lamps don’t require any sort of installation, short of plugging them in, and mimic natural sunlight as closely as possible. They’re used in a variety of instances, from combating seasonal affective disorder (SAD) to providing natural-style lighting for stores and more.

Pendant Lighting

Pendant Lamps

Not only are pendant lamps great alternatives for low lighting, they’re coming into style in a big way this year! Using pendant lights in a classroom can assist main fixtures in moving light throughout the classroom without taking up any additional space (we know how valuable that is!). Pendant lighting also sends a wide pool of light down into a space, making it a great option for getting more light with a smaller fixture.

Table Lamps

One of the best things about table lamps may be exactly what the name suggests. These lamps are small enough to be situated on virtually any flat, sturdy surface and can help add light to areas of the classroom or learning space that are often overlooked.

Standing Lamps

If you have the room for it, standing lamps can do wonders for a learning environment. These stand-alone lights simply need to be plugged in and, for classrooms, placed somewhere that doesn’t impede student movement. These babies are great for corners, behind your desk and pretty much anywhere else near an outlet!

String Lights

Guaranteed to be a student favorite, string lights (think Christmas lights) can also help distribute extra light throughout your educational space. String lights are incredibly versatile, and there are about 1000 ideas floating around the world wide web for getting creative with them. Check out some of the ideas here, and aim to include students in a DIY lighting project!

While it may not be the most glamorous or exciting aspect of school design, lighting may well be the most important.

Just remember to confirm with your facilities manager before incorporating additional lighting of any sort. Once you cover that base, happy illuminating!