Natural light has a lot of plusses: It's free, saves power, and helps prevent Seasonal Affective Disorder. But if your home can't accommodate a skylight, a sunlight-focusing lamp from Sunlight Direct can get you basking in the sun's glow while you're inside. It works by collecting sunlight from a reflective dish on your roof, which focuses the precious rays into fiber-optic cables connected to a "hybrid" lamp mounted inside. During the day, the lamp fills your room with delicious, nutritious natural light — even taking on the same reddish hue of a sunrise or sunset (though you can prevent any color variances if you prefer). But at night (or when it's cloudy), there's a normal halogen bulb that takes over some or all of the illumination duties, ensuring your light level stays consistent.
The catch is that the Sunlight Direct lamp needs to be custom installed, and although no prices are listed on the website, you can bet it won't be cheap. Still, if it saves you a lot of power and lets your regular bulbs last 10 to 20 times longer than normal, as the company claims, it could be worth the expense for that country bungalow you're building. It's miles ahead of that silly solar umbrella, at least. Residential models of Sunlight Direct's lighting should be available next year.