I grew up in rural Pennsylvania, in a heavily wooded lot surrounded by forest. While my other half jokes that it looked like Planet Endor from Star War’s Return of the Jedi, I have fond memories of playing in the woods, exploring the wildlife and building forts with my older brothers. I also remember the arguments of my parents as my mother wanted to chop the trees directly surrounding the house and my father stubbornly resisted. The house, as a result, was dark due to all the shade and I understood even at a young age, how much nicer a light and bright house would be. I seem to remember a compromise where he relented eventually to my mother’s wishes, downing just a few trees to let the sunlight in.
Today, I live in an Edwardian semi in the North West. The large windows let in an amazing amount of light and while the northeast-facing living room remains a bit darker, the rest of the house benefits from all the sunshine when it does turn up here in Manchester. I still appreciate the benefits of having a home filled with natural light. That Vitamin D from the sun raises our serotonin levels, makes us feel happy and content. Why wouldn’t you want more of that? I’m still not sure why my father didn’t.
If your own home suffers from a lack of natural light, there are a few things you can do to rectify the situation and create a more light filled home. Today, I want to share my suggestions for making the most of natural light in your home, starting with some easy swaps all the way to getting the builders in.
Swap out heavy fabrics from windows
This is an easy one. Thick, dark fabrics absorb light and so swapping heavy curtains to lighter unlined fabrics will create a brighter room. Hang your curtains wide as well so that when they are drawn back, the entire window is exposed, maximising any light pouring into the space. You can also consider adding shutters which will allow you to control the light as well as privacy.
Use mirrors to reflect light
Another easy option is to use mirrors. Hanging them opposite a window will in effect double the amount of natural light and reflect it back into the space. The larger the mirror, the more light it will reflect so you might even consider full mirror wall panels to maximise the effect. Check out our full range of mirrors here.
Use a pale colour scheme
Lighter colours reflect light, darker colours absorb it. If you want a light bright room, use pale colours on the walls and/or the floors. Punctuate the pale finishes with some darker furniture or accessories to provide contrast and interest.
Consider a high shine floor
Anything that provides a reflection is going to bounce around light and with flooring, utilising a high shine will maximise the light. High gloss wood flooring or gloss tiles will create a brighter space than darker, matt finishes which will absorb light.
Paint floorboards white
Speaking of flooring, if you have floorboards, you may wish to consider painting them white. The effect is a much brighter and more open space.
Prune outdoor bushes
Much like my childhood home, are outside trees or bushes infringing upon the amount of sunlight your home gets? Consider pruning back any trees or bushes directly in front of your home that may be blocking the light in front of windows.
Swap to a glass front door
The hallway is often one place that can suffer from a lack of natural light. By using a solid door that has larger windows or using either a window transom or side transoms, you can make the most of whatever light comes into the area. Consider a frosted glass which will still allow for a lighter space without infringing upon your privacy.
Add or replace windows
Moving to suggestions that take a bigger investment, consider the windows you have. Can you benefit by swapping them for larger windows or perhaps even adding glass doors that lead to the outside? If you consider where the light comes from in a room, is it possible to add windows where you have none? The more windows you have, the more light your room will get.
For internal spaces, is it possible to bring in light from above? There are so many options now available on the market from Tubular Daylighting Devices (TDDs) to simple skylights that will brighten up a dark room or bring shafts of light into a dark hallway.
Replace internal doors with French doors
Depending upon which way your house faces, you will normally have one side of the house that is brighter than the other depending upon the time of day and the location of the sun. If you have solid internal doors, you may want to consider swapping them out with French doors to move the light from a brighter room into a darker one.
Remove internal walls
And finally, utilising a more open plan area will always create more light in a home and a sense of openness. Borrowed light from any side of your home is allowed the freedom to move across to darker spots, maximising the natural light.
How do you maximise the natural light in your own home? Let us know over on Twitter @OFLOakFurniture, or – as always – be sure to tag us in all your home décor snaps on Instagram with the hashtag #OakFurnitureLand.