How to Maximise Natural Light in Your New Home
November 30, 2020
How to Maximise Natural Light in Your New Home
So you’ve gone and bought yourself a brand new home, but there’s a lot less natural lighting than you remember. Maybe you viewed it on a sunny afternoon, or it was strategically staged. But suddenly, with all your furniture moved in, it feels more like a cave than a home. Before you start berating your realtor and putting up the “For Sale” sign, get a little creative. Here are useful tips on how to brighten your home with the help of natural lighting.
The colour of your walls is pretty important. No matter how much sunlight gets into a room painted dark blue or purple, it’ll still feel dark and gloomy. Keep wall colours light and neutral, with light-reflecting shades like off-white, pale blue, and yellow. These hues can help reflect natural lighting while also making rooms feel more open.
Don’t forget the ceiling. Keep it simple and paint it a flat white (if your home is new, you probably won’t have to change the original builder’s paint). If you’re more ambitious, go for one shade lighter than your walls; this will create the illusion of higher ceilings.
Mirrors are a quick fix for dark room problems. With strategic placement, they can easily double the perceived size of a room. It's a trick used by restaurants and stores to make them seem bigger and more open. For example, a mirror placed across from a window of a similar size will bounce the natural lighting across the room. Even better if there’s another mirror beside the window to bounce it even further. A mirror placed at the end of a dark hallway will help light travel up and down the hall, eliminating the need for expensive overhead lighting.
Doors are the biggest culprits when it comes to blocking natural light. Solid wooden doors stop sunlight from reaching other rooms of the house, which can be especially important in hallways and kitchens. Whenever possible, simply take the door down for the easiest and most cost-effective fix. Living rooms, kitchens, and dining rooms don’t need interconnecting doors anymore. You’ll love how much more open your house feels, and it’ll allow natural lighting to filter through to other rooms that might not have enough windows.
Of course, you can’t just take down all the doors in your house. Instead, you can try some other fixes to brighten rooms. Adding windows to doors with frosted glass allows light to filter through; this is a great option for bathroom doors or front doors. Similarly, painted glass helps maintain privacy while letting light travel through the panes to front hallways and connecting rooms. French doors, while pricey, are beautiful options for back doors or dining rooms.
Window treatments can make or break the natural lighting in a room. The biggest mistake people make, is falling back on safe, traditional curtains. However, long, thick curtains are guaranteed to block lighting and make a room feel dark and depressing. Instead, you should explore the many other options for modern window treatments that will help brighten your home without sacrificing your privacy.
Woven shades are natural-looking shades made from reeds, bamboo, and grasses. They add tonnes of character to a room while allowing light to filter in naturally through the wood. You can choose from a wide variety of looks and finishes, including the thickness of the shade to customise the light in a room.
Honeycomb Top-Down-Bottom-Up Blinds
These blinds are a brilliant way to maximise natural lighting. You can position the blind at any spot on the window by tugging it upwards and downwards, depending on where the sun is positioned and how much light you want. These clever blinds let you maintain your privacy while getting the most out of the day’s sunlight.
If you have larger windows or sliding doors, vertical blinds are a great option. You can keep them completely pushed back during the day time, or slanted open at varying degrees. They come in tonnes of different textures and colours, and you can add a valance at the top for extra style.
Sheer curtains layered on blinds makes for beautiful window treatments, without blocking windows with dark fabrics. The thin curtains allow plenty of light through while giving rooms a breezy, relaxed vibe.
One sneaky cause of dim-lit rooms is accumulated dust, which makes it hard for natural lighting to reflect off surfaces. Keeping a room clean and well-dusted will help, but understandably, dusting isn’t a top priority for a busy family. Eliminate most of the dust in a room simply by switching to built-in blinds, which are blinds that are installed inside the window frame.
Maximising natural light might be as simple as adjusting your décor. A good rule of thumb is to keep your decorating scheme neutral and light-coloured to help sunlight reach all corners of the room. This doesn’t mean rooms have to look like a hospital—you can use fun, patterned accents to liven up rooms.
1. Repaint cupboards neutral colours and add bright knobs and handles, or add clear panes of glass to cupboards.
2. Avoid heavy, dark wooden furniture to prevent dark shadows and corners. Smaller furniture, like love-seats and narrower coffee tables, will make a room look more open and bright.
3. Use neutral bed linens and accent with colourful pillows, throws, and paintings.
4. Declutter your home for a more minimalistic look. Light will be able to bounce off gleaming countertops, fridges, and tables
Quick and Easy Tips to Maximise Light
Choose polished, light wooden floors or light-coloured carpet
Keep furniture from blocking windows
Removed unnecessary, non-support walls in your home
Invest in skylights if possible—they can add up to 3 times the amount of sunlight as a similar-sized window
Replace kitchen and bathroom fixtures with shiny, stainless-steel fixtures to reflect more light
Clean windows efficiently (and regularly)
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