The longest day of the year, back in June, offered the best opportunity to maximize natural light inside our homes. If you threw open the blinds that day, you likely felt more energized, your mood improved, and you got a better view of your dust bunnies, cobwebs, and that child-size set of fingerprints on the wall. More light has its pros and cons!
With the change of the seasons comes shorter and grayer days. About six percent of the population experience grayer mood as well, in the form of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
Don’t let a lack of light get you down. Read on for ways you can make a room brighter, even on the gloomiest days.
Glass Lets In More Light
If you have a room in your home where natural light doesn’t shine, consider replacing solid doors with glass. Can you imagine the dramatic change to not only the space but also your mood?
Whether you’re dealing with a dark office or a living space with inadequate light, opening up the space with glass lets more light in and makes a statement.
By implementing sliding door systems, you gain the ability to maximize natural light. When the glass panels open to the exterior of your home, you’ll replace your current artificial lighting strategy with one that uses the power of the sun. Natural light offers multiple benefits—it makes a room look more pleasant, makes the inhabitants feel better, and is friendly to the environment.
Don’t limit yourself to exterior glass doors.
Installing sliding glass on the interior of your home creates a unique way to use natural light. For example, if you have a study/office space that shares a wall with your living area, consider opening up the room with glass doors. The result is more light in the office and an attractive design change to your living space.
Speaking of Glass
Glass doors and windows aren’t the only way to introduce light into a dim room. Did you know interior design specialists use mirrors as the perfect way to increase light?
What interior designers know about light and mirrors will help you strategize when placing them in rooms where you’d like to feel the impact of more natural light.
Place mirrors the opposite of the source of natural light. If you’re working with a small bedroom or office, try using mirrors on the wall directly in front of a window.
If the room has an open floor plan, use mirrors to take advantage of the natural light coming from other rooms nearby. Strategically placed mirrors will reflect light coming from a hallway.
Even on the gloomiest days, mirrors harness natural light. Go big! The larger the mirror, the lighter space.
Take the Curtains Down
When searching for ways to brighten up a room, it’s easy to forget the window treatments. Take a minute and evaluate the impact of curtains and blinds on the natural sunlight.
Room darkening curtains are popular in bedrooms, especially for people who have trouble sleeping if the slightest sliver of light creeps into the room. Sure, they do an excellent job filtering light, but unless you have a night job and need to sleep during the daytime, do you need to keep all the light out of the room?
Consider replacing those dark window coverings with blinds or shades. You can still temper the light coming in at night. By raising the blinds during the day, voilà, you’ll have more natural light.
Tip: You can buy a few stylish and quite practical sleeping masks to help you get your zzz’s.
What If You Have North-Facing Windows?
If your home has south-facing windows, you already know how much brighter those rooms feel due to the direct sunlight they receive. Windows facing east-west have more brilliant light in the morning and evening, making their rooms perfect for your first cup of coffee.
North-facing windows receive little direct sunlight, making them darker. While people who don’t enjoy direct sunlight don’t mind them, it’s still essential to incorporate natural light in any room.
Despite the lack of natural lighting, you can create the appearance of light with a few simple decorating techniques.
Start with the wall color. Choosing lighter hues makes the room seem brighter. Bold oranges, reds, and greens may make the room pop, but they also make it feel darker and smaller.
Next, go with lighter colored furnishings. Dark, heavy wood pieces don’t work as well because they absorb, rather than reflect light.
If you love bold colors, buy throw pillows and other small accent pieces.
Smart Lighting Solutions for Dark Rooms
It’s not uncommon for home décor projects to include the addition of recessed lighting. While pot lights and canister lights work well as part of your lighting scheme, if you don’t aim them in the right direction, you’ll still feel like the room is short on light.
When adding recessed ceiling lights, particularly pot lights, place a few closer to the walls. Light will cast down onto the walls, with the extra benefit of highlighting any decorative details.
You can also wash the walls with light by installing shaded sconces. You’ll create a warm glow by aiming light upward and downward.
In a dark kitchen or bathroom, under cabinet lighting makes an excellent solution to banishing shadows. Why not use the popular LED strip lighting? You can also buy battery operated lights (some come with remote control capabilities).
Enjoy Our Ideas for Lighting up Your House?
We hope our ideas for introducing more light into your home inspire you to brighten things up a bit. As you can see, you can add light in both dramatic and subtle ways. Some, you’ll be able to complete in a weekend, while others require a little more time and planning.
If you’ve enjoyed reading this post, check out the rest of our blog. We’ve put together a variety of articles designed to make creating a home easier and more enjoyable.