Design

Let the Light Shine: Seven Ways to Increase the Natural Lighting in Your Space

The days are getting shorter as winter approaches, making us want to enjoy the daylight we do have as much as possible.  Those who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder have a really tough time during winter, but even those who don’t often lament the early sunsets.  Nothing brightens up a space quite like natural lighting, and especially this time of year, you’ll want to maximize the amount of light you’re getting as much as possible.  Here are some ways to get the most out of the natural light in a space.

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Windows

One of the most obvious ways to get more natural light in a space is to add more windows, or make the windows you have larger.  But even if you can’t alter the amount or size of windows you can still work with the windows you do have.  The most important, and easy, thing to do is make sure your windows are clean.  The dirtier the window, the less light can make it through.  Give your windows a thorough cleaning at least once a year, cleaning more often as necessary.  You can also check to make sure your windows aren’t being blocked by trees or shrubs outside.  If light can’t reach the window because a tree is in the way you’re not making the most of that window.  Try to keep all nearby landscaping elements below window level for optimum light.

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Window Treatments

Once you have your windows set, be mindful of the types of window treatments you use.  If you’re really in need of natural light you can consider not using any window treatments at all.  But many people like the privacy that curtains and blinds offer at night.  For curtains look for lightweight or sheer curtains made of cotton or linen in light, bright colors.  These will allow sunlight to filter in even when closed.  If opting for shades or blinds, look for ones that provide the most control of lighting and don’t block the light even when opened.  Vertical and Venetian blinds will always block at least some of the light, and Roman shades can also present this issue.

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Skylights or Sun Tubes

If you’re able to do some construction, skylights are a great option for maximizing the amount of natural light a space gets.  If you like the idea of skylights but don’t want something so large you can also look into sun tubes/tunnels.  They look like recessed lighting fixtures, but are actually sunlight being reflected down into your house from outside.  Both options will add natural light to your space from above, combining with windows to fill the room with daylight.

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Glass Doors

Replacing a solid front door with one that has glass panes in it is a simple switch that will allow more natural light to enter your home.  Sliding glass doors for backyard or balcony entrances also increase the amount of light coming in.  Glass doors aren’t just for indoor/outdoor thresholds though.  Any solid door can be replaced by a glass door to allow more light to flow inside.  If you’re worried about privacy you can use frosted glass which will obscure what’s behind it, but still allow light to pass through.

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Use Mirrors

The strategic placement of mirrors is one of the easiest ways to get more natural light in a room.  Mirrors placed across from or adjacent to natural light sources will bounce the light around the room, making it sunnier and brighter.  Try to have at least one mirror in any room that you feel needs more natural light.  A properly placed mirror can instantly double the amount of natural light in a space.

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Check Furniture Placement

Be conscious of where your furniture is placed in relation to your sources of natural light.  Try not to place large, dense pieces of furniture right in front of windows since they’ll block some of the incoming light.  Move furniture at least a few feet away from any windows or glass doors so you can let the light shine in freely.

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Opt for Shiny and Transparent

Anything that helps reflect the light or lets the light pass through will maximize the natural lighting a room gets.  Transparent furniture will provide seating or surface area without blocking the light from windows and doors.  Pieces with mirrored finishes will act as extra mirrors and bounce light around the room.  Glossier or satin finish paint on the walls and ceiling will also help reflect natural light.  In kitchens and bathroom, glass, glossy ceramic, and metallic back-splashes are an easy and stylish way to reflect light back into the room.

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You’ll pretty much always need more light sources than just the sun.  But considering that sunlight is free, and can add warmth, it just makes sense to use it to illuminate your space as much as possible.  Hopefully this post has helped you find at least a couple of solutions for getting more natural light into your home as you can.

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