Natural light is said to be the number one feature people look for when buying a family home.
In a survey conducted by Roof Window Outlet, the results were clear: a huge 52 per cent of Brits shared that sunlight shining into their home made them happier than any other element. In fact, 42 per cent stated that their overall wellness (including relaxation and happiness) levels grew with access to sunlight at home. The survey also revealed that when renovating their home, 1 in 6 people focused on creating additional sources of light.
Exposure to daylight has been linked to improvements in our wellbeing and mood, and in the home, natural light can make a room lighter and brighter and give the feeling of more space.
If you want to flood your home with natural light, these eight top tips are a great place to start.
1) Light colours reflect sunlight beautifully
Introduce lighter colours to your walls by banishing statement wallpaper and dark block colours in favour of a soft shade of paint. White tones will make a space feel brighter as they’ll reflect the natural light entering the room, rather than absorbing it.
However, Chris Harvey, Interior Expert from Stelrad, suggests avoiding brilliant white paint on walls as this can make a space feel cold, ‘instead, it’s better to use an off-white shade as this will provide a much warmer effect’.
If you’re a fan of colour, Farah Arshad, Head of Design at Dusk, suggests trying out subtle shades that maintain a feeling of space: ‘Neutral and earthy tones are a popular choice this season.’
For a professional finish, opt for gloss over matt paint – the sheen helps to scatter light for the illusion of more space. Another trick is to paint the ceiling a couple of shades lighter than the walls to create an airy feeling.
2) The right flooring can help
Flooring can also be transformed into light-friendly reflectors by choosing wooden, laminate, ceramic or stone floors with a polished finish, which will reflect much more light than carpets. If you prefer a carpet, then stick to light, neutral colours.
3) Decorate with mirrors and reflective accessories
Metallic, glass and mirrored accessories can all help to make the most of the light available and add stylish touches throughout the home. By reflecting light, even the most compact home is guaranteed to feel brighter and more spacious.
Carefully positioned mirrors naturally reflect light and are the most effective way of creating the illusion of more space. Positioning is everything, and Farah Arshad suggests placing them ‘directly opposite windows in order to reflect more natural light back into your room – particularly if you are working with a small space’.
4) Don’t neglect your exterior
The impact that the greenery outside your home can have on the light levels inside shouldn’t be underestimated. If daylight is being blocked outside your home, you’ll have a tough job doing anything in your interior to improve it.
Chris Harvey, advises homeowners to ‘trim any trees, bushes, or climbing plants that are growing around your doors and windows which might be blocking light.
‘Whilst you’re outside, it can also be worth giving your windows a thorough clean to ensure as much light is coming in,’ Chris adds. This will ensure as much light as possible can filter through the glass and into your home.
5) Rearrange the layout of your furniture
Not only does bulky furniture block light, but it also makes a space look more cramped. We recommend reassessing the layout of your furniture and asking yourself – is this the best use of space? Is this piece of furniture necessary or superfluous to daily needs?
Firstly, Farah suggests avoiding ‘big, boxy furniture that blocks light’. She also advises moving large pieces of furniture away from your windows in order to allow as much light as possible to stream in. Instead, select streamlined furniture that better makes the most of the available space and isn’t bulky in design.
6) Invest in your windows
If you have the budget, then the best way to increase the natural light in your home is to install large new windows and doors. Bi-folding doors are a particularly good choice as they can transform an entire wall of your home into glass for breathtaking views and ultimate light levels.
Gavin Helgeson, Rooflight Division Manager from Duplus, has shared that Duplus has seen an increase in customers (from new build enquiries to property renovators) looking to improve the lighting and space in their homes. He suggests investing in more windows, including sky lights, to allow as much light in as possible.
‘Installing roof lights is an effective way to bring in more daylight, and they also extend your view to the sky, so you get a space that feels both more spacious and brighter’, says Gavin. ‘They are also great for installing with a loft conversion to add a lot of natural light to your new room’.
7) Boost sunlight with artificial light
Boost brightness with artificial light that will enhance, rather than take over, any natural light coming into your home. Pay particular attention to areas where light from the windows doesn’t reach, such as awkward corners, corridors or alcoves.
Installing dimmer switches will allow you to have greater control over how a space is lit, enabling you to gradually alter light levels as the natural light in your home alters throughout the day.
‘Popular LED bulbs offer three main choices: soft/warm white, bright/cool white and daylight,’ says Jo Dyson, renovation and interiors expert for the Homebuilding & Renovating Show and co-founder of Mae House Design. ‘For a cosy, relaxing space I tend to use warm white. I’m a huge fan of dimmers and not just for the main living areas; they’re equally important in bedrooms and bathrooms. If you are getting ready for work in the morning you might opt for a bright, light-filled bedroom and bathroom, but want the lights dimmed when you’re winding down and getting ready for sleep.’
8. Pay attention to blinds and curtains
Much like bulky furniture, heavy window dressing can also block or obscure precious sunlight. Instead, choose blinds that can be rolled up or opened easily, allowing you to adjust them with the movement of the sun. It’s also worth installing curtain hooks or ties, so you can get as much curtain material out of the way as possible.
We suggest choosing lighter and more natural fabrics over heavier ones like velvet. You should still be able to get blackout options (important for light sleepers) but they will be easier to pull back in the daytime than bulkier fabrics.
If you want to maintain privacy, but still allow light to shine in, sheer voile curtains are a brilliant option.
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