Light up your life!

5 ways to add natural light to your home

Nobody wants to live in gloomy and dingy surroundings of course. However, perhaps surprisingly, a survey by a UK windows, doors and blinds manufacturer last year showed that the top feature people aged between 25 and 44 look for in a home is lots of natural light.

Not a state-of-the-art kitchen, not a luxurious bathroom – just simple, natural daylight.

With that in mind, here are some ideas to create more light in your home. Some are really quick and simple, some require a bit more planning, but they’re all designed to create a lighter, airier feel to your living space.

1. Uncover your windows
How easy is that?

If you have heavy, dark curtains which absorb and block a lot of light even when they’re open, try changing to paler-coloured fabrics or blinds.

Blinds can be infinitely adjusted to allow in as much or as little light as you like. It’s even possible to get powered versions which can be controlled by the press of a keypad button.

There are the old faithful Venetian blinds, but they can be too dense and are also awkward to clean.

Vertical blinds are a good, more up-to-date choice and can come in lacy patterns which allow light through. They can be easily dismantled and gently washed if necessary.

Compact roller blinds or softer-looking Roman blinds are another option.

If you don’t like blinds by themselves or if you maybe live on a busy road and have privacy concerns, very light and floaty plain white voile curtains could be your answer. They will retain your privacy without the heaviness of some of the net curtains that are around but will let in the maximum amount of light. Combine them with a simple roller blind for night times when you have the room lights on.

Indoor shutters could also be a good choice if you like the minimal look. Their clean and regular lines add a touch of continental simplicity to the room and the louvres can be adjusted to admit the amount of light you need. Shorter café-style shutters give you the best of both worlds – maximum light coupled with necessary privacy.

Yet another option for making the most of your window light is to use frosted film on the glass. It’s easy to apply, is available in many decorative designs and can be used all over the window or just on the bottom half, for instance. It retains privacy while letting in maximum light.

2. Reflect!
A really simple and easy way to make the most of the light in your room is to hang lots of mirrors. Put a large one right opposite the window and watch the daylight double.

Lots of little, beautifully-framed mirrors in dark corners will multiply the light wonderfully, while looking really decorative too. An added bonus of multiple mirrors is that they also make your room look bigger.
In really dark, narrower spaces like hallways, put two same-sized mirrors opposite each other and let the light bounce between them. Putting a mirror at the end of a short and dark space will make it feel longer and lighter.

3. Roll on!

If you have patterned wallpaper or dark painted walls, roll on a lighter colour paint.

Go for an eggshell or even a matt finish – they will both reflect light softly and evenly without glare. The paler colours won’t absorb light but will help to throw it back into the room. This works especially well in small dark spaces and can make them seem bigger than they are too.

You don’t have to stop at painting the walls either. If you like the look, try painting the floorboards white and adding a bright rug.

Alternatively, go for light-coloured carpet or pale wood laminate flooring to bounce the daylight around. The room will look much larger and brighter.

4. When is a door not a door?

When it’s a window too!

Changing a solid door for a glass one, or even just swapping a panel within an existing interior or exterior door, is a great way to let light flow through your spaces. For privacy where needed, use frosted or patterned glass, or apply the same frosted film mentioned above. It’s a much cheaper alternative and is easy to change if you want a new look.

5. A new view
If the quick fixes don’t give you the extra light you need, then this is the time to think about actually adding some brand-new daylight access.

Putting in a new window, patio doors, dormer or skylight needs careful planning and you’ll want to take advice from an expert. Call on your local, friendly architectural advisor – be it an architect or architectural technician, to get some help in choosing the best and safest place for your new window.

They can assess the structure of your walls or roof and advise on where will work best, what measures are going to be needed to maintain structural integrity and what style or design would look good there. For fundamental changes to the front of your property, you may need planning permission and your architectural advisor can help you with that too.

Maybe consider some more unusual ideas, like putting smaller windows near the ceiling rather than larger ones taking up lots of wall space.

This can give you the light you need without taking up the whole wall area. It’s a good idea for small areas where you want to have maximum storage or space for furniture against the wall.

A light-coloured ceiling will reflect the light downwards where you want it. This house extension image includes a ceiling window too, for maximum impact.

More help?
These are just a few ideas to make the most of the natural light in your home. There are more things you can do with clever artificial light to help boost that airy feeling and we’ll explore those in another post.

However, if you think that adding new windows might be the way to go and you’re looking for architects in Dublin, give us a call to get advice and help with your project.

Based in Rathfarnham, at Architectural Drawings and Building Services we are happy to assist and partner you through the whole process of adding new windows to your home to really let the sunlight into your life.