The clocks have turned back and those dark nights are really drawing in. We love the cosy hygge vibes that the shorter days bring and embrace the lifestyle changes with each season. Of course, the flip side to shorter days is that we have much less daylight. Which makes it the perfect time to think about how we can really maximise and increase natural light in our homes to reap the benefits in the short time that we have each day.
Exposure to natural daylight is well known to provide far reaching benefits. Health benefits (vitamin D is essential to good health), stress reduction, improved sleep and increased productivity. It’s the ultimate mood booster. Health aside, daylight is a friend of our beloved house plants and can make a home more cost efficient. A light, bright home simply needs fewer lights.
Safe to say, we’re big fans here of anything that makes our home look good and, more importantly, feel good. It’s a lifestyle thing, not just a décor thing. Natural daylight is essential to our wellbeing, therefore it’s a priority in the way we design for our clients. A more is more kind of approach. So, are you sitting in a gloomy room that needs a boost of light? Read on for our top five tips to increase natural light in the home.
It’s an old trick but one of the easiest and most effective. Strategically placed mirrors will bounce the light around the room, giving the sense of daylight from all directions. Place a mirror directly opposite the light source (i.e. windows or doors) to create the illusion of another window where one doesn’t exist. Position a mirror side-on to the light source and let it catch the reflection and bounce the light into the room at an angle which can illuminate the entire space.
Even a tall mirror leant against the wall can reflect the light on to the ceiling, making a bright white space even brighter (assuming it is painted white, more on that later). The same can be said for any reflective surfaces, including glossy tiles, mirrored furniture and gloss metallic accessories. Even reflective appliances can create pockets of light to elevate a space.
The point being, reflective surfaces of all types, shapes and sizes, in any position (as long as it’s not facing away from the light source) can be effective in maximising the light coming into a room. More mirrors equals more light bouncing about.
Natural daylight is one of the many things that should be considered at the planning stage of any home build or renovation. The key is to make sure you go as big as possible with your windows and doors, without compromising the practicality of a space. Enormous windows on all walls to flood a room with light is a beautiful idea, but is there space for storage or furniture where it’s needed?
Once you’ve considered all of the practicalities, plan your new space to have as much light as possible, from all available angles. Doors, windows, skylights and light tunnels are all options to discuss with your architect or interior designer.
The style of the glazing is also important, and again, it’s a balance of form and function. Narrow frames can maximise the amount of glass and therefore light. While Crittal-style glazing is very attractive and popular at the moment, those astragal bars will of course block some light coming in.
Bifolds or sliding doors? Sliding doors usually offer a larger expanse of clear glass than bifolds therefore will let in a little more light when they’re closed, while bifolds are the winners when they’re thrown wide open.
We’ve written before about picture windows and their ability to connect the inside with the outside. But let’s not overlook their ability to let in a tonne of light too! The expanse of clear glass to frame the outside view like a picture means they really are the perfect option for letting in uninterrupted natural light.
These things may not make a huge difference depending on the size of your window or doors, but it’s worth considering at a stage where you have all of the options available to make your space the best it can be.
Here at Hygge & Cwtch Design Studio, we don’t shy away from dark colours in interior design. There’s a time and a place for embracing the darkness of a room. However if your ultimate goal is to create a feeling of airiness and space, then light and bright paint is the only way to go.
This doesn’t necessarily mean pure brilliant white all round, as this toneless shade can make those dark and dingy corners look even worse. Choose a shade which either enhances or balances the natural light coming into your room. This will depend a lot on which direction your room faces. The natural warmth of a directly-lit South-facing room is very different to the colder indirect light of a North-facing room. Finding the right light and bright shade for your room can be a game changer in how the natural daylight is reflected and received.
This is something that an interior designer can help you with to avoid spending all your money and time on buying tester pots. Get in touch if you’d like a steer in the right direction.
One trick to maximising light in the home, is to allow it to flow through the house. Think bigger than just a single room. A great way of achieving this is to opt for internal doors with glass panelling which, for example, will allow the daylight-flooded hallway to pass some of the light through to the slightly gloomy living room. Not only is it another light source but it’s light from another angle. Combined with mirrors or reflective surfaces you have the perfect storm to bounce light all around the room.
If you’re in the mood for knocking down walls, open a space up and allow light to flow through. If you require (or prefer) more separated rooms, then consider a glass partition or doors instead of a solid wall. Allowing the light to flow while still containing the spaces.
A beautiful floor length linen or cotton gently swaying in the breeze can be a thing of real interior beauty. It can also be the ultimate tool in light control. Enough weight for a little privacy and to take the edge off direct sunlight. Sheer enough for light to flow through and keep the room filled with natural daylight.
There may be rooms where you’re not overlooked therefore privacy isn’t an issue, in which case choose integrated or ultra simple blinds, or even none at all, to ensure the light is not restricted. Especially impactful when the window is also a design feature. Those picture windows deserve to be seen in all their glory.
Some rooms may require a high degree of privacy. Bedrooms often need the ability to black out light completely. This is where double curtain poles come in handy. Double up your dressings by layering a weighty blackout curtain over a sheer voile for light-filled day times. Day to night window dressing.
We hope these tips will help you to embrace the cosy season ahead, while also looking after your wellbeing at home. It’s the little things we can do for ourselves which can have a positive impact and can make home such a special place to be.
If you’d like any help with the design of your home, we’d love to hear from you. Send us a quick message today and we’ll be in touch really soon to have a chat!
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