Winter means shorter days and often more time spent indoors. No one wants to spend time in an environment that’s cold, dark and filled with shadows. Increasing natural light in your home has many benefits, including lower energy bills, reduced dampness and mould and improved well-being.
It is proven that natural light positively impacts our health, well-being and productivity. Exposure to natural light boosts serotonin (the hormone responsible for stabilising your mood) production. So, it makes sense then that a home that is full of natural light feels welcoming and improves our general well-being.
Many factors prevent natural light from streaming into our homes. Neighbouring buildings casting shadows, windows shaded by trees, small rooms with tiny windows and poorly oriented designs are just a few. The less light we have in our homes, the more often we turn on lights and heaters.
Fortunately, there are lots of cost-effective ways to let the light in!
Squeaky clean windows
You will be surprised by the difference this simple chore can make. Keeping your windows free of dust, dirt and grime both inside and out increases the amount of light that can enter a room and improve the view. All you need is a bucket of water, a squeegee and a clean, soft cloth for polishing.
Keep light sources unobstructed
Think about where your furniture is positioned. Place it away from the windows to allow the maximum light to flow unhindered.
Head outside and tidy the garden. If there are trees, shrubs or climbers obstructing windows, prune them back during Autumn. Then, when summer returns, you may like to let them grow again to help with the heat.
Stick to a pale colour palette
Painting the walls in shades of white, cream, beige and even very pale grey will make any room feel brighter. Lighter colours reflect more light and make rooms feel more spacious. It’s the reason why ceilings are normally painted white.
In addition, swapping out dark, heavy furniture for lighter coloured alternatives will make a room feel fresher and lighter.
If a room full of white feels a bit clinical, you can break it up with bright pops of colour using cushions and soft furnishings. A sure way to brighten any winter day!
Dress your windows to impress
Try some lighter window dressings in rooms that don’t require blockout curtains for sleeping. Sheer curtains, vision blinds, vertical blinds or plantation shutters are great options in your living room, dining room or kitchen. They allow light in while still providing privacy from the street outside.
Mirror, mirror on the wall
Mirrors and reflective surfaces reflect light back into the room, giving the impression that a room is lighter than it is. A decorative mirror from a second-hand shop is an affordable and interesting way to brighten your lounge room or bedroom. Positioning it opposite a window or door can have a transformative effect. Shiny bronze or silver coloured vases or planters are a great way to step up your indoor plant game.
If you’re looking for a bigger project, using a mirrored splashback in the kitchen will add a touch of elegance and reflect light into the space. You can also opt for glossy cabinetry, glazed wall tiles or bright quartz countertops for a similar effect. Built-in robes with mirrored or glass doors are a clever and functional way to bring more light into bedrooms.
Doors with windows
If you have solid external doors that face your garden, courtyard or balcony, you might like to try replacing them with a door that has a window to allow for light in. Sliding glass doors create a seamless connection to the outdoors and maximise the natural light. Just be sure that you choose a door that is rated for external use.