Increasing the amount of natural light that comes into your home is one of the most valuable changes you can make. Not only is it a key feature people look for when buying a property, but having a home that’s filled with light makes it seem warm and welcoming – and helps us feel happier. Plus, it can reduce your energy bills and even improve your health.
However, many homes weren’t built with the concept of natural light in mind, and if you feel your home is too dark, you’re not the only one. While you may not be able to physically turn your home around to face the sun, there are many things you can do to make your home lighter and brighter.
From big changes, like redoing your flooring, to small ones, like hanging more mirrors, here are 10 ways to bring more light into your home.
1. Add skylights
Probably the most effective way of allowing more natural light into your home is to add skylights.
Because they let in ‘top light’, which is three times brighter than light that comes in from the sides, skylights are far more effective than windows when it comes to making your home brighter.
Plus, skylights are less likely to be blocked by objects outside, and even when it’s cloudy, the sunlight is reflected off the clouds and into your home. So, if you’re able to install a skylight, it’s definitely worth it.
High-traffic rooms, like bathrooms and kitchens, are great places for a skylight, but they also work really well in top hallways, flooding the whole corridor with glorious sunshine.
Skylights can be easily installed in both flat and pitched roofs, and while you’ll need to hire an expert for the installation, it’s probably cheaper than you think. Skylights very rarely require planning permission either, though it’s best to double-check with your council.
2. Use light-coloured paint
One of the easiest ways to bring more light into your home is to paint the walls in soft colours. While dark colours absorb light, pale colours reflect it, acting like a mirror and scattering light across the room.
Colourful statement wallpaper and dark-coloured walls might be a bold look, but if you’re looking for light, they’re not the best choice.
However, bright white can often look a bit cold, so it can help to choose off-white or cream shades instead, as these create a warmer effect. If you want to incorporate some colour, light, neutral, and earthy shades can help maintain a feeling of space.
Another good trick is to go for gloss paint instead of matte. The glossier your walls are, the more light will be reflected. If you don’t like gloss paint, try a semi-gloss for a subtler look.
And don’t forget to paint the ceiling! Painting it a few shades lighter than the walls creates the illusion of height and makes the room feel bigger, airier, and brighter.
3. Think about your flooring
Changing your flooring may not seem like the most obvious choice when it comes to making your home look lighter, but it can have a significant impact .
We know that dark coloured walls absorb light, creating darker spaces, and the same rules apply to flooring.
Choosing the right flooring means your floor can act as a light reflector, sending light ricocheting around the room. White tiles are one of the most reflective flooring types, they’re by no means the only option.
Any flooring with a polished finish, whether that’s wooden, laminate, ceramic, or stone, will reflect far more light than dull materials like carpet. If you don’t want hard flooring in certain rooms, try to go for pale-coloured carpets.
4. Add more mirrors
Another quick and easy way to pull in more natural light is to add mirrors. When positioned correctly, mirrors can be the most effective way to create the illusion of a larger, lighter space – and they reflect sunlight that would otherwise be absorbed into the wall.
Hanging mirrors directly opposite windows is a great way to make the most of the natural light available – especially if you’re working with a small space.
You don’t have to spend a fortune, either, as you’ll probably be able to find decent second-hand mirrors in charity shops.
Aside from wall-mounted mirrors, there are other ways you can make use of mirrors’ reflective powers. For example, installing a mirrored backsplash in your kitchen can make the room look more elegant while also reflecting light. Mirrored furniture, like wardrobes and tables, have the same effect and are another great way to maximise daylight.
5. Consider your furniture
Another easy – and inexpensive way – to bring more light into your home is to reassess furniture arrangements.
Have a look around your home for any big, boxy furniture that might be blocking the light. Large pieces of furniture should ideally be moved away from the windows, as this will allow more light to stream in.
Too many items of furniture can also make rooms feel cramped, so ask yourself if you really need each item, or if you can clear some extra space by giving some things away, or selling them. Have a go at rearranging your furniture too; angling it towards the window will help it to reflect more light.
If you’re planning on buying some new upholstered furniture, try to select pale colours, particularly for sofas and other large pieces of furniture. If you want to inject some colour, you can add bright accent pieces like cushions or blankets, which will provide contrast and colour without sacrificing much light.
If you have a dark sofa and don’t have the money for a new light-coloured replacement, why not buy a pale throw for it? Small touches like this can make more difference than you think!
6. Choose lighter window dressings
Just like bulky furniture, heavy blinds and curtains block out sunlight. Your windows are a key ingredient in your fight for light, so taking care when dressing them is crucial. While privacy is important, window dressings should never be the reason a room feels dark!
If you like curtains, avoid heavy, brocade materials or velvet, and try to choose natural, airy fabrics which are easier to pull back in the day. You can also install curtain hooks to help you get as much material out of the way as possible. Linen or cotton are good options, and you can buy blackout curtains if you want it to be dark at night.
If you’re not concerned about it being very dark at night, sheer voile curtains are an excellent option for the bedroom. They allow light to shine through while still maintaining privacy, and if you select single-panelled sheer curtains, you can easily pull them back in the morning.
Prefer blinds? Try to choose ones that can be rolled up or opened easily. Blinds make it easy for you to control the amount of light coming in and you can adjust them with the movement of the sun. This can offer you privacy while creating lovely lines of light.
7. Invest in your doors and windows
If you can afford it, one of the most effective ways to increase the natural light in your home is to invest in some new doors and windows. Installing large windows is, of course, a great way to bring in more daylight and it also extends your view outside.
If you have a downstairs room that backs onto a garden, you might want to think about replacing the exterior wall with a glass patio door. This is a great way to enable light to stream through an entire wall of your home.
While this won’t be cheap, its effect can be astonishing – and it’ll add value to your property too. Bi-folding doors are a great choice for darker kitchens and dining rooms, as they blur the lines between indoor and outdoor living spaces, essentially creating a sunroom.
8. Enhance with artificial light
While most people want to bring daylight into their home, it’s important to think about artificial light too. Artificial light should enhance and complement natural light, and it’s an excellent option in darker areas of your home where natural light doesn’t reach, like alcoves, corners, or corridors.
One of the best additions you can make to your lighting is to install dimmer switches. These allow you to have total control over how a space is lit, meaning you can tweak and adjust the brightness levels as the light changes throughout the day.
There are three main types of artificial light. The first is ambient lighting, which diffuses evenly through a room – so things like ceiling lights, floor lamps, and table lamps. Then there’s accent lighting, which is brighter and more directional and is usually focused on room centrepieces. And, finally, task lighting refers to strong light sources that are used for specific purposes, like desk lamps that shine onto a keyboard.
Depending on how light a room is, you don’t need to incorporate all three forms of lighting. But it’s helpful to be aware of the different ways you can illuminate a room and to think about how you can use artificial light to enhance natural light.
9. Decorate with reflective accessories
Mirrors aren’t the only decoration that reflects light. Metallic and glass accessories also reflect light back into the room and help make the most of the space available.
You might want to think about adding glazed wall tiles to your kitchen as these reflect almost 100% of the light that hits them. High gloss ceramic tiles have a similar effect, and if you pair these with light quartz countertops, you’ll increase the reflective properties of the room once again. Glass or glazed cabinets also boost the flow of light into dark corners.
Smaller reflective decorations can have a surprisingly powerful effect too. Think about ways you can add more reflective accessories into your home – from metallic light fixtures and taps to silver photo frames and shiny metal cabinet handles.
10. Wash your windows
And finally, a small but important step: give your windows a good wash! This might seem obvious, but since dirty windows reduce the amount of light entering your home by around 40%, making sure both interior and exterior windows are spotless will help the maximum amount of sunlight to filter through and brighten up your home.
Your windows may not look dirty, but chances are they’re grubbier than you think. Give one window a good wipe, then have a look at the cloth…unless it comes away clean, it’s probably a good time to give all your windows a thorough wash.
Bringing more light into your home will make rooms appear larger, brighter, and airier – and it’ll also make your home feel more welcoming. Plus, having lots of sunlight streaming in can work wonders for your mood.
Some of the suggestions in this article involve minor renovations, like installing glass patio doors or skylights, or changing your flooring – and while these may be expensive, they’re great ways to add value to your home, as well as make it look more welcoming.
However, you don’t have to spend much to make your home look lighter. Buy some off-white paint for the walls, pick up some second-hand mirrors to reflect light around a room, or top a dark sofa with a pale throw. And if nothing else, don’t forget to give your windows a proper wash!
Would you like to have a lighter home? Are you interested in making any of the changes above – or do you have any additional tips for creating a brighter home? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.