You know how good it feels to wake up to a nice sunny day: it improves your mood and gives you a sense of wellbeing! Bringing that natural light into your whole home can also improve your health and save on your utility bills—all positive results from free energy from the sun.
Homeowners have discovered the benefits of adding more natural light to their homes and even cite it as a “must-have” feature when looking for a new home. If you’re looking for ways to capture more natural light, consider some of these illuminating ideas:
Add Reflective Objects
Mirrors and shiny objects that reflect the light already coming into your home will brighten the space significantly. Expect double the amount of sunlight when placing items across from a window like decorative wall mirrors, metallic light fixtures and faucets, furniture with glass, chrome or mirrored accents, metal photo frames, or other reflective surfaces.
If you’re updating your kitchen or bathroom, consider adding a reflective tiled backsplash. These trendy additions are available in a variety of designs to match your décor. Choose high-gloss ceramic tile, metallic tiles or glass for maximum light transference.
Install Larger Windows or Doors
If you’re ready for new windows or doors, want to know how to make an old home more energy efficient, or are considering finishing your basement, you can install new, larger windows and doors with an increased glass area. This will bring in more natural light while new energy-efficient features like Low-E glass or Argon gas between panes will protect the interior from harmful UV rays and reduce your utility bills.
“Possibilities are endless,” says Matan Korin, operations manager at Ecoline Windows, “you can replace a solid exterior door with a patio or garden door. This will create a sunroom effect and flood the room with natural light. Add decorative sidelites on either side of your front door to light up your foyer without the need for artificial fixtures.”
While you may not realize it, dirt and grime on your windows and glass doors will cut down on the amount of light penetration into your home. To ensure the maximum amount of sunlight reaches inside, thoroughly wash your windows and glass doors inside and out. You’ll be amazed at how bright your rooms are afterward.
Add Skylights or Solar Tubes
Skylights are making a comeback in homes as new technologies improve ease of use and efficiency. They are available in many sizes and configurations and allow a ton of extra light into high-traffic areas like bathrooms, family rooms and even a kids’ reading nook. Since installing one will require a hole to be cut in your roof, you should probably leave this job for a professional. Once installed, your leak-free skylight will let in plenty of sunlight, moonlight and maybe even some fresh air. New styles include wireless operation through an app on your Smartphone.
Solar tubes are skylights for homes without an open space above. These reflective pipes can be installed in just about every application and can bring natural light up to 30 feet from the roof to the floor below. This project won’t even require major remodeling work, and no light switch will be needed either.
Lighter Window Treatments
While heavy draperies were once used to protect the home from drafty, inefficient windows, new airtight units mean you can lighten up on the window treatments. You can use lightweight sheers or shades that can be opened fully to let the sun shine in. If you live in a rural area without a lot of neighbours, forego the window coverings entirely to capture the maximum light during daytime hours.
Choose Light-Coloured Décor
Introduce lighter colours to walls, flooring and furniture to make your space feel brighter and reflect, rather than absorb, any natural light that does come in. Choose an off-white paint colour instead of a bright white to create a warmer effect. Satin finishes are also more reflective than matte, so your selection will make a difference.
Flooring, too, can help illuminate your home. Choose light, neutral colours and polished finishes when replacing wood, ceramic or stone floors. The same goes for carpeting as lighter hues will add to the reflective quality of the fibres.
You may not have the budget to replace all your furniture, but removing dark upholstered pieces, especially if they’re blocking a window, will help. Choose sofas with legs and glass-top tables to allow light to flow unobstructed throughout the room.
Trim Light-Blocking Trees and Shrubs
Beautiful landscaping with full-grown trees and decorative shrubbery adds great curb appeal to your home. Unfortunately, too much of a good thing can block natural light from entering through windows and doors. Trim tree branches, shrubs and any other landscaping that obstructs the natural light from pouring in.
While you’re outside, take down any awnings over windows. Not only are they out of date, but they can significantly cut down on the natural light that can penetrate through the windows.
On the Lighter Side
It’s easy to take our natural resources like sunlight for granted, but by making a few specific modifications to your home, you can make significant strides in improving your mood, health, quality of life and budget.