10 Ways To Bring Light Into The Home

The season of cold nights and long evenings is coming to an end, and it’s time to think about bringing back some sunshine to your home. Nothing compares to the warm feeling of sunshine across your face after a cold, dreary winter.  According to The Active Times, there are 15 Health Benefits of Sunshine..  It is advised to get at least 10-15 minutes of sunlight daily.  Sunlight has a huge impact on depression, seasonal affective disorder and sleep quality and can help you lose weight. 



Photo RenoGuide



Now let’s talk about how we can bring sunlight into our homes, as it lifts your spirits, improves your health and even saves on energy.. You want both natural and artificial light in your home to keep it bright, which means that you need as many ways to open up the space as possible to make this light-filled home the norm for you. Earlier this week I discussed designing a small space. Today’s discussion of bringing light into the home is almost a continuation as light makes everything seem bigger.  


Photo Remodelista



Below, you’ll find ten excellent ways you can make your home the brightest space on the block. Let’s take a closer look. We’ll start with the easiest things to do.



I.  Clean The Windows


Yes, I know, you do this anyway. However, nothing compares to the expert window cleaners out there who can do the windows both on the inside and the outside. A good scrub and a dry should make your windows so clear it doesn’t look like there’s anything there in the first place.  Unfortunately my living room windows have a permanent discoloration due to almost 30 years of hot Florida sun, and I’d love to replace them.  You can always look at windows replacement, if you feel your glass needs to be changed. Sometimes, this is the case with older windows that are scratched and damaged: no amount of cleaning will work.




II.  Dress Lightly


Heavy drapes and blinds are great in the winter as they work to keep the heat in the house. However, in the spring and summer months you want to have the light flood in and – with it – the warmth of the sun’s rays. Go for light fabrics; lace or nets for the window and use lightweight curtains. You could even switch to wooden blinds or fabric vertical blinds. Below I love the classic use of sheers with heavy drapes.  When it’s summer, just pull the heavy drapes back to frame the window. 




Or ditch the drapes entirely. 


Photo Remodelista



III. Add Mirrors


The best way to get the light through the house and into the darker corners is with mirrors. You can easily start reflecting light to the corners, and you can hang them strategically to make the light pour through your home. More mirrors = more light;, Country Living has a great article with 6 Ways to Use Mirrors to Make Your Home Feel Bigger and Brighter. Optimize the natural light of your home with the strategic use of mirrors:

  1. Place large mirrors on the floor. 
  2. Dress the mantel.
  3. Create texture with mirrors.
  4. Dress your garden.
  5. Decorate the hallway.
  6. Create the illusion of space with mirrors.


Photo Country Living




 Above: In her small bedroom in Brooklyn, architectural designer Elizabeth Roberts cleverly positions a mirror so that it actually looks like another window. Photograph by Matthew Williams from Remodelista: A Manual for the Considered Home.




IV.  Think About Glass Furnishings


If you want to brighten up your dining room, swap your wooden dining table for a glass one and watch how much space you suddenly seem to have. The light flows through the room better when it;s not blocked by solid furniture, so the whole room is airier and looks fantastic. On the other hand, I tried this a couple of decades ago, and it really made the small space larger. What I didn’t like was constantly cleaning finger prints off the glass. I like to sit at the table with friends and talk, and there were always smudges.   



Photo Wayfair


I find small glass side tables or a bookcase in a room work better for me. A silver or white metal etagere bookcase with glass shelves takes little room visually and reflects light.



Photo Wayfair



V. Clear The Windows


If you have tables, sofas or bookcases near windows, move it all out of the way. You want to ensure that the natural light flowing in has a clear route through the room and you can see the house properly. Move the furniture away from the windows and see the light immediately flood through. You could use a small table that is below the window ledge and does not interfere with light. How about a built-in bookcase below the window?





VI. Repaint


Color can either absorb or reflect light. It’s nice to have rich colors on the walls, but the dark colors mean a darker room, even with huge windows to replace the small ones. Lighter colors will reflect the light. Repainting in a pale color will make a difference to the light in your space. It’s a great trick.  Use satin or semi-gloss paint to add to the reflective qualities.


Photo RenoGuide


Below House Beautiful shares a cream living room designed by Heidi Caillier. Cream is warmer than white, but the jute rug, wood finishes, and brass accents are reflected by the paint color. The cool marble contrasts with it nicely.






For those who desperately need color, Freshome has an interesting article, Room Color and How it Affects Your Mood. You do not have to have an all-white home. That would be boring. For example, blue is my favorite color.  I agreed with their statement that what looks great on a small color chart does not always look good on the walls. I once painted a bedroom blue and then was not happy with the shade when I saw it on the walls.    I enjoyed their discussion of balancing a cool color, like light blue, with warmer shades in furnishings and fabrics. So many types of blues were also discussed. They suggested avoiding dark blue as the main color as it evokes the feeling of sadness.    I found it fascinating. Of course many other colors were discussed.  Don’t forget about the ceiling. if you paint the ceiling a few shades lighter than the walls, the room will feel larger, taller and brighter.



VII. Install Larger Windows or Doors


If you’re in the market for new windows or doors, now is the perfect time to expand the openings to increase the amount of natural illumination. Advances in window manufacturing allow for minimal framework so there is more exposed glass. Choose picture, bow or bay windows for the greatest impact. You could also remove heavy wood doors and replace them with tempered glass in your home. If you don’t need the door, you could totally remove it, keep the arch and let light in.


Photo King Shade and Window



VIII. Add More Reflective Surfaces


Earlier we discussed adding mirrors to reflect light into corners. Now let’s talk about adding more shiny objects to your rooms.  Really it’s part of having a mix of textures in your design.  You don’t want everything to be shiny, but a few reflective surfaces will help bounce light around your room.  I like a variety with some opposites in the mix.  Besides the glass tables, you could also consider:

  • Metallic light fixtures and faucets
  • Silver photo frames
  • Decorative nickel cabinet pulls
  • Metallic finish on the ceiling
  • Other “reflective” surfaces



Photo Overstock.com



IX. Replace Wall With Window or Glass Blocks


In my post, How To Decorate Small Living Spaces, I discussed replacing part of a wall with a window as shown below.



Photo Cote Maison


If  you love retro, you could also consider replacing an interior or exterior wall with  glass blocks.  A popular option during the Art Deco eras of the 1920’s and the 1980’s, this contemporary look is making a comeback. New designs offer unique textures and color shading to match any architectural style. They let light penetrate without compromising privacy, security or energy efficiency. Use them in place of standard basement windows to increase light penetration in the darkest space in your home, the basement.  Below is a custom home with a foyer with a lighted glass block wall via 55+TLC:




X. Add Skylights


Adding natural light and fresh air from above makes a dramatic difference to any room.  Skylights come in a variety of sizes and configurations and are often used in high-traffic spaces like bathrooms and family rooms. Be sure and use a professional for this home improvement as you are compromising your roof  unless it is installed properly.  Below a single window in the roof totally transforms an attic bedroom. Photo via Velux.




In conclusion…


Look at your home with fresh eyes.  Consider your walls, furniture placement, use of mirrors, and window coverings as you think of ways to add light to your home. Look outside and cut back bushes and trees that block the light entering your windows. Remove furniture that blocks the sunlight and enjoy the beauty of light in your home.



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I was raised in Tennessee but have lived in Florida for many years. Love my small home in the Tampa Bay area and its developing garden. My decorating style is eclectic - some vintage, some cottage, all with a modern flair. Pursuing a healthier lifestyle. Spent many years in social services but am happily retired.

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