We don’t need studies to tell us the incredible benefits of natural light exposure (though, there are plenty!). The list of reasons to let the sun shine in seems to go on and on. For starters, sunlight creates an ambiance in your home that is impossible to replicate with even the most upscale light fixtures and installations. Natural lighting makes a room feel much larger than one with artificial light – wall colors pop, textures in furniture and decor stand out, a layer of depth is added and the whole room seems to just come alive. The entire atmosphere changes when you add the gorgeous glow of natural light to a space.
Besides creating the ideal lighting in your living areas, exposure to sunlight has a long list of health benefits, too. There is a reason your body perks up when you open your curtains or step out onto your patio in the morning. Our bodies need sunlight to truly thrive. In addition to increasing Vitamin D, making you feel more awake, and helping you sleep better at night, sunlight also and helps your brain produce more serotonin, the hormone responsible for making you feel happy. And who doesn’t want to feel happy?
Here are a few ways to bring natural light into your home.
Use Lighter Paints
Painting your interior walls a light color is hands down the best way to draw natural light into a room. Warm shades of white make a space feel brighter as it reflects light rather than absorbing it. Cooler tones such as gray, cream or eggshell blue are also beautiful and highly reflective. Ceilings should almost always be painted white though, to increase the light bounce and illusion of depth. Unless you’re really going for a moody look and being okay with a darker vibe, opt for white ceilings. Painting the eaves outside is another effective way of bringing in natural light.
Boost the Gloss
While we’re talking paint, consider using a paint with a satin finish for your walls and ceiling. The higher the gloss, the higher the level of light reflectance, which gives walls a mirror-like effect, but don’t go with the highest gloss paint you can find. Fortunately, paints come in a variety of sheens – so even if you prefer a matte look, eggshell might be a good compromise to help pull in natural light. Or if you prefer eggshell, give semi-gloss a shot.
Utilize Mirrors and Glass
Hanging some gorgeous mirrors on walls opposite windows is a classic way to not only make a room appear larger, but to let in some more light. If you’re finding this isn’t enough, or you just don’t want to hang mirrors all over your house, consider using some glass tiles in your kitchen or bathroom. Glass tiles are incredibly efficient at reflecting light – almost 100 percent of the light that hits them bounces right back. High gloss ceramic tiles are also a great option, and can be quite affordable – glossy subway tile can run as low as $2/sq. ft. Just avoid low-reflection materials such as concrete or pallet wood.
Choose Better Flooring
Don’t overlook your floors, as they reflect almost as much light as your walls. Installing a wood, ceramic or stone floor can give your room a polished finish and reflect more light than carpet. If you really prefer carpet, stick to light or neutral colors.
If your budget allows, installing a skylight is a wonderful way to naturally brighten a room. Skylights also do an excellent job of heating a room, which can help you save on your electric bill over time. If you do opt for a skylight, resist the urge to go the DIY route; this is one change that would require the help of a skilled contractor.
Ditch Heavy Fabrics
It’s important to have window coverings for privacy (and energy efficiency if your windows aren’t sealed well), but they don’t need to be made from heavy fabrics that make a room feel dark and small. Even less intrusive Roman blinds can still block sunlight when they’re open. Opt for blinds, which let you better control the amount of light that comes in. If you really love the look of curtains, linen and cotton are lighter, more breathable alternatives.
Trim Your Landscaping
Don’t forget about the outside of your home. Greenery outside is beautiful, but obtrusive shrubs and tree branches can get in the way of the sun flooding your home with natural light. Put your gardening gloves on and get to trimming the excess green around your doors and windows.
Install New Windows
We’ve saved the most effective tip for last. Installing new, larger windows and doors is the ideal way to boost the amount of natural light in your home. Consult with your contractor about which option would be best for your home. Bi-folding doors are a great choice as they can instantly transform a wall of your home into glass, allowing you to have a better view and much more light! If new windows aren’t in your budget, get to scrubbing your current panes. Dust and dirt can buildup on windows and block natural light.