I grew up on a densely wooded lot in a tiny town in Pennsylvania. Wayne often jokes that I grew up on Endor – ya know the forest moon on Return of the Jedi? Yeah, it was a bit like that – without the speeder bikes or Ewoks but with lots of playing in the woods, fort building and fire-fly catching.
Now, my father was absolutely adamant when the house was built that he didn’t want to cut any more trees than was absolutely necessary. This was fine of course except that it meant we had huge trees surrounding the entire house and well, it was DARK in there because the trees naturally blocked out sunlight. I remember my parents getting into ‘heated discussions’ because my mother wanted him to take down a few more trees and he was dead set against it. I think he relented eventually, compromising on removing a few of the closest ones. And I remember the difference it made when the house suddenly got a whole light lighter.
If you remember my post from a few months ago, I decided swap to a lighter colour in my dining room – spending a lot of time in a dark space during the day was affecting me psychologically and I knew I needed to change it. I also created a handy flow chart to help you to decide whether or not to paint your room dark. In that post, I explored different factors that should go into making that decision, including how a darker room makes you feel. Going from a dark colour to a light one was a game-changer for me. It may seem obvious now but at the time, I hadn’t realised just how much that paint colour was affecting the amount of natural light the room got.
So there are times when a room may get less than an optimum amount of light and if painting the walls a dark colour and just ‘going with it’ isn’t an option, then how can you go about creating a light bright space? I’ve teamed up once again with Network VEKA today to share some ideas for bringing more light into a room. Some of these involve simple changes, some of them are a bit more involved but all of them will create more light in a space that lacks it naturally.
Change Your Wall Colour
So let’s talk about the most obvious option first. Dark paint colours look amazing, there is no doubt about that but a lighter colour scheme will naturally make a room look lighter. I mean, that’s kind of a given and why I decided to put this first on the list. The difference in terms of how bright my dining room is now is crazy and it’s made all the difference to how I feel. In my north east facing living room, I’ve gone the same route because the room just doesn’t get a lot of light during the day. So your room may simply need a swap of paint. Easy-peasy.
Change Your Curtains
This is another easy one. If you have quite thick heavy curtains in a room, they will not only keep in the heat, they will also block any light coming into the space. So if you are looking to boost how much light you get, then consider swapping those heavy fabrics with lighter ones that allow the light to filter into the room. For privacy, install blinds or shutters that allow you to easily change the quantity of light that enters the room.
Is the reason you have heavy curtains due to drafty windows? Check out Network VEKA’s vast member database to swap your windows to more energy efficient ones.
Use Reflective Materials
There are so many materials these days that will reflect any light you do get and bounce it around the room. Mirrors are the most obvious ones – choose one that’s opposite a window and instantly double the amount of light a room gets. We used this trick in both our dining room and our living room and it’s made an incredible difference. Plus it’s pretty instant – hang mirrors and boom. Job done.
However, there are other materials you can also use to reflect light. Metallics naturally reflect light and while it won’t necessarily make your room 10 shades brighter, you will get a subtle effect of an increased amount of light in a space. Consider as well other light-reflecting materials like tiles, glossy paint finishes, lacquered furniture or anything with glass.
Check out the Pinterest board I created with Network VEKA for some additional ideas on reflective materials that are bang on trend.
Consider Your Flooring
We often forget about our flooring when it comes to brightening up a room but using a lighter, paler colour on the floor will actually increase how light a room looks. Painted floorboards are a beautiful idea and work well with lots of different styles – from Scandi to French to Farmhouse and in the right space, can look rather wonderful.
You might also want to consider a polished floor. While it will likely be a little harder to keep clean, a high shine finish will also bounce any light around a space.
Remove outdoor trees or bushes
Much like what I talked about at the start of my post, if you have large trees or bushes that are hanging over your windows, you may want to think about pruning them back or removing them all together.
Bear in mind, if you do live in the UK, you may have to request planning permission to remove trees, even if they are on your property. Check with your local authority where you live to make sure you aren’t breaking the law or the tree isn’t already protected with a Tree Preservation Order. If your neighbours have trees that are overhanging and blocking light on your property, then it’s always best to contact your neighbour first and go through the appropriate channels to remove any branches that are overhanging on your own property.
Swap to a glazed front door
Entrance hallways, especially long narrow ones common in Victorian and Edwardian homes here, can often be kind of dark and boring (like mine!). Take advantage of any light that comes into the front of your property by installing glass transoms above or to the sides of your door or consider a door with glass windows. For privacy, you can always get frosted glass or a window film.
Change internal doors to glazed doors
I have always loved the look of French doors in a property. Not only do you get a much lighter, airier look than a solid door, you’ll also be able to ‘borrow’ any light from an adjoining room. Steel framed doors are very much in vogue at the moment as well and they just look spectacular as a feature with their black frame outlines contrasted against light walls. Very swoonworthy indeed.
Add or replace windows
Moving to suggestions that take a bigger investment, consider the windows you have. Can you benefit by swapping them for larger windows or perhaps even adding glass doors that lead to the outside? Think about where light comes from in a room – is it possible to add windows where there are none? The more windows you have, the more light your room will get. Seems obvious, right?
Add a skylight
For internal rooms, is it possible to bring in light from above? There are so many options now available on the market from Tubular Daylighting Devices (TDDs) to simple skylights that will brighten up a dark room or bring shafts of light into a dark hallway.
Remove internal walls
And finally, utilising a more open plan scheme in your home will always create more light in a home and a sense of openness. Borrowed light from any side of your home is allowed the freedom to move across to darker spots, maximising the natural light and creating a brighter space.
Let me just finish off by saying that I understand how hard it is to find reliable tradesmen. I’ve recently had experience of both kinds – good and bad – and I’ve had so many of you sharing your own stories of regret when it came to hiring work out. If you are looking to add new windows, skylights or doors, Network VEKA is a nationwide organisation representing only the very best local uPVC window and door companies in the industry.
What do I like about them and why have I teamed up with them on my blog? Well, becoming a member is extremely difficult and so the companies who belong to the network have to commit to upholding strict standards of workmanship, training and customer satisfaction. And once you become a member, those standards have to be continuously upheld. With a white glove service of care, knowledge and attention to detail, you’ll know you’re getting the best tradesmen around for your installation. The work they do is also guaranteed for 10 years. Seems like a win-win in my book, wouldn’t you agree?
So tell me, how have you brought additional light into your home?
Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Network VEKA but all words and opinions are my own. I only work with companies I really like and think you will too! Thanks for supporting the brands that support Swoon Worthy!