Taking Advantage of the Sun

7 Tips on How to Increase Natural Light in Your Home

Posted by Sirena Rubinoff | Sep 01, 2009
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Your home is your heaven and let's face it, did you ever picture heaven as a place filled with darkness? No, it's full of light and that's how your home could be too! So, if you're tired of waking up in a dim house and don't have the means to install large glass skylights in every room and hallway, check out our 7 tips on how to benefit from all that heavenly natural sunlight just waiting outside.

Need Direction?

Your home may not be very well equipped to take in natural sunlight right now, but the potential is there and you can start by learning about the directions that light travels. Areas facing south, southeast and southwest receive the most natural light throughout the day and year. South is the direction you want any new windows, glass doors, and solar panels to face in order to make the most of your natural light settings. Areas facing the east will receive morning light with sunrise and areas facing the west will receive afternoon and evening light as the sun sets. North-facing windows are something you might want to avoid if you're looking for more light in your home because these areas, including northeast and northwest, do not receive direct sunlight.

Tubular, Dude!

If you're dealing with rooms without southward-facing windows and you can't install new windows, consider tubular skylights. These vertical tubes go through the roof and attic space in order to focus outdoor sunlight into a specific room directly below. They have two advantages over traditional skylights: they’re much more cost effective because installation doesn’t require major construction and they don't let in ultraviolet rays, so your furniture and carpets won't fade. Most tubular skylights are designed to bring more natural light into single-story homes or the top floor of a multi-story home, and not into floors that have rooms above them. However, you can find some tubular skylights with "elbows" that fit around obstacles.

Create an Inviting Entrance

Most entrance foyers are dark because they typically do not have nearby natural light sources, like windows or skylights. An aesthetically pleasing solution is to add glass to your front door, either as panes inside the door itself or as sidelights and overhead transoms. The glass will bring sun into your home's entryway, giving it a feeling of welcoming warmth. And don't worry; you can buy obscure glass, which is specially glazed to let light into the room yet still keep passersby from seeing inside. Use it anywhere from the front door to your bathroom or bedroom windows. Another option, tinted glass, provides privacy and insulation from the sun using a transparent plastic film or metallic laminate. You might also want to check out frosted glass, stained glass, or thin adhesive films.

Color Me Beautiful

Your interior color scheme will also help determine how light your room appears. Bright colors, like whites and pastels, bounce sunlight around the room, while dark colors absorb the light. Change the appearance of your dark rooms simply by painting the walls a lighter color so that they can reflect more of the existing natural light in your home. Glossy paints are best because they reflect the most light. Hire a professional painter for a high quality job that will make your home shine.

Set Your Windows Free!

While you're redoing your color scheme, rethink your window treatments as well. Heavy draperies tend to block light even when pulled away from the window. Consider switching to simple, lightweight curtains that reveal the whole window when opened. Sheer translucent curtains even allow light into your home while closed, allowing you to maintain privacy yet still take advantage of the daylight. Remember, the color of your lightweight curtain will influence the hue of the ambient light in your room. Create a wash of golden light through the installation of gold or yellow curtains, or add a rosy tint to your room with red or burgundy curtains.

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall...

Don't forget about mirrors when revamping your home's natural lighting situation. Place these shiny beauties strategically to reflect sunlight into the shadier areas of any room, whether kitchen, bedroom, or bathroom. Plus, they double as an elegant, stylish decor accent, and simultaneously add the illusion of more space!

Make Your Floors Shine

Polished floors reflect light. Carpets absorb it. If you have a lot of carpet in your home, you might want to replace some of it with hard flooring, such as wood. It’s easier to clean and helps add sunlight to your home. Then take out that mop and get ready to wax because glossy floors not only look great, but also actually add a brighter glow to your rooms.

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