Let the Sun Shine In
Enter a house and you know immediately. It’s bright and cheery…………or………..it isn’t. Open and airy brings in natural light, smooths the transition to indoors and offers a welcoming ‘Come On In!‘ feeling.
Is this what you want for people coming through your front door?
Natural light has a measurable impact on our how we’re feeling; more light uplifts our spirits and increases our sense of pleasure, calm and contentment.
(That it also means shrinking electric and heating bills while adding value to our home, is, well, just icing on the cake.)
Consider some easy ways to Lighten Up.
1) Add Exterior Windows. One of the most enduring design trends of the last 25 years is the pronounced use of windows to capture and celebrate light. Placing a window in a dark corner, replacing and expanding existing windows, adding sliding glass doors or a glass wall system, or adding a bank of windows, can change how you view the world each day, and invite the beauty of the outdoors to stream in. Installing dormer or clerestory windows in your roofline can improve the exterior design of your home while adding light and increased usable space to attic and upper floor remodels. For a bonus boost, go with energy efficient window options.
2) Add Interior Windows. Some floor plans minimize or inhibit natural light. More modern layouts are often designed with an open floor plan, high ceilings or tall windows. These reap the benefits of existing light coming in from exterior windows and infuse light throughout the house. Adding a bank of transom windows, or even only one over an existing doorway, will distribute light into darker interior rooms and provide an openness to the interior space. Replacing interior solid doors with ones with glass inserts, or changing a solid wall to a wall of decorative windows will provide needed separation and sound privacy while allowing natural light to pass through. Frosting or etching the glass or window can provide additional privacy.
3) Skylights and Tubular Daylighting Devices. Skylights add architectural interest and light to your interior spaces, especially in spaces where adding windows to existing walls is not possible. Good quality skylights are vastly improved over earlier generations and many come with leak-proof guarantees. With an array of sizes and shapes, skylights can transform drab and dreary spaces, into rooms with “wow” factor.
4) Remove Unneeded Walls or Widen Doorways. Today’s homes, with open kitchens, open floor plans, and “great room” designs, are valued because they maximize natural light and openness. Some older homes have walls or narrow doorways that are barriers to the incoming light. If they are not load bearing, they can be easily removed, making for larger entertaining spaces, more openness, and more light.
5) Use Mirrors to Reflect Incoming Light. Placing a decorative mirror or a grouping of several mirrors opposite an exterior window or well lit spaces can brighten up dark spaces by reflecting the light into the room. Framed mirrors of all shapes, sizes and frame materials have become such a popular design feature, they are now widely available and affordably priced.
6) Lighting. When incoming natural light is just not enough, using lighting fixtures or recessed lights to illuminate are an excellent option. Recessed lighting can be designed to brighten an entire room and add focused light to high need areas such as the range-top and cutting areas, desk or reading spaces, and bathrooms. Adding lighting to a room may be less expensive than you thought and a perfect remedy for dark spaces.
7) Use Paint to Brighten Your Room. While light colored walls reflect natural light, dark rooms with insufficient light can look drab when painted with light colors or white. There just isn’t enough natural light to bring out the color in the paint. To make a dark room feel bright, paint it with bright, highly saturated colors (more pigmented colors.) Also, ceilings painted white reflect the natural light in the room. Painting trim and baseboards white can add brightness to the room by making the deeper, richer wall colors really “pop.”
Brightening up your home can easily transform how you, your family and your guests feel in it.