The natural light during the days of autumn and winter is much weaker than the rest of the year, and together with the nights draw in early, our homes can sometimes be a little dark and gloomy from mid-afternoon onwards. This can affect our mood, possibly making us feel lethargic and even low or depressed.
If your rooms are looking dim and starting to get you down at this time of year, don’t worry as there’s a number of things you can do to lighten your home and hopefully lift your mood, too.
DOORS & WINDOWS
Having a front door with a glass section or two can really help to illuminate an otherwise dark hallway and by switching any internal solid doors for designs featuring clear or frosted glass, this will also allow light to flow through your rooms. If windows are small or cluttered, the house is bound to feel dark and closed in. Clean the glass thoroughly inside and out for a sparkly clear view and remove any heavy curtains or blinds, switching them for lighter fabrics and colours. Bear in mind though, all curtains will partially obscure the windows even when pulled back, so an alternative is to lose them completely and apply some frosted film to your glass instead. They will give you the privacy you need but still allow the light to come through, in a slightly more diffused way.
If you are planning to redesign some of your rooms in the future, think about the possibility of increasing the window openings to a larger size or consider adding a roof light to a dark bathroom or loft bedroom.
If your house has a series of small, gloomy rooms, it may have crossed your mind to knock some of the internal walls down to make your home more light and airy. A more open plan living space definitely helps the light to flow through from one area to another. Obviously you will need to consult a structural engineer before removing any walls in your home.
Another great option is to add a roof lantern, such as slim-line ultrasky aluminium roof lanterns. As you can see in the photo above, these beautifully stylish structures will flood a room with natural daylight and also create a surprising and stunning decorative feature in your home. This is something I would love to add above our kitchen extension someday to really elevate the ceiling, make the space feel roomier and capture as much of that precious daylight as possible. Installing bi-fold doors is another option to consider, as they can be fitted across an entire external wall, maximising the incoming light. Tiny bathrooms or interior stairwells with no natural daylight can also benefit from the addition of solar light tunnels, which are basically a tube system fitted via the roof with a clear dome facing the sky and mirrors along the tube to direct the daylight into your particular problem area.
DÉCOR CHOICES AND LIGHTING
Keeping your walls and ceilings fresh and light in colour will help a room feel brighter, and did you know there are even paints available on the market with special light reflecting properties, such as Dulux Light & Space? Swapping heavy dark wooden furniture and black or brown leather sofas for lighter wood and fabric finishes will help to keep the light bouncing around a room rather than merely absorbing it. Mirrors on the wall are a great device to further reflect light within a room and even displaying metallic accessories such as candleholders and vases can all help. Keep clutter to a minimum and large furniture, such as wardrobes, away from windows. A variety of table and floor lamps dotted throughout a room works best for illuminating a dark space, rather than harsh overhead light that can tend to accentuate a room’s gloomy corners. There are lots of brighter, energy efficient bulbs on the market these days too.
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