Bringing Natural Light into Your Home: The Ultimate Guide!
There’s nothing like pulling your curtains open on a bright morning and letting the sunshine flood your room with natural light. Feeling the calm, warm as you ease into a new day.
Embracing natural light in your home can make your space feel open and inviting, all while increasing your body’s feel-good serotonin levels. Plus, with “natural light” at the top of many home buyers’ wish lists, this highly sought-after feature has many benefits beyond aesthetics.
“Allowing more natural lighting in our homes has become so important, especially with people working from home and home schooling,” says Corinne Campbell, a REALTOR® and Broker with Select Real Estate Group, eXp brokerage here in Ottawa, Ontario.
This guide will shed some light on the physical, mental, and economical benefits of natural light, as well as some of the ways you can maximize natural light sources in your home.
Understanding the benefits of natural lighting
Maximizing natural light in a space can make it feel larger, more comfortable, and aesthetically pleasing. Beyond enhancing the look and feel of a home, natural light has many other benefits.
Natural light is good for you
A room bathed in natural light can boost your mood by increasing serotonin levels. Access to natural light may also help:
- increase concentration, focus, and productivity;
- improve sleeping patterns, blood pressure, immune system function; and
- reduce stress, anxiety, and the development of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
Natural light saves money and helps the environment
When there is natural light available, dependency on electricity is greatly reduced, which allows you to turn off your lights and cut energy consumption. Not only does decreasing energy usage save you money, but it can also benefit the environment, further reducing the burning of fossil fuels. It’s a win-win!
How to maximize natural light sources in your home
The average Canadian spends about 90% of their day indoors between the office and home. Unfortunately, many homes are not built with natural light in mind, so what can you do to maximize it? Here are some clever ways to brighten up your space by extending natural light:
Yes, sometimes it’s as simple as a can of paint. A light wall colour is the best way to reflect natural light throughout a room. Light colours have a light reflective value (LRV) close to 100%, meaning white is the best option for making a space seem larger and brighter. A higher gloss level is also more reflective, making light bounce much like a mirror. Lastly, don’t forget about the ceiling. Either paint it white or a few shades lighter than the walls to draw the eyes up, creating the illusion of a taller room.
“A good interior paint job can make a world of difference in the brightness level of the home,” explains Arnstein. “A lot of times owners will use very dramatic colours in the home and then not repaint when it’s time to list their home for sale. Having the right paint colour sets the tone and the mood for the potential buyer to feel positive and get a good vibe that this is the right home for them.”
Reflective features and accessories
Strategically placed reflective, shiny, and glossy elements can help bounce natural light around a room. Large mirrors can direct light into dark corners, glossy tiles can reflect light in a bathroom or a kitchen backsplash, and mirrored or chrome accessories and furniture can capture light to draw attention across a room.
Floors are often the last thing we think of when it comes to ways to enhance the natural light in a room. Choosing ceramic, porcelain, or wood floors with a polished finish will reflect more light than carpet. If carpet is your preference, select lighter, neutral colours.
Consider removing large, dark pieces of furniture, such as couches, media units, desks, dressers, and armoires if they’re blocking windows or obstructing natural light. Bulky and heavy window coverings can also block light. Opt for soft, sheer treatments made of breezy cotton or linen to maximize the amount of light they let into a room.
Skylights or Solar Tubes
If adding windows isn’t an option, skylights and solar tubes can be an excellent way to pull light into a room. Solar tubes are a cost-effective option for small, dark areas of a home, like bathrooms, closets, or hallways, and, best of all, they don’t require a major remodel.
Windows and doors
Replacing or adding windows and doors is a big undertaking, but one that can help get you all the natural light your heart desires. Gable windows are also an option for shallow roof pitches and can let in generous amounts of light. Bi-fold doors at the back of a house are an up-and-coming option as they can easily transform an entire wall of your home into glass. It doesn’t get much brighter than that!
Other tips worth considering
Wash your windows
This one might seem obvious, but dirty windows don’t let in light. Give them a good cleaning so they let in as much light as possible.
Remove the screens
While screens come in handy for keeping pests out, they also filter out light, especially during darker winter months. Removing the screens increases the ability for light to flow through the window, adding up to 30% more natural light in the room, according to HouseLogic! It’s an easy, inexpensive, solution that’s best done in the winter when your windows aren’t open.
Trim your greens
Trees, vines, and hedges are great for curb appeal, but not so much for natural light. If you have trees or foliage blocking your windows, it’s time for a little trim! Low-lying perennials or flowers are also an option if overgrown plants need to be replaced.
Be mindful of interior lights
Brighter is not always better, especially when you have artificial lights overpowering natural light. Accentuate natural light by opting for lower wattage interior lights or place them on a dimmer switch so you can reduce their power during the day and increase the light later at night.
Natural light is one of the most beneficial features of a home—from aesthetics to health—it’s no wonder why it’s at the top of many home buyers’ lists of desired features!