Let the Light In! How to Optimize the Natural Lighting in Your Space
Windows and natural light are an important design element that are often overlooked. With Spring on it’s way, we find ourselves drawn more to the outdoors and craving that sunshine! In addition, it might be the perfect time to go on a special getaway and let us handle the renovation while you’re gone.
Windows can add character and dimension to a space, enhance your view, and impact the amount of light you’re able to get. When doing a renovation, consider whether it would be a worthwhile investment to add any additional windows, move locations of windows, or perhaps make current ones larger!
The colour of your flooring can also make a huge impact on how bright your space is. If having a bright space is important to you and you have limited windows or natural light, choosing light-coloured flooring will reflect the light and make the space much brighter than it would be with darker floors. If you can’t change your flooring, using a large light-coloured rug can make a big impact too! If the room below had a dark rug, the lighting and feeling of the room would be completely different!
If you’re not looking to replace any windows or flooring at this time, here are some tips that will help to maximize the windows and space you do have:
When using draperies as a decorative element, hang them as close to the ceiling as possible, and as far past the sides of the windows as possible. The height of the draperies makes the ceiling look taller, making the room look larger, and hanging them wider than the windows also makes the window appear larger. In addition, you are allowing more light to come through by not blocking too much of the window. You can have the draperies just overlapping the window by a couple of inches.
Keep in mind whether you will need to close the draperies fully at any point or not, as this will impact how wide the actual panels should be, and where you are able to hang them on the sides of the window. They can be hung wider than the windows and still be fully functional if needed; this is accomplished by increasing the fullness of the draperies and is usually done with custom draperies. You can read more about custom draperies in this post.
When considering inside-mounted window coverings such as blinds and cellular shades, keep in mind that when the blind is pulled all the way up, there will be what is called the “stack” at the top. If your blinds are too long for the window (like what can happen when the blind was a stock size and not custom), or with a very large window, you may end up with a large stack at the top of the window, which ends up blocking some of the natural light. If you don’t want this to happen, then custom draperies that can be fully pulled back during the day will be your best bet! Other options would include roller shades and cellular shades that will have a small stack (if the window is smaller), and outside-mounted shutters.
Hang mirrors! Mirrors reflect light and make a space look and feel larger. When choosing a spot to hang a mirror, be mindful of what will be seen in the reflection in the mirror. You want to avoid having a reflection of something you don’t want to see (like maybe a messy kid’s play room or a reflection of a toilet from a nearby bathroom). Also keep in mind that you probably won’t want to reflect direct sunlight in a hot south-facing or west-facing room.
And last but not least, use light paint colours. You can get away with dark floors if you have light walls and good-sized windows. In general, incorporating light-coloured furniture and accessories will all help to lighten the space and enhance your natural light!
I hope this helps you get some ideas on how to improve the natural lighting in your home!
Thanks for reading!
Courtney Macoy, Junior Interior Designer
Marianne Elizabeth Design