Recent studies have confirmed what many homeowners have known for years: the more natural light in the home, the better.
Not only is natural light the number one feature people look for when buying a home, it also greatly contributes to a homeowner's day-to-day happiness, productivity, and overall well being. Plus, it makes your space look and just plain FEEL better!
While a design-build home remodel will guarantee a brighter and more naturally-lit space, it’s certainly not your only option. If you live in one of Ann Arbor’s older homes (which historically have small or inadequate windows) or are struggling with a modern home that just doesn’t get a lot of natural light, a few simple changes will make your rooms feel lighter and brighter.
Reconsider your window treatments
First things first, it’s time to get rid of those dark and heavy window treatments. Homeowners often originally choose this type of covering as a way to ensure complete privacy. But heavy curtains or dark-colored blackout shades do more than keep your home shut off from the eyes of strangers; they also suck up light and are counterproductive to your cause.
Don’t worry, there are hundreds of window treatment options that will provide the privacy you need and fit with the style of your home without turning your space into a dungeon.
At the very least, choose a covering that can be easily moved out of the way and won’t inhibit light from flowing in when opened. Some of the best options include…
Woven wooden blinds
Linen (or linen lookalike) curtains
You may also want to consider purchasing window coverings that integrate with a home automation system. This allows you to open and close your windows with a remote or on a schedule — which is particularly helpful for hard-to-reach areas. It also saves you the hassle of opening and closing your coverings every day and allows you to fully maximize the amount of light in your home.
If possible, install more windows
A full remodel may not be possible, but if you do have the ability to make minor updates, we recommend adding additional windows. Whether it’s a few bay windows, french doors, turning one side of your house into a wall of windows, or even just installing some skylights or tubular daylighting systems — the more windows, the more light.
For the best result, always work with an experienced remodeler to install new windows. Not only can they ensure a seamless window addition, they will help you understand where the best place to install the windows will be in order to maximize light.
Add mirrors to reflect light
We can’t say enough about the power of mirrors for brightening your home. Mirrors bounce the light off its surface and help fill your space with light. Even just a few strategically-placed mirrors can double the amount of sunlight in your room.
Look at how the light shines through your windows and situate mirrors in a way that catches this light. For example, directly across from the largest window in your room. In darker areas where there are no windows (like a hallway), hanging mirrors can help transfer light from other areas of the house.
Trim trees around your window
Do you have trees, bushes, or other plants right outside your windows? They may be keeping light from getting in.
Ensure any bushes or trees surrounding your windows are trimmed on a regular basis. You may even consider hiring a landscaper to remove especially thick shrubbery and recommend a better, more light-friendly option.
For example, did you know that you should avoid planting large trees on the southern side of your home? In the winter, especially, these trees can keep light from entering your windows completely.
Repaint your walls
When you’re dealing with a home that has trouble getting enough natural light, dark colored paint on the walls is a big mistake. Instead, use light-reflecting colors on your walls to deliver bright, eye-catching effect and reflect light back into your home.
When choosing a paint, look at the Light Reflectance Value, or LRV. This can range from 100% for pure white to 0% for black. All colors in-between will have greater or lesser LRV.
For the best result, opt for a paint color with a higher LVR, such as...
Additionally, while you may think to choose a glossy finish, this is not always the best option. Instead of helping to spread light evenly, glossy paint can create a noisy glare. Matte or semi-matte paint does a much better job of evenly reflecting light.
One last note on the topic of painting: don’t forget about your ceiling! If you’re sporting a dark or funky color up top, the light bounce will be degraded, as will the illusion of depth. Opt for white for the best result.
Consider your flooring
The largest source of darkness in a room often comes from the floor — especially if you have a dark wood throughout your home. If you’re not interested in updating your flooring, you can help your space shine by adding carpeting and rugs.
A large and light colored area rug that fits with the design and color scheme of your home will energize your room, show off your aesthetic, and help brighten your space — whether or not you have dark floors.
If that doesn’t do the trick, it’s time to consider a remodel!
Depending on the age and style of your home, sometimes a home remodel is the only way to achieve the level of natural light that you want and need to feel comfortable in your space. Trusted design-build home remodeler can evaluate your home and provide their expert design recommendations for helping you achieve your goals.
Some new designs your remodeler may recommend include…
Creating an open floor plan layout to allow light to flow naturally throughout your home
Remodeling your kitchen or bathroom backsplash with bright-colored or glass tiles to help reflect light
Install new, lighter-colored flooring and countertops
Adding large and strategically-placed windows
Your design-build remodeler can also help you choose the perfect paint colors and lighting fixtures to match your style, while also helping you achieve the best natural light flow.
Brighten your home with the help of Forward Design Build Remodel
If you’re ready to take more drastic measures in your quest to fill your home with natural light, the team here at Forward Design Build Remodel is by your side.
We take the hassle out of remodeling, starting with a free, no obligation in-home consultation. Give us a call to get started, or learn more about us and our approach to helping people live better in their homes.