We love this special time of year — seeing family and friends for the holidays, the first snow and the promise of a new year. What we don’t love? How dark and gloomy our homes can feel as we start to lose daylight earlier and earlier.
Do you have your lights on all day in winter time to try to make your home feel brighter? You’re not alone. Heating costs aren’t the only reason energy bills rise in the winter time. Keeping lights on all day adds up, especially if you have festive holiday lights up, too.
So what can you do?
Maximizing natural light in your home can cut down on the length of time you have lights turned on — and it can help fight winter blues.
Our experts put together a list of options for maximizing the natural light in your home. From inexpensive quick tricks to bigger projects, there’s something for every home.
Read on to learn how you can maximize the natural light in your home, enhancing its natural beauty, saving on energy costs and boosting your mood.
If you rent an apartment or house, there are limits to the things you can do to enhance the light. Or if you’re trying to make an improvement before friends and family visit for the holidays, these instant options are a great choice.
Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the brightest of them all? Mirrors reflect light and are especially effective when they’re hung across from windows or doors with windows. The more mirrors you hang, the more the light will bounce and reflect. It’s important to be intentional though — or you may accidently turn your home into a house of mirrors.
We love mirror sets that hang together to create a focal point — circular mirrors and triangles are interesting. Mixing a variety of frame finishes like metal and wood adds visual interest to any wall. Remember, if the mirrors are heavy, you’ll need to use a wall anchor before screwing into drywall.
If you have heavy curtains, like velvet, they aren’t doing you any favors. Heavy curtains block light more than a lighter fabric, like a soft cotton or muslin. If privacy is a concern, consider hanging wide slat blinds that you can open and close. You can then use a very light fabric, simply to add texture and interest to the window.
If you’re really in love with your heavier curtains, consider repositioning the rod so it sits further out from the window. This way, when the curtains are pulled, they’re mostly covering the wall and only a small part of the window, letting in more light.
CLEAN THE WINDOWS
We know — it’s one of the worst chores. But it truly does make a difference. Clean the windows inside and out on a regular basis to allow maximum light to pass through.
If you’ve got a weekend to spare, these projects offer perfect solutions to increase the natural light in your home. These projects can be completed alone, but calling over friends will make the project faster and more fun.
If your walls are currently a dark color, consider repainting with a light grey or cream. Lighter paint colors will reflect more light than dark colors, which absorb light. And while it may seem insignificant, the finish of the paint is also important.
Matte paint finishes will evenly reflect light, whereas glossy finishes will have patches of glare. A gallon of paint costs $20-$35 and can cover up to 400 square feet. If you’re covering a darker color, you’ll need to do at least two coats. To make it easy to calculate how much paint you’ll need, find an online coverage calculator. Paint companies like Glidden, Benjamin Moore and PPG have online coverage calculators.
If you’re still unsure, remember that you may not be able to return paint once it has been custom tinted. Check with the retailer — you can always buy more.
If you have solid panel doors, consider replacing the door for one with windows. If you’re worried about the safety of a door with windows, look for one with double glazed glass. The extra windows will let light in. And if you have a wall across from the door — add a mirror!
Strategically switching interior doors can also maximize light. For example, if you have solid wood French doors, changing them for French doors with windows will allow light to pass from one room to another. This is especially helpful if you have a brighter room that leads into a darker room.
If you have and hedges or trees blocking natural light from coming in your window, take time to trim them back. This is a simple and free way to add light to your room.
Is your space particularly dark? If none of the faster projects have improved the light in your home, you may want to consider a bigger renovation project, like adding new windows, a skylight or a glass box extension.
We’re not suggesting you cut a square hole in the wall and stick a window in — these projects require a professional contractor. But the results are well worth it.
As new windows change the exterior appearance of your home, you should check with your city or county to ensure you don’t need permits for the project. If you do, they’re generally easy to get.
Depending on the space available in your home, you could increase the size of an existing window, put a new window in a wall that doesn’t have one, or replace an existing window with a style that brings in extra light (like a bay window).
Your contractor will assess what you can realistically do and what would be best for your space. You can then use the tips and tricks listed above to maximize the light from your new window, allowing you to fully enjoy your new airy, light space
There are two main types of skylights: standard windows and tubular. The standard windows have different features — your contractor can help you decide what’s best.
Standard skylight windows can only be installed into your roof, so they’re best for attic spaces. In some homes, the attic space may be shallow, meaning a window could work. Drywall would be installed in the space between the window and the ceiling. If you keep the paint on the drywall a light color, these types of skylights make a dramatic difference.
If it isn’t possible to install a standard skylight, you can consider a tubular skylight. These skylights are installed with a shaft that runs from the roof down into your home. The shaft redirects the sunlight, spreading it out in the home. These can be installed in almost any home — the project is short and can typically be completed in one day.
GLASS BOX EXTENSIONS
Glass box extensions are the most optimal way to bring more light into your home. Even on cloudy days, you’ll have natural light inside. The glass box is a small addition to your home with glass walls and a glass roof. For these types of projects, very thick glass, usually triple glazed, is used.
It’s not a common home renovation, but the effects are worth considering. The glass box is also a great solution for the avid gardener. When it is strategically placed, it creates an indoor space where plants can thrive in sunlight year-round.
Elite Custom Builders | Residential Contractor | Bridgeport, WV | Surrounding Areas
Elite Custom Builders have years of combined experience in commercial and residential construction. If you need a solution to bring more natural light into your home, we can help. Whether adding new windows or glass box addition — you’ll love your bright new space.
We can also build entire sunrooms, allowing you to retreat from darker dingy rooms to a fresh bright space that always has natural light.
Contact us today.