Lighten up: 4 tips to make your home feel brighter

How do those gorgeous homes on Instagram and in interior magazines always look so light and bright?

There’s no single factor, but rather a whole host of choices in planning, decorating and design that together bring natural light from outside as well as create and reflect light inside.

Here are some simple and practical tips to improve the brightness inside your home.

1. Start from the outside

Take a stroll around your house and look for any external obstacles that might be reducing the amount of light that can enter. There may be shrubs or other plants near windows that need a good trim, or garden furniture, sheds or other objects that could be shifted to make sure they’re not blocking the light.

Start from the outside

Having mature trees around the house is wonderful for shade and fresh clean air, but if they are too large they can cover windows and darken rooms. Opt for a gentle pruning that removes only branches that are too long and extended. It’s easy to get scissor happy so it’s best to bring in a tree surgeon if you can, as they have the expertise to allow maximum light without causing any harm to the tree.

2. Add windows

If you’re embarking on a renovation project, natural light is one of the biggest things to think about in the planning stages. Carefully placed windows allow the house to be lit for many hours a day without artificial lighting.

Add windows

Roof windows are an excellent solution for maximising natural daylight and can be installed both on both sloping roofs (such as in a loft conversion) and flat roofs (such as in a rear kitchen extension). The light entering through roof windows is not affected by the orientation of the house or by external obstacles like plants or neighbouring hor plants. You can also position the roof windows to bring the light exactly where you need it. Read our guide on how to choose the right windows for your home.

3. Decorate with a light touch

A great way to increase the amount of light in your house is to minimise the obstacles in its way.

  • Dark and heavy drapes can be real light-stealers, so opt for curtains made from sheer fabrics that let the light pass through.
  • Choose some pieces of furniture in lighter colours or even made from glossy or transparent materials or a mirrored finish.
  • For floors, go for lighter wood for floorboards or add a bright coloured rug to help brighten a room from the ground up.
  • Paint walls in lighter colours to make the space feel brighter, from bright whites to more subtle shades that still reflect the light.
  • Declutter. Channel your inner Marie Kondo and ask if any household knickknacks no longer spark joy. They may be blocking some light, too!

Decorate with a light touch

4. Use artificial lighting thoughtfully

Supplementing natural light with carefully planned artificial lighting will make sure your rooms are comfortably lit at at any time of the day. 

Consider how you use each room and what kind of lighting you need for various tasks and at different times of day. Think beyond just overhead lighting (which can be harsh) and add task-specific lighting, such as a living room floor lamp to create a relaxing vibe, a reading lamp beside cosy armchair, or under cabinet lighting in the kitchen to create plenty of light when cooking.

Use artificial lighting thoughtfully

Looking for more ideas to add new life to your home? Check out all our Interior Inspiration articles.


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