Four ways you can maximise natural light in your home – and boost your mood in winter
Do you struggle more with your mood in winter? Read on for for ways you can maximise natural light in your home – and help to boost your mood.
With the change of the seasons comes darker evenings and chillier mornings. And while many of us might welcome the cosiness of autumn after a particularly warm summer, it can also be quite an adjustment getting used to fewer hours of sunlight.
This can be particularly noticeable in our homes, as windows that previously brightened up small, dark rooms now have less of an impact.
Light is not only a large factor in determining how our homes look, but it can also have a significant effect on how we feel. In fact, we tend to feel more positive and productive during the summer months because our bodies produce more of the mood-boosting chemical serotonin when we are exposed to longer sunlight hours.
To help you maintain a bright, welcoming feel in your home this autumn, the interior experts at Casa Bella Furniture have shared their four top tips on how to maximise all the natural light you have.
1) Opt for light colour palettes
Especially if you’re working with smaller rooms or a more compact house altogether, one of the best ways to bring some brightness into your home is by decorating with a lighter colour palette.
It may sound simple, but one of the most effective ways to brighten up small spaces is to take this advice literally: dark-coloured walls, flooring, and furnishings can all absorb light, draw the eyes inward, and generally make rooms feel much darker than they actually are. Here are some suggestions.
Try painting walls with brighter shades to reflect light as much as possible throughout your home. White is the most popular choice people tend to make, as it is the most reflective shade that absorbs no light, making it great for rooms with filtered or very little natural sunlight.
However, if you want to choose something a more vibrant and unique to your personal tastes, other great options are light grey, pastel yellow, lavender, or even some vivid hues like bright orange.
It’s therefore important to not only look at paint samples in natural light, but to also leave samples in each room over the course of a few days. This allows you to see how each colour looks at different times of the day, which will also change depending on the direction that your windows are facing.
For example, south-facing rooms receive the most natural daylight, meaning you can experiment with richer, darker colours that will appear brighter. However, rooms with north-facing windows have cooler, bluish light that emphasises muted colours but makes bold colours shine more brightly. Light is therefore a huge factor to consider in your interior design.
As well as opting for lighter shades of paint on your walls, furniture can also make a huge difference in how bright and welcoming your rooms feel. If you’re refreshing your interiors with new furnishings like dressing tables, bookshelves, or headboards, choosing solid wood furniture in a lighter grain can be a great way to brighten up dark rooms or hallways with little to no natural light.
Try to save darker, statement pieces for your brightest rooms to avoid them looking imposing or absorbing too much light.
2) Make the most of the windows you have
When it comes to maximising the light in your home, sometimes it can be as simple as clearing the way for the autumn and winter sunlight to stream through. We often decorate our windowsills with houseplants, framed photos, and other personal pieces of décor, but sometimes these can build up and become cluttered, making our windows feel obscured.
So, even just clearing your windowsills and making sure that curtains and blinds are fully pinned back can allow more valuable light into each room.
Rearranging your furniture can also be an effective, affordable way to brighten up your home, without making any drastic changes. For instance, you may move any heavier, darker pieces of furniture away from the windows and replace these with some of your lighter, more minimalist pieces.
Angling these more neutral furnishings toward your windows can also help to reflect light in much the same way as painting your walls in bright, paler shades.
3) Switch up your curtains and blinds
You may have plenty of windows in your home but find that their light is still limited by heavy blinds or curtains. If this is the case, you may want to update your décor to reflect the season and swap these out for some more light-filtering options like solar shades or sheer curtains.
For example, you may want to layer sheer curtains underneath heavier blackout varieties in your bedrooms, as these give you the option of different light levels as the seasons change throughout the year. Wooden blinds can also be a great option for kitchens and living rooms, as they allow you to easily control light levels while offering these living spaces a rustic touch.
4) Reflect light with mirrors
Especially in darker corners of your home, using mirrors can be an excellent way to reflect and maximise the natural light at your disposal. It often works best to position a mirror directly opposite a window, to essentially create the illusion of a second light source.
This not only adds more light to your rooms during autumn and winter, but large mirrors are invaluable for making small and potentially low-lit rooms feel much bigger than they are.
You may also want to add mirrors to darker corners of your home, along with more imposing pieces of furniture that you might have moved away from your windows. Pairing these with a standing lamp allows you to brighten up each corner of the room, working with both natural and artificial light wherever possible.
Find ways to increase the natural light in your home – and boost your mood
As the evenings get darker and the days get shorter, our homes can start to feel a little grey and dim. Given how much natural light can affect the way we feel and the way our homes look, knowing a few handy ways to maximise natural light we still have can make the world of difference when the seasons start to change.
You might use cleverly positioned mirrors to give the illusion of more windows, or simply opt for less imposing furniture in a lighter colour or wood grain. Whatever your method and whatever your budget, bringing more natural light into your home is an affordable and incredibly effective way to make each room feel brighter, welcoming, and more spacious all year round.
Read more advice to help you lift your mood in winter
You can read more advice on how to feel happier in darker months (and avoid SAD) in these articles:
- Is SAD (seasonal affective disorder) clouding your relationship?
- Keeping on top of SAD during the winter – eight tips to try
- Seven ways you can beat SAD this winter, according to a doctor
- How your diet affects your mental health – and what you can do about it
Photo by Roberto Nickson