Interior Designer Anne Tuohy reveals her tips for enhancing natural light, before sharing a stunning dark-light home transformation.
None of us can have too much light coming in to our homes. Good light enhances our mood, our sense of well-being and our mental health. Whenever I am helping clients to design a brand new home, the very first thing I do is to take out the compass app on my phone.. It is obviously easier to obtain optimum light in a new build, but there are many things that you can do to improve the light in your existing home,
However, dark spaces happen not just because of the room’s aspect, or lack of natural light, but also because they are painted a colour that absorbs light, or because they have bad lighting, or a heavy window treatment that actually blocks the light from coming in.
There are two ways that you can enhance the natural light in a room. You can improve the reflection of the light and you can eliminate or reduce obstruction of light from curtains and tall furniture.
To improve the light reflection, you need to improve the daylight as it bounces around the room. You can do this by painting your ceilings white, and by painting your walls in a light reflective colour. My favourite paint finish is a matt finish, which helps bounce the light, and is also very forgiving to less than perfect walls.
Here are a few good light reflective colours:
Farrow & Ball – Cornforth White
Little Greene Paint Company – Fescue 2312
Farrow and Ball – Strong White 2001
Take care that tall furniture does not obstruct the flow of daylight coming in. Position tall bookcases at right angles to the window wall, so that they don’t block your light.
Also, light from the top of your window will reach the farthest into a room, so hang your curtains higher above the window, and if you are using Roman Blinds fit them outside the window recess, so as not to block precious light coming in.
Indirect lighting, like table lamps, standard lamps, or a floor lamp will bounce light up onto a white ceiling and will supplement natural light in a dark corner of the room.
A large mirror will also bounce light effectively around your room. Even though I do this deliberately, I am often amazed at the difference a strategically placed mirror or two can make to the improved brightness of a room, and in a small room, it actually increases the perceived size of the room, making it seem bigger.
If you hang a mirror opposite a window, you will effectively double the light coming in.
Also, adding a skylight will help. as will putting glazing in internal doors.
The addition of a panel of internal glazing also means that light is shared between rooms, as we did in this kitchen and hall.
Some other simple things that you can consider are the use of warm white light bulbs, cleaning your windows until they are sparkling, both inside and out, using light reflective surfaces like polished marble floors, glass surfaces and the use of mirrored kitchen splashbacks.
Before and After
This family home was an absolute labour of love for exceptional clients. To be perfectly honest, I adored every single minute that I spent on this project.
This was a very dark house, with very poor natural light, dark timber everywhere, and lights on from first thing in the morning.
I think you might agree with me, there is a bit of a transformation!
If you would like a brighter, more uplifting home, just contact me here, and we can have a no obligation chat about ways you can significantly improve things..
I currently have an availability for a special one to one client project. Don’t delay, it could be you! Contact me here for a chat.
Have a lovely weekend.