When you picture your dream home, is it bathed in the glow of natural light? Do you imagine living-room walls lined with floor-to-ceiling windows? Skylights above an airy upper-floor bedroom? Natural light is one of the most sought-after features in a home – especially in cities like Portland, where clouds and rain are a part of life!
Natural light adds a soft and airy charm and makes a space appear larger and more inviting. It can also mitigate the need for artificial lighting, saving you money and improving energy efficiency. Exposure to natural light can even improve your mood and overall sense of wellbeing.
Keep reading to discover proven interior design strategies that you can implement to enhance natural light and give your space that bright, welcoming feeling!
The Role of Creative Lighting Solutions
Enhancing natural light is all about getting creative and understanding how light interacts with color, texture, and form. In general, it’s best to incorporate multiple light sources so that you can adjust the lighting at any given time.
Here are a few lighting ideas to get your creative lighting juices flowing:
- Incorporate lighter colors and softer materials.
- Consider double-panel curtains or light-filtering window shades for more flexibility.
- Use a combination of lamps, overhead lighting, and wall sconces.
- Opt for smart bulbs so you can control the intensity and tone of artificial lighting.
Utilizing Windows and Skylights Effectively
If you’re remodeling, consider adding windows and skylights to welcome the natural lighting sunlight into your space. But be purposeful about where and when you do this. Think carefully about placement, size, and shape and how these factors affect: 1) the amount of light (direct or indirect) and 2) the time of day that light will enter (morning, afternoon, evening).
Choosing the Right Glass and Frames
The type of glass and style of your window and skylights can significantly impact natural light in your space. Here are a few tips for choosing windows:
- Frosted and textured glass protect your privacy in rooms like bathrooms while still letting in outdoor light.
- Bay and bow windows let in more light than other types of windows.
- Lighter window frames allow light to enter seamlessly, while larger and darker frames can create visual barriers.
- Energy-efficient windows allow you to let sunlight in with better temperature insulation; look for ENERGY STAR and NFRC labels.
Incorporating Sunlight-Friendly Color Schemes
Even basements, small spaces, and rooms with few windows can feel bright and airy with the right color combinations. In general, decorating with neutral tones and lighter colors helps reflect the natural light in a room, enhancing its effect.
Incorporate crisp whites, light grays, creams, and powdery tones where you can – especially on walls, ceilings, and larger furnishings. If you want to bring in darker or more vibrant colors, consider doing this in smaller features like pillows, artwork, and smaller pieces of furniture.
The Impact of Paint Finishes on Light Reflection
While colors are a key consideration when it comes to enhancing natural light in your home, paint finishes are also an important (and often overlooked) element that can transform the feel of any room. Paint finish or “sheen” refers to how light refracts off painted surfaces. It ranges between glossy and ultra-matte.
While matte finishes are better for concealing bumpy textures and other imperfections, glossy options are more light reflective and contribute to a brighter appearance. So If you’re looking to create more light in a certain area, a glossy paint finish is the way to go.
Strategic Use of Mirrors and Reflective Surfaces
While windows and light fixtures can increase the amount of light in a room, mirrors can’t. But they can reflect existing light in your space and distribute it more evenly. Using mirrors and other reflective materials like metalics and glazes helps create the illusion of more space and more light.
Placement Tips for Maximum Light Enhancement
Here are a few tips for using mirrors and reflections to maximize the natural light in your space:
- Place mirrors in darker corners and on walls with no windows.
- Hang mirrors and place other reflective pieces opposite a source of natural light.
- Choose window-frame style mirrors to give the illusion of more windows.
- Add plants and greenery near mirrors to add an airy and natural feel.
Maximizing the Space for More Light
The arrangement of furniture and the overall layout of a space impacts the way natural light flows throughout a home. For example, smaller and more closed-off rooms and poorly placed furniture will create shadows, making the space feel more cluttered and reducing the natural flow of light.
Creating Light-Friendly Room Layouts
If your home feels dark or uninviting, think about changing the layout. A popular way to do this is to remove non-load-bearing walls to open up the space. Altering your home’s floor plan will require a more involved remodeling process. But with the right designers and contractors, it can completely transform your space.
But you don’t have to make major structural changes to increase natural light in your home. For example, you can replace a standard door to a home office with a door with a glass pane, allowing for light to pass through. You can also opt for smaller furniture items to create more space to move around. You’ll also want to avoid placing large or obstructive decor in front of windows and other light sources to prevent shadows and brighten up the entire space.
Brightening Your Portland Home
Increasing natural light in your living spaces can improve your mood, make your home appear larger, and help you save money on your energy bills.
At L. Evans Design, we’re honored to work with Portland homeowners to turn their dream homes into their real homes. Whether you’re looking to remodel a single room or transform your entire home, we can help you welcome the natural light into your indoor spaces in ways that improve both style and function.
Contact us today to tell us about your ideas and let’s get started!