Days are officially getting longer, but we still have a lot of the dark, winter season to go. And while there’s nothing we can do about the sun setting so early, we can maximize the amount of natural light our homes get when the sun is out during the day.
Some homes are rich in natural light, with large windows that fill rooms with light at least one point during the day. But other people aren’t as lucky, and have to make do with basement apartments, windowless bathrooms, or windows that are blocked either from the inside or outside. If you fall into the second category, here are a few tips for making a dark space a bit brighter.
Use light colors whenever possible
White or light-colored walls, ceilings, floors, and furnishings are a home decor staple for several reasons, including their ability to take whatever natural light comes into a room and make it seem brighter. If you’re renting and/or unable to change the wall, floor, or ceiling colors, you can opt for white or light linens, curtains, towels, or decorations. Putting a light-colored rug on a dark floor can also help.
Even if you’re on a strict budget, it’s pretty easy to get your hands on a cheap mirror—whether it’s from a thrift store, rescued from the curb, or one you make yourself. Essentially, mirrors (or other very shiny objects) reflect and amplify any existing natural light. For example, strategically placed mirrors in a hallway can reflect light into a dark room off of it.
Clean your windows
Obvious, yes, but also something that can make a huge difference. Of course, it’s not always possible to clean the exterior of your windows (especially if you live in an apartment building, or somewhere with more than two floors), but even just keeping them clean on the inside will help bring more natural light in.
Get a door with a window
This isn’t a possibility for everyone, but if you’re able to make a bigger change, installing a door with a window can do wonders for a dark entryway or office. If privacy is an issue, there’s always frosted or patterned glass that lets the light in without giving your neighbors a show.