Not every home has the benefit of having excellent southern exposure or receives full sunlight through the day. During the shorter days of winter, we are indoors more and many of us are inside our homes instead of the workplace or commuting. Our bodies are regulated by exposure to sunlight in a number of ways, including the production of serotonin affecting mood, feelings of well-being and calmness and Vitamin D supporting a strong immune system and more.
Whether you plan to sell or stay put in 2022 and beyond,
taking a quick and objective look around to find ways to brighten up your
living space is a great way for you to bring in the New Year!
Start with taking a walk around the exterior of your property
to identify areas where sunlight might be blocked and unable to reach your
home. Trees which have grown very tall
or are close to the house could be obstructing more daylight than you realize. Shrubs, hedges and vines should be trimmed so
they are not covering the windows.
Some recommend painting the underside of the eaves which overhang
with a bright white paint to help reflect sunlight into the windows of your
home. Larger structural changes like replacing existing windows with larger
ones, adding skylights or light tubes will all help to let in more natural
There are other immediate and cost-effective measures you can get started with to improve the lighting inside your home as well.
your windows. Window washing can generally fall into spring and
fall cleaning routines, but some homeowners prefer to have it done more
frequently. If doing this yourself plan to do it during warmer days when
windows may still be left open and the outside water spigots and hoses are
still connected. Window screens are best done during a warm day to dry in the
sun while window glass should be cleaned on a cloudy day to reduce streaking.
Different types of glass may require different maintenance so understand what
to avoid by checking manufacturer’s instructions.
2. Change your lightbulbs. Daylight lightbulbs have a much higher
lumen than bright white and soft white bulbs. Try replacing older lightbulbs
with new daylight bulbs and watch a room with only a single bulb be
dramatically brightened immediately. While changing the lightbulb wash the
globe or shade of the fixture to get rid of dust which accumulates and filters
the light. Check for any missing bulbs
or ones which are not working and replace.
treatments. Curtain rods should extend beyond the window frame
4 inches to 10 inches depending on style of curtain panels to have a space for
your curtains when open. A common
mistake is to mount the rods too short with little to no overhang, so the
curtains constantly cover up part of the windows even when they are open all
the way. This is a fantastic way to highlight the windows and make them appear
larger. Curtains and draperies which are
made from heavy fabric block out the natural sunlight and can also make a room
feel less spacious and more cluttered. Choose window treatments made of
lightweight or sheer fabrics and panels which will allow sunlight to enter the
room and help to create an airy and open quality.
Placement of furniture. Deep
furniture or large pieces are best situated towards the center of the room and
away from windows. Whenever possible leave
the framing of windows open and unobstructed with limited knick-knacks, window
décor or interruptions. Floating shelves
placed too near a window could block incoming light during certain times and
items may filter the natural light so consider how the light will work when
5. New doors.
you have a solid exterior door you may consider one with windows or decorative
glass to increase light in a dark entry or staircase. Adding transom windows
over exterior doors and side lights to your casing will also make a big impact
on natural light. The use of a full glass door in place of a ho hum steel one
can immediately turn a dreary hallway into a focal point without breaking the
bank. Swap out a light blocking interior door in an office or library with
timeless French doors to dramatically lift the whole space.
décor. Hanging mirrors on the wall opposite of windows will reflect
the light into the room and significantly amplify a room’s natural light. The
larger the mirror the more light, however even smaller decorative mirrors can
also have a huge impact when hung in the right spot. Consider wallpapers with
metallics or the use of a glass or acrylic coffee table in place of a wooden
one or a mirrored dresser. Choose
metallic fixtures and drawer handles and pulls or add a reflective backsplash
in the kitchen to brighten the room.
Adding layers of artificial lighting can now easily be
achieved through the use of LED light tape, but you may try up-down lighting or
wall sconces, as well, not just buying more lamps. Be mindful when making paint
color and finish selections for your walls and ceilings and remember dark
flooring and cabinetry will also drown out light so those rooms may need a
light lift as well. These small changes to the inside of your living space are
sure to brighten your days when we need it most! <
Nicole Foster is a Broker and a Windham resident who may be reached at 207-615-7558 or Nicole@locationsinmaine.com .