Source: Southern Living
If you’ve lived in the Denver metro area for any amount of time, chances are you’ve heard that “Denver gets an average of 300 days of sunshine a year.” It’s actually not true (see this article in Westword). Especially in winter, that means you just might want to find ways to maximize the natural light coming into your home. The folks at HouseLogic have put together a dozen clever, simple, and inexpensive ways to do just that. In today’s blog, I hit the highlights and add my own perspective, but you can view the entire HouseLogic article here.
- Take the screens off your windows. Who knew screens blocked 30% of the available sunlight? That’s helpful in summer, but not so great in winter.
- Hang outdoor string lights indoors. They’re not just for college dorm rooms, LOL! They’re lovely almost anywhere you place them. I like them hung around my full sized mirror in my bedroom for some ambient lighting. Look for ones that are rated for use outdoors; they’ll be more durable.
- Steal a little Swedish chic. Living in a part of the world where it’s continuously dark from November to January, Swedes have become masters at adapting. They keep their interiors pale to get as much out of the available light as possible. Slipcovers can lift the look of dark furniture, and pale-colored rugs can do the same for floors.
- Change your bulbs. Incandescent bulbs give off a warm, but distinctly yellow, glow. Fluorescent bulbs tend to skew blueish-green and cold. LEDs give off a brighter, whiter light that’s closer to sunlight. Bonus: they’re more energy efficient than either incandescent or fluorescent, and last longer.
- Hang mirrors. Mirrors bounce and amplify light and can be placed strategically to brighten up dark areas. If you don’t fancy seeing your face *everywhere* in your home, mount the mirror(s) above your eye level to capture light from upper windows.
- Replace heavy curtains with blinds or Roman shades. These simple window treatments allow more light to pass through than curtains or drapes do, and can bring an airy feeling to a room. IKEA has lots of stylish and affordable options.
- Trim branches and bushes that block light. We love our trees and bushes for privacy and shade, but come winter time, they can block too much of the sunlight we crave. If you’re not sure how to prune your trees or bushes – or if it’s not safe for you to do it yourself – I’d be happy to recommend some great companies to help you out.
- Clean your windows. This sounds like a no-brainer, but dirty windows block light. Clean the glass inside at least once a month and the glass outside once a year.
- Swap your solid glass front door for one with glass inserts. Particularly if your front door faces any direction but north, a solid front door can block a lot more light than you might think. If a new front door isn’t in your budget, consider a storm door. On chilly but sunny days, it will provide insulation and security while letting in light.
- Add a skylight. Because they face up instead of out, skylights let in light all day, where windows only catch a few hours. Installing a traditional skylight will run about $3,000 and will likely require the services of a professional. Tubular skylights run around $1,000 and can be installed by a handy homeowner.
- Add plants. I know…plants themselves don’t add light, they use light. But they do brighten up a room and remind us that spring will one day return. Be sure to match the plant’s light requirement to the light available. Tropical plants thrive in indirect or filtered light.
- Celebrate National Cream Cheese Brownie Day. On February 10, you won’t brighten your home, but you’ll brighten your day by celebrating this “cheesy” holiday. And if you can resist them long enough, you can serve them as dessert for Valentine’s Day.
What are your top tips for maximizing light in your home? Share in the comments below!
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