A little bit of natural light can go a long way in brightening up my mood. So what does that say about a well-lighted room? A good amount of natural light can work wonders in chasing away the winter blues. If your home seems dark and dreary, you may begin to feel the negative effects on your body and mind. You may begin to feel sad and lethargic; you may experience what is called “seasonal effective disorder”. But don’t worry–there are several different ways to bring natural light into your home to uplift your spirits.
1. South-facing windows. Do you have windows in your home that face south? These bring in the most light in the winter. You can take advantage of this light, either by putting larger windows in (this option requires some construction) or by removing the heavy winter curtains. If your windows don’t do a very good job blocking out the drafts, you can always cover them with plastic in the winter, which will still let most of the light through.
2. Sheer curtains. Now, since there is a lot of sunlight on the south side of the house, you may need to block out the glare with window treatments. However, opaque curtains will only block out the natural light, bringing you back to your original problem. There is a way you can let in the natural light, while blocking the sun’s glare. Sheer curtains let in a certain amount of natural sunlight, while keeping the harsh glare at bay.
3. Skylights and sky tunnels. These two options bring sunlight into a home through the ceiling. They, like all your other options, will help save money by lowering lighting and heating costs. Never heard of a sky tunnel? Basically, it brings natural light in with a tube and mirrors. It can actually have the look of a regular flush-mount ceiling light fixture, except it uses natural sunlight rather than electricity.
4. Mirrors. Since they reflect light, along with any other images in their way, mirrors can help brighten up a room immensely. Best of all, they come in many shapes and sizes so you can use a mirror as a decorative statement, as well. Place a mirror in any room that needs a little extra light, then open up the blinds and let them do their work.
5. Light-colored walls. Light colors pick up sunlight and reflect it off the walls. This can help make a room feel brighter and sunnier than a room with dark-colored walls. You don’t necessarily have to paint them a bright white, although that works, if you like to keep them plain. Otherwise, go for a nice, light cream color. Cream has yellow undertones that the sunlight will pick up, brightening the room further.
Not all of these options will work for you: You may not be able to put in new, south-facing windows or skylights right now, and cream walls may not look right with your furnishings. These are simply suggestions to help bring natural light into your home. Do what works for you.
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