On a summer's day when the bright sunlight is flooding in, how much natural light comes into your home probably isn't a concern. But when the British weather isn't so kind to us, some rooms can feel dark and dingy.
Whether it's one room or a problem throughout, here are a few tips and tricks to get more natural light into your home.
Clear the way
It may sound obvious but have a good look around your home and check to see whether there are obstacles that are blocking the light. Hedges, trees or climbing plants outside can obscure the sunlight, but a good trim can make all the difference. Indoors, declutter windowsills to make the most of the daylight.
Those dark-coloured walls might feel cosy and warm on a long, cold winter's night, but a lighter colour palette can work wonders when it comes to the daylight hours. Whites, taupes and blue-greys will reflect the natural light much better than darker versions, and even large pieces of furniture in a lighter colour can make a difference. If you long for a bolder hue, add it in the form of accent pieces like cushions, rugs or other furnishings.
Reflect the source
Mirrors are a commonly used aid when it comes to lightening up your home. A carefully positioned reflective surface can double the amount of natural light streaming in. Try placing a large mirror, either hanging or free-standing, on a wall opposite the window to reflect the source around the room. Smaller mirrors or furniture with mirrored accents can further boost the effect.
Work your windows
No matter how small or large your windows, the wrong dressing can cut out a surprising amount of light. Roman blinds and heavy curtains block light even when they're open, so consider a single sheer drape or Venetian blinds that allow the the sun to shine in.
There are a number of home improvements that can add light to a dark interior, and they vary greatly in price. At the budget end of the scale, swapping a solid exterior door for one with glass panels will add another light source. For south-facing walls or those leading to a garden, deck or patio, consider expanding an existing window or investing in sliding glass doors. New windows will more than likely save you some money in the long term by reducing the heat lost, and it is worth looking into the possibility of passive solar heating that could take advantage of your home's site by collecting, storing and then distributing the heat from the sun.
Heading to the more expensive end of the improvements scale, skylights are a fabulous way to introduce more light into the home but they can be expensive to install and require major building works. Thankfully, there is a cheaper alternative in the form of tubular skylights. These require only a small opening in the roof, cutting down on installation costs, and work by reflecting light through the tube and down into the room. They can even run down through an unconverted loft to add light into hallways and landings with no existing natural light source.
So if your dingy interior is making you feel blue, experiment with these simple tricks, or look into the possibility of expanding your light sources - it could make a world of difference to your home.
What techniques have you tried to lighten up your home? Let us know below...