How to boost the natural light in your home

Having plenty of natural light in our homes is great for our mental and physical health, as well as being visually appealing and, of course, useful. The good news is that even if your space seems to be somewhat lacking in natural light, there are lots of things you can do to help make the most of the light you do have, for a beautiful, warm, spirit-lifting home...

Maximise the incoming natural light 

Of course, the one sure-fire way to boost the natural light in your home is by increasing the amount of glazing, whether that’s additional windows, skylights, patio or garden doors, roof lanterns or even solar tubes. Skylights are the tops for bringing in plenty of bright, direct natural sunlight, and they can provide a lovely backdrop with uninterrupted views of the sky without compromising privacy.

Replacing a solid external door with a set of patio doors or a glazed garden door will instantly increase the amount of natural light in a kitchen, living room, dining room or even a bedroom.

But if serious alterations aren’t within your current budget, there are simple things you can do  to maximise the amount of incoming natural light. You’ll want to make sure that nothing is interrupting the flow of light into your home, so avoid using dense nets or heavy curtains that partially obscure windows or glazed doors, and regularly prune any trees, shrubs or other plants which might be blocking the light from the outside. 

Finally, consider painting the eaves in a lighter colour if appropriate, to reflect additional natural light inside.  

Living room by Brooke Copp-Barton. Photo: Megan Taylor.


Boost the flow of natural light between rooms

Another way you can help to brighten up your space is by making use of the existing natural light from other rooms within the house. Choose glazed or half glazed internal doors rather than solid doors, or opt for a doorless archway, to help to bring in the light from a hallway or neighbouring room. 

Using glazed panels in a hallway or corridor will also help to boost the flow of natural light throughout your home. Glass blocks are another option, allowing additional light to filter through while still maintaining an element of privacy. This makes them a good choice for bathrooms and bedrooms, as well as kitchens, lounges and entrance halls. 

You can also consider how you use different spaces, and the directions in which they face. Sadly you can’t turn your house around to face the sun, but you might be able to situate your breakfast table by an east-facing window, for example. 

Sitting room by Anna Haines. Photo: Andrew Steel


Opt for a lighter colour scheme 

Lighter colours will reflect the most natural light, and choosing a more neutral colour scheme will also help to make your space feel brighter and more open. Opt for whites, creams, beiges or pastels for your walls, and to really open up the space go a few shades lighter on the ceiling to draw the eye and give it a more expansive feel. When it comes to decor, 'whites' are available in a wide range of different tones, from cool, bright whites to those with warmer undertones, so you can find something to suit your particular space.

It’s also important to consider your furnishings. Avoid darker materials which will absorb more light, and instead choose sheer, light fabrics that will invite the daylight in and help add an airy feel. The same principle applies to your furniture: clean, simple lines and lighter colours will help reflect the light and make the room feel less cluttered. You can then add in some colour accents in the form of cushions, throws and other accessories for extra depth and interest. 

Finally, using lighter colours for your flooring will also help to reflect additional light into the room: while very light shades may not be appropriate in the most commonly used areas, try choosing a lighter tone of wood or carpeting, or a light or variegated grey for a stone floor.  


Use mirrors to enhance the natural light

When it comes to boosting the natural light in your home, mirrors really are an interior designer’s ‘secret weapon’. Simple and highly effective, a mirror can transform a space and instantly make it look and feel brighter and more spacious. 

Positioning a large mirror or a set of mirrors opposite a window will effectively double the amount of incoming light, adding depth and helping to bring the outside in. Meanwhile, hanging a large mirror opposite a doorway will also help to reflect additional light into the room.      

Finally, to really make the most of the available natural light, try placing a series of mirrors at even intervals along the walls to help bounce the light around the room. 

View Pookys range of beautiful mirrors.

Vulpo mirror


Choose reflective finishes and accessories

As well as the judicious use of mirrors, choosing materials with shiny or reflective properties can also help to boost the available natural light in your home. Glossy walls, glazed cabinets, and metallic surfaces and home accessories will all help to brighten up a space. 

Paints with a gloss element will reflect the most natural light: choose a gloss, satin or semi-gloss rather than a flat or matte finish. Meanwhile, glazed cabinets and glass wall tiles will help to disseminate the light, and they look particularly effective in a kitchen in combination with gloss worktops and reflective splashbacks. High gloss ceramic or metallic tiles are some other great options for a kitchen or bathroom. And when it comes to flooring, opt for a material with a shiny or polished finish.          

Use light fittings that accentuate the natural light 

Your choice of light fittings and accessories can also help to accentuate the natural light in your home. A glass pendant light or chandelier will provide an eye-catching focal point which reflects the sunlight around the room beautifully – even when it’s not switched on! Meanwhile, a set of matching wall lights with metallic fittings such as silver, chrome or brass will further add to the effect, allowing your space to shine.  

Lampshades are another simple and effective way of helping to transform a space: choosing blown glass, prismatic shades, or lighter colours and shiny fabrics will help make your space look and feel brighter. Alternatively, you can use your lampshades to add a pop of colour and bring the room together.     

You can also use your lighting scheme to complement and enhance the available natural light where necessary, for example by using daylight style bulbs. And when the sun starts to set, your lighting scheme can take over the reins…

Hallway with Pooky's Bulbus and Crescent lights by Clare Weeks of My-Studio

Pooky make beautiful affordable designer lights and mirrors for beautiful rooms. Browse our full range here.

See also:

Lighting for the tricky areas of your home

How to improve the lighting in a room without adding extra cables or disrupting your decor

Open plan living: how to use lighting to create different zones in your home


Image top: Clapham house by Clare Weeks of My-Studio