Maximize the Natural Light in Your Home

There are many benefits to bringing more natural light into your home. For one, utilizing natural light instead of flicking on your light fixtures saves energy, and thus lowers your electricity bill. It also brings out the beauty of fabrics and furniture and gives an instant boost to your mood and your immune system. Here are a few ways to increase and maximize the natural light in your own home:

Use mirrors
Mirrors reflect, rather than absorb, light. So hanging or propping a large mirror on a wall opposite a window doubles the light streaming in. You can use smaller mirrors to line the backs of bookshelves, or arrange several of them on one wall. Another idea is to buy furniture with glass, chrome, or mirrored accents.

Lighten up your color palette
Light colors and whites reflect natural light better than darker colors. So paint walls in cool tones, such as blue-grays and taupes, and use reflective, metallic finishes on ceilings. Get furniture—especially larger pieces such as sofas and love seats—in light colors. You can add brighter or deeper splashes of color in the form of pillows, throws, knickknacks, and smaller furnishings.

Lighten up your fabrics
Heavy fabrics, like velvets and brocades, can weigh a room down, while lighter fabrics such as linen and cotton lighten a room and evoke summer days.

Work with your windows
Some window treatments, such as Roman shades, block sunlight even when they’re open. But sheer draperies hung on rings are easy to open fully to let in light. Hang a single drapery rather than a double set. Venetian blinds are also a good choice: They allow you to control the amount of light that comes in, and you can angle them to direct the light into a particular area.

Add skylights
While they can be a costly home improvement, skylights will reduce electricity costs in the long run. Install them in rooms that are used most often, such as bathrooms, and in locations that receive the most sunlight.

Remove obstacles
Trim hedges and trees that may be blocking windows, and keep windowsills free of clutter.

Sources: Associated Press,

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