bending light…
making the most of what you’ve got


Natural light is a bit like the Holy Grail in home design. Sunlight streaming through ample windows is not only beautiful, but good for your mood as well. Which is great, if you’ve got it. But what if you don’t? It’s possible to brighten up even the darkest of places, without resorting to flood lights.

Lighten up—the fastest fix for a dark space is to lighten up on the paint. Switch to a low- or no-VOC paint in a light color to reflect more light. Opt for glossier finishes to maximize the light even more. The same is true for any large pieces in your home—the lighter they are, the brighter your room will look.

Clear the way—take a look outside your home. See anything blocking the windows? Trim or remove any hedges or trees that are casting a shadow on your windows. Look at your whole yard, too, not just things right next to the house. That big tree could be casting an equally big shadow. You’ll have to weigh the benefits of shade vs. natural light, of course.

Reflect a littlemirrors are magical things. They take whatever light hits them and reflect it, magnifying it into something even bigger. For maximum reflection, hang mirrors opposite windows to capture as much light as possible and actually double the light in your room.

Move things around—Move that furniture away from the windows. Give your windows at least three feet of space to avoid blocking any natural light. Consider arranging your space so that large, tall items like bookshelves are on walls perpendicular to your windows so they won’t block the flow of light in the room.

Go on a fabric diet—ditch the heavy draperies that can block sunlight even when they’re open. Lighten up on everything from upholstery to area rugs and throws. Opt for lighter colors, and even lighter-weight fabrics where you can. Heavy, dark fabrics will not create that open, airy feeling you want. Try cottons and linens instead.

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