Improving your home with light
American homeowners have a love affair with light.
as any good real estate agent will tell you, buyers are looking for spaces that
are light, bright and airy.
But when it comes to actually creating
that look, homeowners are still learning. "Lighting is the most ignored layer
of building a beautiful room," says Christopher Lowell, the Emmy award-winning
lifestyle expert and author of "Seven Layers of Design."
Lighting, along with the color
and floor plan, sets the mood in a home. Lots
of light creates a cheery atmosphere and makes
the space attractive, upbeat and welcoming.
A dark home or dark areas in a house will
repel people, especially buyers, even if they
don't realize what it is they don't like.
Not so coincidentally, there
are many ways to brighten those dark corners
and let in the light.
in the natural light
Want to brighten your home without raising
your power bill? Start making the most of
your natural light.
Begin with the basics: Take
down the window treatments and really clean
the windows. Getting off layers of winter
grime and spring pollen can make a big difference
in how much light gets into your home. Then,
evaluate how well your window treatments showcase
-- or block -- available natural light. The
optimum is something that screens out unwanted
light and gives privacy when you need it but
can also be set to allow in a good amount
The problem with many drapes,
shades and blinds is that even when they're
open, they block a good portion of the window
-- and that's light your room isn't getting.
Try blinds that roll up all the way past the
window, folding screens that can be moved
in front of a window for privacy or away from
the window for light, and shutters that fold
completely away from the window. You can also
install drapery rods long enough so there
is room to open the drapes and completely
expose the windows, for maximum light.
Renovating for more light
If you've cleaned and thrown open the curtains
and the room is still dark, you might need
a lighting makeover. If you've got a little
bit of money to spend and you're open to structural
changes to your home, you can add things like
larger windows, skylights and solar tubes.
You'll have to put up some cash
for labor and materials, but the light you
recoup will be entirely free.
Study the way the natural light
hits your home. Where is it strongest in the
morning? What part of the house gets light
in the afternoon or evening? Where do you
want more light?