Extra daylight will open doors to brighter, user-friendly living space
Sort it:Light is a big concern for so many people and I think we notice it so much more at this time of year where short days and grey skies really start to take their toll. But what is the best way to brighten a dark space?
A common mistake so many clients make when trying to make a room brighter is painting everything white. If a room is dark or has no natural light, painting it white will only make matters worse – the space will feel clinical and cold.
To make the space brighter, the best option is to try and let some daylight in, either by swapping a solid door with glazed doors, if possible, or indeed by adding a window or roof light. Being greeted with a view straight through to the garden when opening the front door is hard to beat.
This is such a simple thing to do and is often as straightforward as replacing a solid door with a glazed version. We did this for clients recently and by replacing the kitchen door, updating the floor and painting the woodwork, their hallway was transformed from a dark, unremarkable space to a bright and wonderfully uplifting area.
Another great tip when trying to get light into your home is to try to identify any unused or under-used rooms and see how that space could be better used or opened up to brighten your home. We refurbished a house for clients where only the bedrooms looked onto the garden; the entrance hall was dark and narrow. At the end of the hallway was an unused bedroom that they were using for storage. By knocking the wall at the end of the corridor and putting a set of double doors onto the garden we completely transformed the entrance hall (see below).
Creating either a visual or physical connection between the house and the garden outside is a really powerful design tool and one that works every time. I replaced a window in my kitchen with a set of glazed doors (see below) and for a tiny investment completely transformed the way we use and enjoy our home.
But don’t forget the garden itself – this is what you will be looking out onto from your newly improved home so it makes sense to consider your outside space too.
This is especially true if you have a small garden. A clever trick is to treat the outdoor space as an extension of the house by running the same floor finish from inside to outside creating a seamless space that blurs the inside-outside distinction thus creating the illusion of additional space.
* Architect Denise O’Connor is managing director of Optimise Design