Use mirrors & other reflective surfaces in your decor
Shiny surfaces—especially mirrors—reflect light. Place them strategically to fill your home with new spots of brightness. Mirrors close to your windows amplify natural light by bouncing it into your space, making windows feel bigger and brighter.
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Take the heaviness out of window treatments
Choose window treatments that offer privacy but still let light pass through. Some of the easiest, most versatile options are sheer curtain panels in a light color. Think off-white linen and cotton under heavier fabrics and patterns that can be closed at night. Avoid options that block light even when they’re open, like Roman shades.
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Keep it clean
Keeping your windows clean to allow in the maximum amount of natural light. It may sound simple but cleaning windows, blinds—even lampshades, and bulbs makes a big difference. Pro tip: wash windows on a cloudy day to minimize streaking.
Related: How To—Clean EVERYTHING
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Pay attention to paint
Paint color, and finish have a big effect on how bright your room looks. Lighter colors reflect natural light better than darker tones. If you prefer a darker palette, remember that shinier finishes will help brighten things up. This is especially true for ceiling paint. White ceilings are popular because they reflect ambient light down into the room. Boost this effect by choosing a ceiling paint with a satin or high-gloss finish.
Related: In Living Color—7 Tips for Brightening Your Home's Palette
Consider skylights or other structural changes
Adding a skylight reduces your lighting costs and provides the pick-me-up that only real sunlight can. Dimly lit areas like bathrooms are very popular spots for easy to install “sun tunnels” or tubular skylights.
Move your furniture
Inadvertently blocking windows when arranging your furniture can cut into a room's natural light. Rearrange your space to keep natural light sources free and unobstructed. Keep larger pieces toward the center of the room. Even knick-knacks on a windowsill block a surprising amount of light.
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Try swapping a solid exterior door for one with window panels, or framing your entry in frosted glass. Or, install a glass storm door over your existing one, so light can enter when the door is closed.
Related: A Contractor’s Tips for Open-and-Shut Door Installation
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Think outside of your home
For best results, don’t forget to maintain your outdoor spaces. Trim hedges or branches away from the windows. Also, carefully consider the placement of porch swings and other patio furniture. These steps will increase natural light inside your home.
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If you're interested in more on home decor tips, consider:
9 Temporary Options for Commitment-Phobes
The Best Paint Colors for Low-Light Rooms
Winning Combinations: 9 "Can't Miss" Color Schemes
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