There’s a good chance that a lack of natural light has your living room feeling a bit like, well, a cave.
All joking aside, the benefits of natural light in our living spaces are well documented. Meanwhile, living in the dark can quite literally be a damper on our moods. In 2014, a Northwestern University study noted the impact of natural light on our health, noting the following in office workers exposed to increased natural light at work:
- Longer sleep duration and better sleep quality
- An increase in physical activity
- Office workers exposed to less light had issues with work performance and focus
Although your living room may not necessarily be an office, keep in mind how much time you spend lounging, socializing or watching television. Wouldn’t it be better to spend such time under healthier conditions rather than sitting, quite literally, in the dark? Besides, natural can light can completely transform the vibe of your living room at very, very little relative cost.
Rather than investing in costly lamps or intense bulbs, consider how you can integrate natural light into your living room without breaking the bank.
Letting Light In
Assuming that your living room has windows, it’s time to figure out the best way to let natural light into your space.
Don’t rely on curtains that don’t adjust or thick fabrics that block out light absolutely. Perhaps your best bet for finding balance between letting in the perfect amount of light while still maintaining privacy is vertical blinds, which come in a diverse range of styles and transparencies.
The right set of blinds can create the effect of soft glowing light which is both calming and won’t overpower the room.
Mirrors and Reflective Surfaces
If you have limited natural light coming in through the windows, you can maximize what you do have by decorating with mirrors and reflective surfaces. Mirrors can essentially act as a copycat window is positioned correctly; likewise, furniture such as glass-top coffee tables can also play their part in spreading the light around. Experiment with handheld mirrors to see the impact before covering your walls: more than likely, only one mirror is necessary.
Poorly painted walls can emphasize the darkness of a room and work to neutralize natural light. If you suspect that paint may be the culprit keeping your living room drab, consider how the positioning of your room impacts the color of your walls. When in doubt, a neutral off-white is a safe bet for most rooms.
There’s no need to throw out your dark leather or wooden furniture if you’re looking to maximize the benefits of natural light. In fact, small items such as lightly-colored pillows, throws and rugs can be a subtle yet significant touch to brightening the mood of a room.
Breathing life into your living room doesn’t have to be an expensive, painstaking process. By maximizing your living room’s natural light and taking small steps to emphasize its presence in your space, you may be surprised how much the mood of your home can change.