Get More Natural Light: 4 Ways to Make the Most of Your Windows
Feel like your home in Philly is a bit too dark? With party walls on two sides, the average Philly rowhouse might not get that much natural light. Even if your window situation isn’t the best, there are ways to make the most of it.
When it comes to lighting sources, natural light tends to be best. A 2014 study from Northwestern University showed that employees who got plenty of natural light in their offices experienced more sleep at night and were more physically active. Daylight matters at home, too, as it can help reduce your energy costs and make a house feel more inviting.
The issue with plenty of homes in Philadelphia, particularly row homes, is that daylight can be hard to come by. Sharing walls on either side of the house means fewer windows. Depending on the direction your home faces or the size of the surrounding buildings, it might not get much daylight, either. If your home is a bit darker than you’d like, there are ways to make the most of your windows to increase daylight and brighten up the scene.
Choose Window Treatments Carefully
The more light you can get into your home, the better. One way to maximize natural light is to lighten up the windows you do have. Although you do want to give yourself some privacy, you also want to avoid heavy drapes and blackout curtains, which keep the sun out. Stick with sheer or lightly woven curtains or shades, so that some light filters in, but people passing by aren’t able to see what you’re up to. You can also layer your window treatments, if you want to keep light out to get a better night’s sleep. Hang the sheer or lightweight curtains closest to the windows, then the heavier drapes behind, so that you can pull them shut at night and open them wide in the daytime.
A well positioned mirror can make a dark and dim home that much brighter. Hang a mirror on the wall next to a window to make it look as though your home has two adjacent windows. The window will be reflected in the mirror, tricking the eye. If you hang the mirror on the wall across from the window, the light from the window will bounce off of it, magnifying the natural light.
Keep Your Windows Clean
Dirty windows keep the light from shining in as well as it could. Although window washing might not top many people’s lists of fun chores to do, it’s essential for improving the natural light in your home.
Vinegar, mixed with an equal amount of hot water, is one of the most effective ways to clean windows inside and out. Mix the vinegar and water together, then soak a sponge with the solution. Wipe the glass of the window with the vinegar solution to sweep away dirt and grime. Use a damp squeegee to sweep the excess vinegar solution away, using long vertical strokes.
Add More Windows
If your budget allows, a simple way to increase the natural light in your Philly home is to add more windows to it. Obviously, you can’t put windows on the party walls, unless you want to get really friendly with your neighbors. But it might be worth considering trading a solid front or back door for one with a clear or frosted glass window in it. Inside the house you can replace solid, room dividing doors with a glass paneled doors or get rid of the doors completely, if you don’t need them for privacy.
Along with getting the most out of your windows, keeping a house clean and choosing light reflecting paint colors can help it feel brighter and lighter.