How to Capitalize on Sunlight

Sunlight is the most natural way to light a space, and every lighting designer knows that it’s an important component to consider before planning a project.  Knowing where the afternoon rays come in, or which window dawn streams in first, can help a designer understand where to fill in the gaps.  It’s still important to create “layers of light” throughout an entire space, but capitalizing on sunlight as much as possible is a core rule in lighting design.

With Paint …

If you paint in lighter colors (think white, soft yellow, and beige), the sun will reflect off the walls more easily and bounce light further into your home.  Also, choose a glossy paint finish to enhance those light reflections.  Eggshell is an excellent option.  It has a low sheen that looks great on walls, and it will also hold up better than a flat finish.

With Mirrors …

Mirrors are especially helpful tools in apartments, where direct sunlight sometimes only reaches one side of the façade.  Choose a few well-designed framed mirrors and place them strategically to capture the sun during different parts of the day.  You can magnify the effects of a skylight by scattering afternoon sun throughout an entire room.  Or, try bouncing morning light onto an opposite wall by aligning a mirror to face a window.

With Flooring …

Wood flooring and tiles reflect light the best, so avoid covering them up with carpets in a dim space.

Lighting designers, do you have any extra tips to add?

Emily Widle

Emily Widle

Emily graduated from UNC Chapel Hill with a degree in journalism. She enjoys scouring the news to report on the latest in the lighting industry as well as bringing valuable remodeling tips and exemplar home projects to light.