Maximising Natural Light

Abi Clewley

BY Abi Clewley

Published: 17 April 2023 Updated: 21 May 2024

Daylight Changes

With the curious ritual of changing the clocks seasonally in the UK it's striking the difference just a single hour can make to the flow of natural light. We take a look at the different ways you can make the most of the natural light coming into any room with a range of different window furnishings.

Why do we need light?

As human beings, we thrive in light, so it's no wonder that our homes are designed to let in as much daylight as possible; not only does it boost our mood and energy levels, but it also enhances the overall aesthetic of our living spaces.
Of course too much direct sunlight can be a challenge, causing heat and glare that can make your home uncomfortable and difficult to relax in. This is where shutters, blinds, and awnings come in – they offer the perfect solutions to maximise natural light while minimising any negative effects.

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Shutters

Shutters are a timeless and classic choice that have been used for centuries and they’re a great option when it comes to ways of controlling the amount of light entering a room. Shutters can be adjusted by tilting the louvres to allow in as much natural light as you want, or conversely, how little light, and they also provide excellent privacy and insulation.

white shutters fitted to an arch shaped window in a bedroom decorated in white with a rug and wooden flooring

Which shutter type is right for me?

There are various styles of shutters available and each one has their own benefits and their own way of affecting how light flows into a room. One of the biggest advantages of shutters is their durability. They are built to last, and with proper care and maintenance, they can last for decades.

Full Height shutters

Full height shutters are a popular choice for larger windows, as they can really emphasise the space and heighten the good visibility. Our full height shutters are available in wood, composite and vinyl options, and it's down to a mixture of personal choice and practical considerations as to which option you choose but it's worth remembering that paler shades can help reflect light better in smaller spaces.

Neutral bedroom with wooden bed with white bedding and beige accessories two floor to ceiling windows dressed in mid-colour wood shutters, louvres open with light rays filling room.

Cafe shutters

Café shutters are perfect for smaller windows, as they only cover part of the window, allowing you to enjoy the light while still maintaining a level of privacy. Keeping the upper part of the window clear can make a big difference with smaller windows as it creates a bright look whether there is sun or not.

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Tier on Tier shutters

Tier on tier shutters allow for even greater flexibility, as you can adjust the top and bottom sections independently. They're a great choice for settings like this bathroom, where the white tiling around the room can reflect natural light so that even smaller spaces feel bright but the shutters can still be closed when privacy is needed. This is where vinyl shutters really come into their own too - not only will they shrug off any steam or water splashes but as they're only available in white and cream the lighter colours boost the light rather than swallowing it up as darker colours can do.

White coloured tier on tier shutters fitted to a window in a bathroom that is decorated in grey and white

Blinds

Blinds are another great option for controlling light. They are available in a range of styles and materials and each offer different additional benefits. Like shutters, blinds can be adjusted to control the light flow entering a room, in different ways.

One of the benefits of blinds is their versatility. They can be used in any room of the house and are available in a range of colours, making it easy to find a style that complements your existing décor.

Duette® blinds

Duette® blinds are available in a range of opacity levels, from sheer to blackout, so right from the start you can control the amount of natural daylight that enters the room. Choose a lighter fabric for areas that require more light or that aren't overlooked so don't need a higher level of privacy, or a darker fabric for rooms that need more privacy and light control. They're made with a unique honeycomb design that traps air between the layers of the fabric, providing insulation at the windows which helps to keep your room warm in the winter and cool in the summer, which can reduce your reliance on artificial light and heating/cooling systems.

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Operation

Duette® blinds can also be operated from the top down or bottom up, giving you greater control over the area of light that enters your home, great if you have a dark corner that needs more of the sun's rays.

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Twice as nice

Some Duette® blinds combine two fabrics in one blind one in front of the other, allowing you to switch between a sheer and a standard or blackout fabric, depending on your needs. This gives you the flexibility to increase natural light during the day and have greater privacy and darkness at night.

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Light from above

If your room benefits from a lantern window which organically increase natural light by their very nature then you can enjoy light from an additional source that can really make a room feel brighter. Less attractive in wet and windy autumn and winter, you can manage the light flow with a Duette® blind crafted just for this kind of window.

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Pleated

Pleated blinds enjoy similar benefits to Duette® blinds when it comes to light flow. Available in a range of opacities, from sheer to textured, this means that you can choose a lighter fabric to allow more natural light to enter your space, while still maintaining privacy and reducing glare. Pleated blinds have a slim profile, which means that they take up less space than some other types of window coverings when not in use. This can help to maximize the amount of light that enters your room by allowing more light to pass through your windows.

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Change the light

Similar to Duette® blinds, Pleated blinds can be operated from the top down or bottom up. This allows you to not only control the amount of light that enters the room but also to choose the areas to light up, effectively allowing you to bounce light where it needs to go space.

blue coloured pleated blind fitted to a white framed window in a bathroom with grey coloured walls

Roman blinds

Roman blinds have a clean and simple design that allows as much light as possible to enter the room when the blinds are fully raised. With so many different types of fabric to choose from you can easily find the fabric that helps increase natural light in your home, from light colours in airy fabrics for a small space to heavy velvet for winter months. And it's not just the fabrics themselves - customisable linings play their part too. A standard lining will let in more light than a blackout lining so keep that in mind when you make your decisions.

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Wood blinds

Wooden venetian blinds have adjustable slats that can be tilted to allow more or less light to enter the room. This means you can angle the slats to bring light into the room while still maintaining privacy. And just like any other blind, you can raise them so they're entirely clear of the window to fill the room with light, letting it bounce off any reflective surface and make the room brighter. All our wood blinds are crafted from real wood, and the natural texture and grain of the wood can help to create a warm and inviting ambiance, or opt for a paint or stain in light colours to make darker spaces feel brighter. Wood blinds are an excellent compromise between shutters and fabric blinds and an ideal way to increase natural light in your home.

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Electric

Electric blinds can help with increasing natural light in your home by providing greater control over the amount of light that enters the room. By simply pressing a button or using a remote control, you can adjust the position of the blinds to allow more or less natural light into your space.

For example, if you have large windows that let in a lot of natural light but also create glare or heat, you can adjust the electric blinds to block out some of the light and reduce the heat. Alternatively, if you have a smaller room that doesn't receive a lot of natural light, you can adjust the blinds to let in as much light as possible.

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Pre-programme the light

Another benefit of electric blinds is that they can be programmed to automatically adjust throughout the day based on the position of the sun. This means that the blinds will lower or raise as needed to maximize natural light while minimizing heat and glare. This can help keep your home comfortable and energy-efficient while also enhancing the natural light in your space.

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Considerations

When choosing shutters or blinds, consider the style and material that will best suit your needs. If you want to enjoy more natural light while maintaining privacy, opt for café or tier on tier shutters, or semi-sheer blinds. If you have large windows or want a classic look, full-height shutters or wooden blinds may be a better choice as they give you even greater levels of control over how much more natural light in your home you will enjoy.

Awnings

It may seem odd to talk about ways to create shade when we're looking at how you can increase natural light, but being able to control the light you do have is one of the secrets of how to maximise natural light. If you have a patio or outdoor space, but direct sunlight is preventing you from spending any time enjoying it then an awning is the perfect answer. Awnings provide shade and protection from the sun's harmful UV rays, allowing you to enjoy your outdoor space even on the hottest days. Available in a range of styles and colours, retractable awnings can be adjusted to provide shade at different times of the day.

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Architecture, decor and accessories

It's worth looking at other considerations beyond window furnishings that can help make your space feel brighter. We've mentioned lantern windows and obviously they're not a quick solution that will work in every space, but sky lights are more straightforward solution that can work in other areas. Or how about installing glass blocks which can not only be a feature but also help bounce light around a space. Think about colour too - white reflects light so it's a great option for rooms with smaller windows, and high gloss paint is another quick fix. Sometimes though there just isn't enough daylight and you have to resort to artificial lighting. If that's the case, then choose your light bulbs carefully - daylight simulation bulbs will create a more natural look in any internal room.

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In summary

The key to maximizing natural light in your home is to strike a balance between allowing as much light as possible in to enhance the space, while also minimizing the negative effects of direct sunlight. Shutters, blinds, and awnings all offer effective solutions to controlling the light in your home and helping to achieve this balance.

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