Brighter days in many ways
January 18, 2024
Thankfully we’ve now left winter solstice, aka the shortest day of the year, behind but many of us still perceive the run-up to spring as rather dark, miserable and long. Almost half of UK homeowners say their home lacks natural light or they wish it was lighter. More than a third admit the lack of light makes them feel fatigued, which is sadly also known to be a big contributor towards ill health. Don’t despair though, because now is the ideal time to observe how and where natural light falls into our homes.
Consider the quantity, positioning and glazing of your windows. Perhaps it’s worth moving or adding windows? With some bright home improvement choices curated by Cube, next winter could be a much more pleasant prospect. Here’s our lowdown on creating light and airy spaces.
Be open to open-plan
Have you reached the point where you feel limited by the layout of your very own home? Well, then it’s definitely time to open up your space. An extension gives you the option to reconsider the ground floor as a whole, introduce more light, improve the overall flow as well as creating more spacious rooms.
Open-plan living is still very much the ‘go-to’ home improvement, especially for families who like to have sociable multifunctional living areas. New and evolving ideas make for ever changing designs that move with the times and adapt to your personal needs. Many of our clients opt for an open-plan kitchen extension to expand living areas and create one big space in which to cook, dine and entertain.
While this ground floor wraparound extension added some much-needed space for this growing Thames Ditton family, the internal reconfiguration made a huge difference to the amount of natural light flooding into their home. We fitted grouped Velux skylights which allow this spacious, bright open-plan kitchen with its separate dining/family area to serve up plenty of natural light.
Cube’s top tip: the higher the roof beams of your extension, the better because it means natural light is less likely to be obstructed and can easily make its way into the space.
Doors? Full width, please!
Throughout any renovated or contemporary new build home, one of the most popular and stylish architectural features is the addition of glass doors. While enhancing the interior décor and design, different types of glass can open up any room, creating a seamless extension into the garden and beyond, improving ventilation and adding a real showpiece to your home.
With eight different types of glass doors to choose from, Cube can help you decide which option works best for your home. Among the most commonly used are bi-folding, Crittall-style and sliding doors.
We’ve picked a project from Walton-on-Thames to help you visualise what slimline sliding doors can achieve: we installed them across the back and side of this newly built extension to integrate the internal space with the garden and allowing in light from every angle. Our clients now enjoy that indoor/outdoor feeling and lovely views of their garden from what we call a real ‘wow factor’ extension.
It’s a Yes to framing light and views
We understand that full width doors aren’t everyone’s taste, in which case we’d suggest considering adding windows. Paired with a bi-fold door for example, you can create easy access to the outdoors and aid flow within the space. For a more versatile interior feel you can also fit smaller windows that still allow you to make use of the walls within your home.
Part of this extensive project in Hampton Hill was to create a light filled open-plan area on the ground floor. We designed with natural light in mind and installed Velux skylights, bi-fold doors and a kitchen window to ensure that literally no window of opportunity to look out onto the garden was missed.
Of course, windows can be much bigger and turned into a beautiful feature as you can see in this fabulous rear extension project. The large picture window wonderfully frames the back garden and plays a significant part in dressing the open-plan kitchen with light.
Crittall glass doors, slim-framed sliding doors and Velux skylights form a very strong combo that helps natural light enter even deeper into this Hampton Hill home.
Promote light from above
Whether it’s a fixed panel skylight or Velux window, one crucial thing to know is that roof windows bring in significantly more light than their equivalent placed within a wall. Here at Cube, we love designing with roof lights as they’re an excellent way to light up the middle of a home. Particularly as part of ground floor extensions, they work a treat when placed along the rear or side return.
Looking at this rear extension which we built in Twickenham you can’t help notice how much natural light is drawn in through the roof lights and stunning rear feature window.
We opted for a pitched rather than a flat roof design as an angled roof creates a better reach and focuses natural light downwards. Two sets of Velux skylights opposite each other really seize every ray of sunshine.
Here’s a great example from our portfolio to show you how a bespoke skylight can work wonders in a loft conversion. The skylight above the staircase floods light right down to the first floor.
Go light on the interior
Interior furnishings have a big impact on the feel of your home. Dark colours and textures tend to swallow light, making a space feel smaller. With space coming at a premium for many of us, it’s often advisable to opt for lighter colour schemes and textures to create the brightest finish possible.
The furniture, fixtures and colour choices in our Kew project are light and subtle, harmonising well with the overall design of the kitchen/diner. Less really is more here as it’s all about that sunshine feeling.
Cube’s top tip: placing a mirror opposite a window could effectively double the light coming into your home. Shiny metallic finishes such as chrome taps, polished metal furniture, or even a silver photograph frame can also help to reflect natural light indoors.
Would you like to let more sunshine into your home?
We’d be delighted to discuss your sunny home improvement project in more depth. Our free initial design consultation is a great start and it’s entirely up to you if we meet in person or online. Book yourself in now:
T: 020 8432 9676