Virtually anyone you ask will say they feel better when the sun shines, and with good reason. Natural sunlight is important for the production of vitamin D and the immune system in general. S.A.D. (seasonal affective disorder) is now recognised as a real condition, which afflicts around 30% of the UK population. If you live or work in a property with little natural light, you might find your mood and energy levels aren’t great. There are some simple and relatively inexpensive solutions to help counteract your gloomy environment.
Add a Window or Door
For those rooms with an available outside wall, add one or more windows. Failing that, could existing windows be widened or lengthened? A set of French doors could be fitted to a suitable internal wall, which would bring a light and spacious feel, as well as offering a more versatile space for entertaining, etc. For really dark entrance halls, replace the existing front door with a set of patio doors and matching side windows. Opaque stained glass would create a stunning effect. To free up valuable space in an en-suite, as well as adding more light, a half-glass door could be fitted to a sliding door track. The neatest solution, for a suitable wall, would be a pocket door with flush-fitting, sliding door handles. Swapping your solid door for glass in a windowless office might even increase your productivity.
If the area in question is situated below a loft or roof void, you could consider installing a sun tube or ‘tubular daylighting device’ (TDD). This innovative product is quickly fitted and consists of a tube of reflective metal or foil, with a porthole window at either end; a flat porthole is inserted in the room ceiling and a domed version to the roof. Ideally the roof window should be facing south, to ‘collect’ as much sunlight as possible and reflect it into the room below. They come in different sizes and are amazingly effective, particularly when multiple sun tubes are installed.
Dormer Windows and Skylights
Although more expensive and subject to planning permission, valuable roof space could be converted to a living/sleeping area through adding a dormer. If other properties on your street have them, it’s likely that permission will be granted, if needed. While a Velux window could be added to the sloping roof, the addition of a dormer will add space, plus it won’t be as noisy when the rain beats down. Skylights can be installed to a flat roof and will make an area brighter. While traditional skylights were opened and closed using a long pole with a hook, these days it’s all done via remote-control. Not as vintage but definitely more convenient.
If none of the above suggestions are plausible for you, then invest in some large wall mirrors. They will at least make the room appear more spacious and will reflect what light there is, both natural and man-made. You can pick up second-hand mirrors cheaply from auctions and charity shops.
Regardless of your budget, there are ways to make dark and dismal areas brighter, so that you will enjoy spending time there, whether at work or home.