Vaulted ceilings with skylights are the ultimate way to make your home feel open and spacious, but unless your home came with vaulted ceilings, creating them would require an extensive remodel. The good news is, there’s an easier way to make your home feel spacious, and it starts with being intentional about your window coverings.
Windows are your primary source of natural light
Windows are the primary source of letting natural light into your home. Your space will feel dark and dreary if your windows are covered with heavy drapes and curtains that don’t let in the light. Allowing natural light into your home by optimizing your window coverings will make your space feel bigger and brighter.
Many people don’t realize how dark natural settings can make their home. Even with plenty of windows, being surrounded by trees and having faux beams and low ceilings can make your home dark.
If you have small windows, don’t have enough windows, or if your windows face the wrong direction, you won’t get much natural light to begin with. The best thing you can do is find ways to maximize the natural light that pours into your home.
The way your window coverings open and close matters
Beyond aesthetics, how your drapes or blinds open and close makes a significant difference in the amount of light they let in or block out. For example, vertical and horizontal blinds are designed to block light when closed. However, you can open them as much or as little as you want to control the amount of light you want to let in. You can’t do that with drapes. Drapes are either open or closed. Sometimes you have to settle for glare from the setting sun if you want to keep your drapes open.
Horizontal blinds can be raised or lowered as the sun sets to reduce the amount of glare from the sun. Vertical blinds can only be opened or closed from one side to the other, which makes them less appealing for west-facing windows.
Since vertical blinds are generally used to cover large windows (like sliding glass doors), you may need to keep them closed for privacy more often than you’d like. Especially if your sliding doors face a public street. Keeping your vertical blinds closed will make your home darker. If you’re concerned about privacy but want to allow light in from your sliding glass door, put up some sheer curtains instead.
Blinds in either orientation are easy to clean, since they’re made from materials that resist moisture. Vertical blinds are a bit easier to clean than horizontal because they don’t collect as much dust.
Drapes can make your space feel big and elegant
Drapes aren’t as easy to clean as blinds, but they have benefits, too. Like blinds, drapes can be opened fully to let in as much light as your windows will accommodate. The benefit of using curtains is mainly aesthetics. If your home’s interior décor has been intentionally designed, chances are, you’ve got matching curtains. Mismatched curtains can make your space feel small and cramped. Having curtains that match your décor, even dark and solid colors, can make your space feel luxurious.
Leaving your curtains open will give you the most light possible, if you don’t mind the lack of privacy. If you’ve got noisy neighbors, however, the right curtains can double as sound absorption. If you live in a home that was built to maximize sunlight but find it’s a bit too much in the summer heat, blackout curtains will insulate your home from the heat until you’re ready to open up the space.
If you’re going to use drapes, be sure to get drapes that hang from clips on wide, easy-to-slide rings, or drapes that come with wide grommets. You’ll get frustrated trying to slide drapes open and closed with any other style.
You don’t have to ditch dark colors
Conventional wisdom says you should decorate small rooms with a light color scheme to make the space feel bigger. That’s not always true. Sometimes small rooms are best decorated with dark colors to make them feel cozy.
If you have a small, cozy, darkly-decorated space, the color of your window coverings isn’t going to give you more or less light. To let in more light, don’t change the color of your drapes. Instead, get new drapes in the same color but made from a light, see-through material. Your space will stay color-coordinated, cozy, and you’ll get more natural light.