How To Increase Natural Light in Apartment – 7 Easy Ways

How To Increase Natural Light in Apartment – 7 Easy Ways Expand options

A well-lit apartment is hard to find, especially in New York and other big cities where any apartment is hard to find. So if you’re lucky enough to discover one that’s within your budget and commuting radius, take it.

Don’t let something like tiny windows, or how they offer a serene view of the neighboring wall, break the deal. As T. Swift said: “Welcome to New York.” Or Chicago. Or any major metro area for that matter.

OK so now that I have this tiny apartment with tiny windows that cost a huge fortune, what do I have to do to get some natural light around here?

If you own a Frank Lloyd Wright house with floor-to-ceiling windows, nothing. For everyone else, you have to employ some clever lighting tricks. This should be easy because we already did all the homework and are about to break it down for you in 3 … 2 …

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The Perks of Maximizing Natural Light

  • Maximizing natural light in your home offers many advantages that can significantly improve your quality of life.
  • Natural light makes spaces feel more open, vibrant, and welcoming.
  • Sunlight boosts mood and energy levels, helping to alleviate feelings of fatigue and stress.
  • Increased natural light reduces dependence on artificial lighting, lowering energy bills.
  • Utilizing natural light contributes to a greener environment.
  • Sarah’s experience showcases the transformative power of natural light: After rearranging her living room furniture to allow more sunlight, she noticed an immediate improvement in her family’s overall happiness. The room’s aesthetic appeal also increased, highlighting the positive impact of natural light.

Effective Strategies to Maximize Natural Light in Your Home

1. Clear the space around your windows.


Fill the apartment with natural light by clearing window space and opening curtains and drapes.

Whether you have one window in your apartment or ten, you can easily maximize their natural light powers by opening them to the room. Now before you do anything else, make sure each room is structured in a way that allows light to enter as deep as possible. Ideally, your whole window should be visible from any standing or sitting point in the room.

Next, move any tall bulky furniture to the darker side of the room so that it doesn’t obstruct light from entering through your window. For that same reason, only put low or thin plants on your windowsill.

Floating shelves, like the ones pictured above, allow additional light to pass through them. Glass door cabinets and chairs with narrow legs also produce the same luminous effect.

When in doubt, remember this: the less shadows an item creates, the better.

2. Place mirrors strategically.


An easy natural light tip is placing mirrors strategically to capture and reflect more light.

Mirrors and other reflective surfaces can double, or even triple, the reach of your natural light. And by hanging mirrors strategically, you’ll extend sunlight into (almost) any corner. Kind of like the Parisian who gave himself a breathtaking view of the Eiffel Tower.

For maximum effect, put mirrors, shiny metals, or reflective glass on the west- and east-facing walls since the sun focuses on each of them for half the day. Also, track where beams of light move in your apartment, and add reflective surfaces in those pathways to catch and disperse light throughout the rest of your home.

3. When picking treatments, treat lightly.

My Paradissi

A natural light trick is to pick window treatments that are white or soft-colored

Sometimes the problem isn’t a lack of natural light but having too much of it, at least for half the day. If your windows face either east or west, you may have a blinding amount of light in the morning or evening, and then almost none the rest of the time. Use window treatments during the brightest hours, but nothing that obstructs ambient light the rest of the time.

When choosing treatments, pick white or soft colors, ideally of a material that allows some light to pass through. Windows flanked by floor-length curtains can also make a room look larger, which is especially helpful in darker apartments.

4. Think “light” with your colors too.

The Style Files

A creative natural light tip is to use light-colored furniture in a tiny apartment.

Similarly, choose lighter colors as often as you can when decorating and buying furniture. White and lighter shades reflect natural light, whereas black and darker browns absorb it.

Pay special attention to your rugs, since floors receive a lot of your apartment’s light. Some designers actually recommend painting a floor white to create the illusion of more space, but all white everything isn’t for everyone. A white shag rug or a light gray can still go a long way to brighten your apartment.

5. Clean your windows at least once a month.

DRDH Architects

An easy natural light tip is to clean windows at least once a month.  

Sometimes the simplest solutions are the best. If you have a clear path for light from your windows, and colors and surfaces that reflect it, you still need to make sure your light source is clean.

Similar to headlights on a car, your windows will accumulate dust, dirt, and film that weaken their output (or, in this case, input) of light. If you want your apartment to have the most natural light possible, clean the inside of your windows at least once a month, and beg the super to clean the outside a couple of times a year.

6. Invest in lamps and candles.


A cool natural light idea is to use candles and floor and table lamps in a small apartment.

Your windows can’t be your apartment’s only light source. Thanks to candles, you can generate your own natural light, even at night. Since reflective surfaces will only take sunlight so far, add other sources throughout your apartment to maintain a flow of light.

Ceiling fixtures are common, but invest in some floor and table lamps too. And stagger pendant bulbs or sconces to add dimension to each room. If staged correctly, other lighting will complement natural light and appear to spread it to every crevice of your apartment.

7. Replace a few of your doors.

Hayburn & Co.

A cool natural lighting tip is to remove doors entirely for better light flow, especially in a tiny apartment.

OK, this is less of a “trick” than a minor (or major) construction endeavor, but if you own or plan on staying in your apartment for a while, replacing or removing a few doors can have an illuminating effect. Doors on hinges will either totally obstruct a room’s light when closed, or create a triangular shadow when they’re open. Either way, it isn’t great for light flow.

If you never need to close off a certain room of your apartment, consider removing the door entirely. If you do close off rooms with an abundance of light, French interior doors can spread it through the apartment.

Similarly, sliding doors can limit the shadows and space other doors take up. Their installation is a much larger endeavor, but it’s better than installing a skylight, which can cause serious glare, fade your furniture, and overheat your home.

Whichever natural light strategy you choose, it should begin with decluttering your apartment. As you make more space, you’ll have more natural light, which everyone in every city could use more of. Especially now that it’s winter.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Increasing Natural Light

  • Neglecting to clean windows which can block sunlight and diminish its brightening effect.
  • Using heavy, dark curtains or blinds preventing light from entering and making your space feel darker and smaller.
  • Decorating with dark colors that absorb light rather than reflect it, counteracting your efforts.

Example: Mike’s experience

  • Struggled to brighten his kitchen.
  • Swapped dark drapes for light, airy ones.
  • Repainted the walls in a soft, reflective color.
  • Result: Significant improvement in brightness and overall atmosphere.

Budget-Friendly Ways to Boost Natural Light

  • Thoroughly clean windows to ensure maximum light penetration.
  • Replace heavy curtains with sheer or light-colored ones to let more light in.
  • Place mirrors to reflect light into darker corners, making the room brighter.
  • Opt for light-colored paints for your walls and ceilings to amplify natural light.

Example: Emily’s experience

  • Implemented these budget-friendly strategies.
  • Achieved significant improvement in brightness.
  • Demonstrated that a brighter home is within reach without spending a lot of money.


In summary, taking advantage of natural light and caring for your winter coats can significantly improve your quality of life. Cleaning and properly storing your coats ensures they last for many years. Meanwhile, maximizing natural light in your home can uplift your mood, save on energy costs, and create a more inviting atmosphere. Avoid common mistakes, and use budget-friendly strategies to brighten your living spaces effectively. By doing so, you’ll enjoy the numerous benefits of natural light and create a more cheerful and sustainable home environment.

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FAQs on Maximizing Natural Light

How can I enhance natural light in my home without major renovations?

Clear window spaces, open curtains, use light-colored sheer treatments, place mirrors to reflect light and paint walls in light colors.

What types of mirrors are best for reflecting light effectively?

Large, flat mirrors positioned opposite windows or in light paths work best. Antique mirrors can also add a decorative touch.

Which paint colors are most effective for increasing natural light?

Light colors like white, cream, and soft pastels reflect light well, making rooms brighter and more spacious.

How can artificial lighting be used to complement natural light?

Use LED bulbs with daylight color temperature, place lamps in dark corners, and add sconces or pendant lights for balanced light.

Does cleaning windows really impact the amount of natural light?

Yes, clean windows allow more sunlight in. Regular cleaning inside and out maximizes light entry.

This article was written by David Michael McFarlane, a writer from Texas and Oregon who lives in New York and loves smart design and organization.

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