So you have bought a cave. Whether your problems stem from lack of windows, low ceilings, too large eaves, overhanging foliage, or just plain bad design, fear not as there are a range of clever ways to get more natural light into a dark home!
It may sound obvious but adding more glass is a great way to get more natural light in. This can be in many forms and sizes, with large glass exterior folding doors or sliding doors one of the best ways to transform dark rooms into light filled spaces. Make sure all sliding and folding door hardware uses double or triple glazed glass to increase the energy efficiency. Adding large windows that face north in key living spaces is a no brainer, however don’t overlook corridors and stairwells as these can often have significant impacts on the entire amount of light entering a building.
Skylights are another option to consider and come in all shapes and sizes from Tubular Daylighting Devices (TDD’s) to large glass windows that can be opened to allow hot air out. TDDs are mini sky lights that use reflective cylinders installed between the roof and interior ceiling to let in a soft glow of light rather than harsh beams of light. These are a cost effective solution as not a lot structural building work is required to install them and if combined with installing large bifold doors in the same room can completely transform the space. Larger square skylights will let a lot more light in and look great, especially for windowless rooms, but be wary as they can also let heat in and are at greater risk of leakage because the large hole cut in your roof.
Opening up the interior of a house will increase the feeling of space and light entering all rooms. This usually means removing a wall or two to create more open plan living spaces. If your house has lots of small room separated by walls, this is really worth considering. Another option is to remove the walls but replace them with glass sliding doors running on quality bottom rolling door hardware, this way you can still close up sections of the house but keep light streaming in.