Let the sunshine in
If you cope with cold weather by drawing the curtains in October and not opening them again until April, you’ll be more than ready for a window solution that lets in lots of light all day long - even on short, winter days - but will insulate the house as efficiently as an extra layer of glazing at night. What are we talking about? Our DIY shutters, of course. For French doors, they can be folded right back to maximise the view of the garden; whatever the window, they come in a range of slat sizes (the bigger the slats, the more light they let in), and they’re available in a vast array of light-reflecting colours, thanks to our Colour Matching Service. White’s best for a classic look, but if your room’s north-facing, why not choose shutters in a sunny yellow to give it a year-round warm glow?
Give the walls a quick once-over
The trouble with letting the sunshine in to a previously gloomy room is that all its blemishes will suddenly become glaringly obvious. So, whether it’s grubby paintwork, cracks in plaster or even just corners full of cobwebs that are letting the side down, be prepared to give your room a bit of a makeover. That might just mean wiping down walls and getting the feather duster out – or (sorry) you might need to resort to a little light DIY.
Swap dark shades for light
If it turns out your walls could do with a coat or two of paint, pale shades will make the room feel lighter and brighter obviously. But if you prefer a dramatic colour scheme, opt for a wallpaper design with a metallic motif that will reflect the light.
Or just hang a mirror
Walls looking tip top but the room’s still a little on the dull side? A quick fix is to hang a large mirror adjacent to the windows that overlook your garden – that way, the room will seem lighter and you’ll get the benefit of a picturesque reflection.
Use tricks to merge indoors and out
There are lots of ways to blur the lines between your indoors and outdoors. One is to opt for flooring – or at least a flooring colour - that can be carried through both spaces (ideally choose a light shade that reflects light). Another is to continue the colour of your room’s walls through to the garden by painting the wall or fence the same colour. Still another is to choose garden furniture in a style that complements that of the furniture indoors. One more for luck? Group a couple of big houseplants near French doors and similarly-sized plants outside so that the foliage seems to merge into one, gorgeously green group.
Choose low-slung furniture
On the hunt for new seating for your living room? If yours overlooks the garden, the last thing you want to do is block the view with bulky or tall sofas and armchairs. So, as you shop, keep your eyes peeled for pieces you’ll be able to see over or around – and remember that light coloured upholstery will reflect the light and help make the room brighter still.
Want to make your rooms indoors feel bigger at night AND show your garden off all evening, too? Get some garden lighting installed and you’ll be amazed at just how different both spaces will feel. Like to be energy-efficient? Shop for solar-powered lights that will up the style factor but not your electricity consumption (or bills).
Ready to splurge?
If you’re revamping the back of your house, add in as much glass as possible – from floor-to-ceiling windows to folding, sliding doors that can be pulled right back to make your garden and living spaces merge seamlessly.
Of course it’s all very well opening up the house to the garden, but that done, you’re pretty much obliged to create a year-round gorgeous view. One way to minimise the work involved is to plant dramatic, shapely plants that are ideally green year-round as near to the house as possible.
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