5 Interior Painting Tips to Make the Most of Natural Lighting

calander Dec 8 , 2020 user-icon Nash Painting

Human beings, like most living creatures, are drawn to sunlight. So, while many of us spend the majority of our time indoors, there’s a reason we like to look out the window. Letting the light in can increase our levels of vitamin D, boost our mood, improve our sleep patterns, and more. As you look around your home, then, you might wonder if it’s receiving the maximum amount of natural light possible. If you feel like your home’s natural light is lacking, there are several ways to make your space shine brighter, and the way you approach residential interior painting holds one of the keys.

How to Do Interior Painting for Natural Lighting

1. Choose Your Paint Colors Wisely

The concepts of light and color are inextricably linked -- the various colors we perceive result from the reflection of varying wavelengths of light off a particular object. Darker colors absorb more light while lighter colors reflect more light. Painters use the metric known as Light Reflectance Value (LRV) to gauge the amount of visible light reflected or absorbed by a given paint color. Pure white paints have an LRV of 100% while pitch black paints have an LRV of 0%, with other colors falling somewhere in between.

So, if you’re struggling with how to select interior paint colors but know you want to get the most out of natural lighting, look for paints with high LRV percentages -- as just mentioned, pure white will offer the highest level of reflection, which might be what you’re going for. Indeed, painting your walls white will allow the natural light to powerfully emanate, enlarging the appearance of your spaces. However, white walls might not be your cup of tea for any number of reasons. Not to worry, you can still find plenty of non-white and colorful paints with high LRVs.

It’s also worth mentioning that some homeowners might love natural light but don’t wish to wash out their interior with its radiance. If you fall into this camp, you might go with a low-LRV paint instead. These minimally reflective paints can make a room feel smaller and cozier, though opening up some windows can provide the right balance for your preferences. This might be your valid way of getting the most of natural lighting.

2. Go with Flatter Finishes

Paint color isn’t the only consideration to make when seeking to make the most of natural lighting -- finish matters, too. Paint finishes exist on a spectrum, commonly broken into five categories from least to most reflective: flat/matte, eggshell, satin, semi-gloss, and gloss/high-gloss. You might think that going with a glossier finish would help you get the most out of the outdoor light. However, while high-gloss paints do strongly reflect light (as their name suggests), they might not offer the type of reflection you’re looking for. Put another way, high-gloss paints can create pinpoint glares based on the surface’s shape and texture, which can overwhelm the eyes and make an interior appear uneven. Conversely, less glossy finishes distribute their reflective properties evenly. So, while a flat finish won’t yield the lustrous look of a glossy surface, it will still let in plenty of light (if the color contains a high enough LRV, of course) and reflect it in all directions.

This isn’t to say glossy finishes should be left off the table entirely, though. Professional interior house painters might suggest that you use semi-gloss or high-gloss paints for key areas of your home, such as your trim and baseboards, kitchen backsplash, bathroom tiling, and so on. As for your standard walls, however, you’re often better off going with a flat, eggshell, or satin finish.

3. Don’t Neglect Your Ceilings

There’s more to home interior painting than merely coating and/or coloring your walls. It’s easy to take your ceilings for granted, but these overhead surfaces play a major role in determining a room’s overall appearance. If you want natural light to diffuse throughout your entire space, you’ll want to make sure your ceiling is painted with a high LRV and, if possible, a lighter color than its adjacent walls -- there’s a reason the majority of ceilings are painted white. A reflective white ceiling will let the light bounce around the room, brightening and enlarging the entire area. If you’re looking for ways to make the most of natural lighting, then, remember to look up.

4. Try Skylights

Speaking of looking up, you can really let the light pour in by investing in skylights. While this tip isn’t directly related to interior painting, it has a major impact on the appearance of your painted surfaces. Installing windows on your roof in this way allows natural light to enter your home from above where it won’t be obstructed by trees, structures, and other objects. Even when it’s cloudy, skylit rooms receive natural light from the light reflected off the clouds. Skylights also allow you to enjoy your privacy without sacrificing all the natural light -- during the day, you can close your drapes or shades to block off outside eyes while still letting the light in from above. It’s worth mentioning that these installations don’t come cheap. However, outfitting your home with skylights can greatly increase its resale value.

5. Lighten Those Eaves

Lastly, a little bit of strategic exterior painting can also help bring more natural light into your home. Eaves, the overhanging parts of your roof, can do more than simply keep water off your siding. The underside of these features can actually reflect light into your home. This might seem counterintuitive at first -- after all, these hanging features cast shadows on your home. However, by painting the underside of your eaves white, you allow natural light to bounce off the ground into your home. The aesthetic implications of this choice are minimal, too, since these sections won’t be seen from the outside and rather only from inside your home.

Lighten Up Your Home -- It’s Only Natural

There is no shortage of options when it comes to lighting your home. During the day, however, it’s economical, aesthetically beneficial, and good for your health to let the sun serve as your home’s primary source of light. If you want to optimize your home for natural lighting, local painters can help. At Nash Painting, we’ve helped hundreds of homeowners and business owners in Nashville, Brentwood, and Franklin, TN improve their property’s look and feel via our painting services, color consultations, and commitment to quality. Let us help you make the most of natural lighting. To learn more about us, our services, and our values, call us at 615-829-6858 today!