Hand opening blinds on window

How to Maximise Natural Light in Your Home

It’s a glorious day outside but you have one room in your house that just seems to remain dull and dark. It’s a common problem encountered by many, but how do you draw more natural light into your home?

Getting natural light into a dark room is important. It not only helps you see things more clearly; it offers lots of health benefits too. Natural light boosts your mood and is known to release endorphins, meaning a light and airy room will make you feel happier and more energetic.

Getting as much light into a room as possible is also good for your house. The heat from the sun can reduce condensation and damp and help warm it up, reducing how much you need to use the central heatingy. Sunlight is also known to reduce the production of bacteria and other critters that may want to set up camp in your house.

What can be done to utilise and maximise natural light?

Choose your colours wisely

Even if you only have a small window or a north-facing room, the colours you choose for it can have a massive impact on just how it reacts with the light. Reflective, neutral colours such as white, magnolia and cream will instantly brighten a room; the same goes for the colour of your ceiling. Avoid using darker colours here as this will instantly absorb the light and make the room seem smaller. Using bright neutral colours also make a great blank canvas for your decor choices.

Include mirrors

Mirrors and other reflective decor such as glass pendant lights and chrome ornaments can help move the light around the room. A mirror placed directly opposite the source of light, whether it be a window or door, will instantly create the illusion of another light source=. If it’s a kitchen that you’d like to brighten, consider light coloured work surfaces and reflective additions such as glass splashbacks.

Avoid over dressing your windows

The worst thing you can do when it comes to a source of natural light is cover it up. A common thing to do with a light coloured room is to have dark accessories; this often includes blinds and curtains. Unfortunately fitting dark curtains and blinds to a small window will dramatically reduce the amount of light that gets through to your room. Instead, opt for a lighter colour and give yourself the option to open the dressings fully. Sheer curtains are also a good option as they let the light through and into the room without much adjustment.

Consider the layout of your room

To maximise light distribution throughout a room, avoid placing large furniture near the window. If it’s a bedroom that needs more light, furniture such as wardrobes should be kept to a different area of the room.If they can effectively “box in” a window, they will cast shadows in other parts of the room.

Keep your windows clean

This may seem really obvious but it really does make a difference. Dirt and grime build up on windows is an inevitable problem and can reduce the amount of light getting through into the room if allowed to build up. We would recommend giving your windows a good clean every couple of weeks.

Add windows

This is an extreme option, but worth it if your property is suitable and you have the funds for the work.

If you’d prefer not to add a window due to the cost or change of aesthetics, there are other options available. Tubular skylights go up through the ceiling and out through the roof. Sunlight then reflects down into the room providing another source of natural light. These are however only really suitable in upstairs rooms or bungalows.

Windows could also be installed internally to draw light from other areas of the house, if this is preferred.

Trim back any trees and foliage outside

It’s not uncommon for trees to cast a shadow and reduce the amount of light that can enter a home. Cut back any trees that may be causing problems and trim back any climbers that may have started to trail up the window.

Choose the right colour flooring

Much like walls and ceilings, floor colour can have a huge impact in how light is distributed around a room. Dark floors and carpets can draw down the light and take it away from the rest of the room. Lighter carpets and flooring will spread the light a little further across the room. If you’re extra courageous, polished floors are especially good for light distribution.

Let there be light!

Not everyone is blessed with a house where every room is south facing and benefits from a whole day of sunshine; because of that there are many things that can be done to help. Follow our tips and you’ll be basking in glorious sunshine in no time!

Wooden window frames

How to Clean Wooden Window Frames

Wooden window frames and sills can be an excellent addition to a house, particularly if you want to retain the traditional appearance of a period property. However, wooden frames do require a little bit more maintenance than frames made from uPVC or aluminium

Due to the nature of the product, it stands to reason that wooden windows require a little more attention from the outset; this could include wood staining, treatments, oiling or painting. Like other types of window frame, over time they will need a little TLC. With constant exposure to different weather conditions, it’s likely they’ll need a good clean every now and then too. But what is the best way to keep wooden window frames clean?

How Do You Clean and Treat Wooden Window Frames?

Here we’re going to take a look at the different methods you can use to keep your wooden frames clean without causing damage, as well as preventative measures that can be applied to help protect your windows and increase longevity.

Simply Does It

Sometimes the best methods are the simplest. There’s no need to spend a small fortune buying specific cleaning solutions when household products can work just as well.

There are however different techniques to consider depending on the finish of your wooden window frames:

Painted Windows

Provided that the paint is in good condition:

  • Use a soft brush or scouring pad with some washing up liquid to lift the dirt.
  • Rinse thoroughly with warm water, using a soft cloth to remove any excess water and product.
  • If your windows and sills are painted white, a diluted bleach solution can also be used to remove stubborn stains or mould patches.

If the paintwork is a little worse for wear, use a soft bristle brush to remove any flakes before cleaning. A new coat of paint would also be recommended to help maintain protection.

Stained Windows

  • Use a soft bristle brush to remove any excess dirt build-up.
  • Once you’re satisfied that all of the excess dirt has been removed, use a dilute solution of washing up liquid and warm water with a soft cloth to wipe away any marks or grubby areas. Using a spray bottle may help make the job easier.

Avoid using bleach on stained windows as this can cause discolouration and will dry out the wood. To help protect the integrity of the wood against sunlight and water damage, re-stain your wooden windows every 2-3 years depending on the colour chosen.

Varnished Windows

If your windows are varnished and have started to look a little dull, it might be time to give them a good clean.

  • The same methods used for stained windows will often get the best results.
  • If stubborn stains or watermarks can’t be shifted, use a fine sandpaper to remove the top layer of varnish, reapplying as you go. Reapplication should only be done when the frames are completely dry; this will prevent the varnish from “bubbling” and the wood from rotting.

Waxed or Oiled Windows

As with stained and varnished windows, a good going over with a soft bristle brush and a diluted washing up liquid solution is the most effective method for removing dirt and grime. As most household detergents and rainwater can be slightly acidic, it’s important to re-apply the wax or oil regularly to feed the wood and help prevent weather damage. Do not use bleach to clean natural wood finishes as this will cause discolouration.

Useful Tips for Cleaning Wooden Windows

Being conscientious when cleaning wooden window frames is one thing, but no one (we imagine!) wants to spend hours doing it. These tips and tricks will help make cleaning your wooden windows that bit easier:

Removing Mould and Mildew from Your Window Frame

As we’ve mentioned before, using bleach to remove mould spots on painted wood is effective, but this won’t work for stained, varnished or waxed/oiled wood, and could do more damage than good.

Try using a vinegar dilute, instead.

  • Mix four parts water with one part vinegar.
  • Soak the mould spots.
  • Leave for a few minutes.
  • Clean as advised above.

If the mould and mildew build up is on the inside of the window, consider investing in a de-humidifier. This will reduce the amount of moisture in the room, thus reducing the chances of mould growth.

When Something a Little Stronger is Needed

If your window frames are particularly grubby and washing up liquid isn’t quite cutting it, add a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda to give it a little more kick. Alternatively, use biological wash powder diluted in warm water; this is particularly good for removing organic matter such as bird droppings and plant sap.

Avoid Pressure Washing Your Window Frame

This might sound like common sense, but it’s all too easy to reach for the pressure washer to speed things up. This can however be detrimental for your wooden window frames. Not only could the pressure of the water cause the glass in your windows to break, it can also cause the frames to warp and even damage seals and paint work.

Use Liquids Sparingly

If your windows are varnished, waxed or oiled, minimise use of liquids as much as possible. Avoid soaking the wood and always remove any excess moisture with a dry, lint-free cloth so as not to cause water marks or crystallisation as the solution dries.

Problem Solved

As wonderful as they are, cleaning wooden window frames can be a bit of a sticking point, but we hope you’ve found our guide useful. Follow our tips and tricks and we’re confident your windows will look tip top for many years to come, without breaking the bank!

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