Maximising Natural Light at Home with Debra Kacher of dk Interiors

by Rebecca Bourne in Designer style at home

Using examples from their project portfolio, dk Interiors show why natural light is one of the most important features of a property, and how intelligent furniture and soft furnishing choices can help to maximise it in every room.

Rooms that are flooded with light instantly strike you as being more spacious and welcoming, but urban landscapes and the need for privacy generally mean compromising on the level of natural light in your home. Because of this it’s important to choose an interior designer with the ability to maximise the natural light available, whilst supplementing darker rooms with light sources which create the same positive atmosphere. One of these experts is Debra Kacher from dk Interiors, who is sharing her advice for creating a lighter, brighter home.

“We always assess the amount of natural light and the direction of the sunlight during the day before embarking on the design of any room, for space planning, furniture placement, decoration, colour and wall treatments. Especially when working on full refurbishments, this allows us to plan and design the lighting schemes in conjunction with the furniture layouts from the outset - a vital step in the design process.”

A room with limited natural light can be made to look dramatic and interesting through the use of dark colours or textured wall treatments.”

Before light can even enter a home it has to pass through the windows, which come in all shapes and sizes. If you’re designing a home it’s good to think about the best ways to let natural light in. As well as traditional windows, consider floor-to-ceiling glass, skylights and roof windows. In period properties, stained glass and round porthole windows can be design accents, adding charm and character as well as letting in additional light.

Privacy blinds or curtains are also a popular element of window dressings, and the luxurious options available today are a far cry from the net curtains of yesteryear. They filter the light to give it a softer quality, which can soften the atmosphere of the room as well as blocking out harsh sunlight. Choose a light fabric like sheer linen or a patterned voile, and consider a double curtain pole so they can be drawn independently from your main curtains. “With the increasing use of large televisions in areas of high natural light, the use of sunscreen blinds is a great option as they shield the sun from the room, but do not stop natural daylight coming through.”

See how the patterned window-dressing of this living room is reflected in the glass coffee table.

One of the most accessible ways to capitalise on the amount of natural light in a room is to add reflective elements such as mirrored surfaces and polished metals, as well as high-gloss lacquer and glass. Debra adds, “We love using mirrors to create an illusion of space, it really opens up a room.”

Of course one of the key rules of interior design is contrast, so it’s important not to go overboard with these finishes. In this project the reflective glass coffee table and flatscreen television have been paired with matt textiles and more subtle metallic elements; gold threads within the rug pick up light from the window, warm bronze lamps have been used, as well as a textured wallcovering.

Take light into consideration even when choosing accessories - this glassware trio with different levels of opacity creates a playful effect.

For rooms with less natural light - especially long spaces - it’s important to supplement natural light with ambient lighting, which will be welcoming and practical both day and night. “Rooms with limited natural light need to be carefully planned, we love to layer light from mood-setting lamps to more direct task lighting,” says Debra. Ceiling lights, standing and floor lamps can all be used to support natural light.

Illuminated shelving is also increasingly popular in luxury interior design, and can transform one of the darkest corners of the home into an elegant statement. “Shelf lighting on a separate circuit can not only create mood and interest by lighting selected objects, but also adds a different type of light to the room,” she adds.

Made with concealed LED strip lighting, speak to your interior designer about creating a bespoke shelving system which will fit your space as well as meeting all of your storage needs.

This bedroom includes many different light sources which are controlled separately, allowing the owners to vary the mood throughout the day. Exposed lightbulbs can be hard on the eyes, so for bedroom spaces dk Interiors use concealed uplighters, strip lighting and shaded wall lamps next to the bed.

While natural light is considered an asset in any home, it’s important to be able to shut out the light in bedrooms for the best possible sleep. Pair sheer privacy blinds or curtains with a heavier option like luxurious silk, which can be lined with a thick fabric to keep out early morning light. Blackout blinds are also a practical option for those living in urban areas, to help shut out unwanted light pollution.

 A room with limited natural light can be made to look dramatic and interesting through the use of dark colours or textured wall treatments,” Debra says. One of the most common misconceptions in interior design is that in order to create a light room you need to paint every surface white! This does work, but it is also possible to achieve stunning results by embracing darker tones. In a room with good levels of direct, natural light, dark curtains or statement furniture make an excellent contrast. Black can be harsh, so use plum, navy and dark woods as foundation colours, then direct the eye towards the beams of natural light coming in with strategically placed accessories. For this project a delicate vase of flowers contrasts the strong sunlight with the rich sheen of the plum velvet upholstery.

Above all, Debra’s advice is to consider the effects of natural light on every surface. “Even floor coverings can help to provide more light in a room. Recently we designed an apartment where the flooring was all dark wood, and by adding a light rug it helped to reflect the light and open the space even more.”

 If you’ve been inspired to make more of the natural light in your home, see more of dk Interior’s projects, or browse our selection of mirrors and glass accessories.

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