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Maximising Natural Light In A Period Home

Interior Design Advice

Whilst the architecture of a period home is often timelessly elegant, a common complaint we hear among our clients in Belgravia, Chelsea, Mayfair and Knightsbridge is that ‘My Georgian, Victorian or Edwardian home lacks natural daylight’. This is especially true during the winter months and even Regency era properties with their large-scale windows, rarely let enough light in to reach the very depths of the home.

Remodelling the windows and facade is usually not an option on these buildings, given they usually have grade listed status, however there are a number of design choices you can make to maximise the light in a period property. We take a look at past Janine Stone & Co. projects to demonstrate some design advice.

Mirror-Glaze Finishes

It sounds obvious but choosing hard furnishing that have reflective, mirror-like finishes will help to reflect light around the interior space. Commissioning bespoke hard furniture, such as coffee tables and credenza to be made with highly polished wood veneers or polished stone are a perfect canvas to apply this technique.

Matte Wall Coverings

Whilst you want some of the hard furnishing to have reflective finishes, you should opt for natural, matte texture finishes for the wall coverings. Glossy walls create glare in the space. Matte finishes (e.g. matte emulsion or high-grade linen wallcovering) will help to reflect the light equally around the room.

Open Up The Space

Whilst it’s unlikely you’ll be able to make the windows of a listed building any bigger, you might gain approval to remodel the interior. In which case, you want to open up the space to allows as much of the light to flow through as possible. A common pinch point in a typical London townhouse or apartment is the stairwell, which usually blocks light from reaching the central areas of the home.

On a recent project in Belgravia, we removed the brick facade around the stairwell and replaced it with a contemporary glass, iron combination that helped light travel right through the entire floor.

Perpendicular Fixtures

Large fixtures, partitions and bookshelves should never run parallel to a window. They’ll simply obstruct too much light. Positioning a bookshelf or large cabinet perpendicular to the windows, will allow more daylight to flow through the space and will very often present your fixtures in a more harmonious light.

Metallic Accents

Metallic accents, incorporated into accessories and objects around your home will help to lift a dreary space – in the same way lemon zest cuts through a fine treacle tart. The simple addition of a bronzed framed mirror, art-deco lamp with gold-leaf decoration or metallic lighting fixture, are details that add up to more than the sum of their parts – when it comes to maximising the light in a period property.

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For more information about our interior design services visit the relevant pages on our website, or contact our studio to discuss a project you are taking on.