Inspiration 22 October 2018

Guest Blog: John Niven

John Niven shares four ways to make your home brighter as the dark nights close in.

The clocks will go back this year on Sunday 28th October and we will all have to adapt to the dark nights again. To help get our homes ready for winter, we met with award-winning, Manchester-based interior designer, John Niven, to get expert advice on how to maximise natural light and create brighter rooms during the darker months.

(Learn more about John here, or check out his Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook)

Natural light is one of the most popular features people look for when buying a property. Light makes a room feel spacious and promotes physical and mental wellbeing.

However, in the Autumn and Winter months, even rooms with access to natural light can feel dark. Sadly, we can’t change the seasons to extend daylight hours, but we can adapt our homes to make the most of the light available.

Adding windows and doors is a long-term solution to improve the light level in your home, but before you head down this potentially costly route, try these four simpler ways to maximise the natural light in your home.

1. Position mirrors carefully

Mirrors reflect light, so they can make a huge difference to the overall light level of a room if arranged well. Hallways, in particular, can feel very dark and unwelcoming in the winter, so add a selection of small mirrors to reflect all available light. Think carefully about where you place mirrors; position them directly opposite a source of light to brighten up a space, and check that they’re not reflecting something that you would rather hide. In larger spaces, positioning a large mirror opposite a window helps to maximise the available light and makes a room feel much brighter.

Hanging rope circular mirrors available in-store. 

Rope porthole mirrors available in-store.

Root Mirror (assorted sizes) available online & in-store.

2. Choose light coloured paint and wall finishes

Bold colours and patterned wallpapers absorb light, making a room feel smaller and darker. On the other hand, painting your walls in a lighter colour will help make a space feel brighter. Brilliant white can make a room feel cold, but an off-white shade, or other light colour, will retain a sense of warmth whilst still reflecting the available light. Painting the ceiling in a slightly lighter shade than the rest of the walls will also create an illusion of height and space, contributing to a light, bright feel.

Alternative Flooring - Rugs & Carpets available in our Flooring Department.

3. Aim light upwards

Use of electric lighting is essential in the Winter months, but how you use it can make a huge difference to the overall feel of a room. Lamps which direct light towards the ceiling will help to make a room seem brighter, as the ceiling will reflect the light back into the space. Consider using a few floor or table lamps or installing light fittings on the walls to give a room a bright feel.

Lighting available in-store.

Candle wall decor available in-store.

Lighting available in-store.

4. Avoid thick, dark curtains and blinds

In the Summer months, dark curtains and blinds feel necessary in order block out early morning sunlight. However, in winter, even when these window coverings are open, they will block natural light from entering a room. Lighter shades and secondary sheer fabrics will allow light to flow through the room and make it feel brighter. There are plenty of light-coloured blinds and curtains available which also have blackout properties to maintain a bright feel in winter whilst still blocking early morning light in the summer.

Osbourne & Little Fabrics available from our Montgomery's concession - Curtains & Blinds made to order. 

Osbourne & Little Fabrics available from our Montgomery's concession - Curtains & Blinds made to order.

Osbourne & Little Fabrics available from our Montgomery's concession - Curtains & Blinds made to order.

To find out more about John Niven Interiors visit