There are a lot of advantages to letting natural light into your home. For one thing, you’ll save a ton on your electricity bill, especially during summers when the days are longer. In fact, the US Green Building Council says a “green home” that maximizes the use of natural light can reduce its lighting energy  consumption by 50 to 80 percent. The soft glow of the sun is also more aesthetically pleasing than the harsh glare of artificial lights, allowing you to better showcase the beauty of your home.

The generous use of glass is obviously the easiest way to let light pour into your space. But for those who don’t have the time, space, or money to do major renovations, there are actually few simple steps that they can take in order to maximize their use of natural light in their homes.

Strategic Window Trimmings

It may seem counter-intuitive to cover your windows when you’re trying to let some light in, but there are ways to install drapes and curtains without blocking natural light. One is to use lightweight, translucent curtains made from fabrics like linen or cotton to allow more sunlight in while still providing some privacy. Those who love the dramatic effect of heavy fabrics like velvet or brocade may simply add a second layer of sheer curtains. The drapes can then be hung using rings or hoops so that they are easier to open fully.

Cafe curtains, valances, pleated blinds, and honeycomb blinds are also good choices for dressing up your windows without blocking too much light. If you have a preferred style of window treatments that do block out light, such as Roman shades, ask your supplier if you can customize them with lighter fabrics.

Use Lighter Colors

If you want a room to look brighter, you’ll want to use colors that reflect light, not absorb it. Light, cool hues like light blue and yellow, as well as variants of white work best for this purpose. You can incorporate these colors on your walls and ceilings, and large pieces of furniture like sofas. Darker, deeper shades can come in as accents to prevent “washing out” the room.

Colors like muted reds and oranges can also work, however, in that they can make the light look softer and warmer. Choose one or two accent walls to host the darker paint, and keep the decor in this area on the lighter side of the spectrum. And if you choose to have dark walls, make sure to offset it with lighter colors on your ceiling.

Reflect Light with Mirrors

Not only can mirrors make small spaces look bigger, they can also help illuminate a room. Place a mirror across from a window to reflect all that sunshine. You can even skip the expensive artwork and instead pick a large, decorative frame and install a mirror.

Other alternatives include tiling a wall with mirrored tiles, or getting furniture with glass, mirror, and chrome accents. You can even replace the backing of your shelves with mirrors for more reflective surfaces.

Windowed Doors

If your home has a shortage of windows or if the front of your home faces the sunrise, you can opt for doors with large glass panels to let in more light. If you’re worried about privacy, you can choose frosted, leaded, or stained glass instead of clear ones.

Install a Skylight

This may be a bigger, more expensive project compared to the others on this list, but a skylight can drastically increase the light pouring into your home. It can also dramatically reduce your electricity bill in the long run. Skylights are ideal in rooms that are used the most often, such as living rooms and bathrooms, as well as locations that receive the most sunlight.

If you are looking for more affordable options, you can opt for tubular skylights or sun tunnels. These fixtures are installed from the roof and extends down to the room where you want the light to come in. The inside of the tube is mirror-like, so that it redirects and reflects the sunlight that it captures from the rooftop to a larger area. Tubular skylights are ideal for small spaces and homes that have ceiling obstructions that may prevent the installation of regular skylights.

Apart from its aesthetic and economic benefits, natural light is also better for your health. In fact, it has been scientifically proven that regular exposure to sunlight gives a boost to a person’s mood and immune system. It’s also great for the body’s circadian rhythm, helping you wake up faster in the morning.

Are you convinced yet? Start opening up your home and let the sunshine in!