Prod­uct of the week

Homes & Liv­ing some fixes for those dark rooms

Kentish Gazette Canterbury & District - East Kent Property - - DIYLIVING -

A good tape mea­sure is es­sen­tial for DIYing, and the 5m Stan­ley FatMax Pro Tape Mea­sure is as good as they get. A 10m ver­sion is also avail­able, but the 5m is long enough for many mea­sur­ing tasks and small enough to fit easily in your pocket or clip on your belt. It has a wide, 32mm blade with big, easy-to-read num­bers in both met­ric and im­pe­rial. The blade stays rigid when ex­tended, un­like many tape mea­sures, and has spe­cial coat­ings to pro­long its life. The rub­berised cas­ing is comfy to hold and stands up well to wear and tear, while the cor­ro­sion-re­sis­tant Tru-Zero end hook en­ables you to mea­sure ac­cu­rately from the end of the blade. This isn’t the cheap­est tape mea­sure, but it’s worth pay­ing a bit more for a great prod­uct that’s de­signed to last – cheap ver­sions are of­ten a false econ­omy. Any room can be made to feel lighter sim­ply by paint­ing the ceil­ing white, so it re­flects light in­stead of ab­sorb­ing it, and, of course, the walls too.

Spe­cial­ist emul­sions can help even more. Du­lux Ul­tra White Matt emul­sion is not only a re­ally white white (un­like most pure bril­liant white emul­sions, which are of­fwhite), it’s also 20 times tougher than stan­dard Du­lux emul­sion. Most im­por­tantly, Ul­tra White con­tains spe­cial light-re­flec­tive par­ti­cles that re­flect up to twice as much light back into the room as stan­dard Du­lux emul­sion.

For soft, sub­tle colours, try Du­lux Light + Space Matt emul­sions, which con­tain the same light-re­flec­tive par­ti­cles. North-fac­ing rooms are most chal­leng­ing to dec­o­rate be­cause the nat­u­ral light is cold. For this rea­son, avoid cold colours and stick to warm ones, such as yel­lows and creamy neu­trals.

One of the best ways to brighten up a kitchen is with pale – prefer­ably white – high-gloss unit doors, as these bounce light around the room.

High-gloss kitchens never seem to go out of fash­ion, so glossy doors are a great way to up­date the room and needn’t be ex­pen­sive. In any dark room, but es­pe­cially kitchens and bath­rooms, it’s im­por­tant to have good ar­ti­fi­cial light­ing be­cause you may need it on when it’s light out­side.

In other rooms, con­sider go­ing for glossy or mir­rored fur­ni­ture, and hang­ing mir­rors on the walls – op­po­site a win­dow will max­imise the light com­ing in and make the room feel big­ger. And don’t for­get the floor – white-painted floor­boards, or shiny white floor tiles in kitchens and bath­rooms, will help to bounce light around.

Re­plac­ing, en­larg­ing or adding win­dows can make a big dif­fer­ence to how light a room is, but it’s an ex­pen­sive and dis­rup­tive so­lu­tion to the prob­lem, and plan­ning rules can re­strict what you do.

Chang­ing the win­dow treat­ment is usu­ally much cheaper – swap fussy cur­tains for sleek roller blinds, for ex­am­ple, and you’ll let in more light.

An­other rad­i­cal so­lu­tion is to re­move a wall.

Knock­ing two rooms into one usu­ally gives the new room more win­dows and it may get sun­light for most of the day if, say, it’s now both east fac­ing for morn­ing sun and west fac­ing for evening sun.

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