Skip to content

Home Boston Real Estate Insights Home Improvement

9 Ways to Give Your Boston Apartment the Illusion of More Light in the Winter

6 minute read
Boston Apartments light in winter

Most Boston apartments tend to be small and with limited natural light sources. This is partly a function of the prevailing architecture of older houses and townhouses. These have been converted into multi-family apartment rentals.  For instance, an apartment in Back Bay, the North End, or Beacon Hill, is going to be centrally located. It is also likely going to be an older home that was divided into several different apartment units. This means that at some point a window needed to be split between two different units, cut in size, or even shuttered entirely. It also means that walls that were not there before needed to be put up to create new separations and living spaces.

These changes over the years have the effect of not only reducing the natural light coming into an apartment but effectively blocking the flow of light from one room to the other. In this post, we will suggest different ways to enhance the lighting in your Boston apartment (without getting in trouble with your landlord). If you want to brighten your space in the upcoming new year, consider these tips!

Light in room

1. Mirrors.

Mirrors are perhaps the most versatile way to enhance the appearance of an apartment. For starters, mirrors create an optical illusion of depth, by reflecting the room they are placed in as if they were a window into another room. And as with any other “window” they also give off light by reflecting it from any other light sources in that space. Oversized mirrors are one of the favorite décor accessories of interior designers. They give an apartment the appearance of being larger and more spacious. You don’t need necessarily need to hang them on the wall, you can lean a large mirror onto the floor. You can also place a smaller one on top of a credenza or dresser. There are many ways to make it a light enhancing accessory for your Boston apartment.

Plants low light

2. Add plants/ greenery.

Plants may not necessarily bring in more light into an apartment, but they do bring a pop of color into it. Particularly in the winter months, where most outside vegetation in Boston is leafless and bare, indoor plants can help bring a livelier atmosphere to an apartment by showcasing color and greenery. If your Boston apartment is small or doesn’t have a lot of natural light, make sure that you use plants that are tolerant of low-light conditions. These include snake plants, ZZ plants, as well as certain ferns and palm trees. If your apartment has few windows or sources of natural light, make sure that you place the plants near the light source but without blocking it so that the light can still illuminate the apartment.

Decluttering your Boston apartment

3. Declutter.

Decluttering serves as a foundational step in transforming your Boston apartment, especially during the darker winter months. By systematically clearing away unnecessary items, you not only create physical room but also allow natural light to effortlessly flow throughout your living space. The act of simplifying and organizing contributes to the illusion of openness, making the most of available light sources.



4. Adopt a minimalist style.

Using a minimalist style with a clean design aesthetic is another way to create the illusion of light and space. It follows the same thought process as decluttering. The less pieces taking up space in a room, the more light that can permeate and bounce around the space. Using apartment-sized furniture pieces is a key part of this recommendation. Particularly in Boston, where apartments tend to be small, and the elevators and staircases are even smaller, it is of key importance to choose pieces that will fit the space. Consider buying minimalist pieces that can also double as storage, to hide smaller items you may wish to keep handy, like extra blankets or pillows.

5. Use light fabrics.

Lighter colored fabrics and materials tend to reflect more light, making a room fill more spacious. You don’t necessarily need to use all white or beige. Although that is perfectly ok, you can use lighter shades of other colors as well. You can also use fabrics that give the impression of being lighter such as linen, silk, or jute. Feel free to use “heavier” fabrics and materials such as velvet or leather, but if you do, choose a light color palette for them. If your Boston apartment doesn’t have a lot of light sources, try using sheer curtains instead of the blackout type. Lighter tones in fabrics and materials have the added benefit of generally being more washable than darker tones. This is particularly useful if you have pets or children. If that’s the case, also consider a stain-resistant “performance” fabric in a light tone.

Glass coffee table

6. Add a little shine.

Glossy and shiny elements act as miniature mirrors in a room, allowing for light to reflect and bounce back around the space. Consider using furniture with a glossy finish such as lacquer, acrylic, or a shiny varnish. Transparent acrylic elements such as coffee tables, side tables and even chairs and accessories can also help create the sense of a larger space visually. Metallic elements and accessories can help bring a little “bling” and sophistication into a space while being highly reflective of the light around them. Glass tops on dinner and coffee tables are also a stylish choice that can help bounce the light and illuminate the space in your Boston apartment.

Open shelving

7. Choose open shelving.

Open shelving is a savvy design choice for those aiming to infuse their Boston apartment with the illusion of more light during the winter months. By opting for open shelves instead of closed cabinets, you not only enhance the sense of visual openness but also allow natural light to dance freely throughout the room. The absence of solid cabinet doors eliminates potential shadows and creates a feeling of expansiveness, making your space appear brighter and more inviting. Moreover, open shelving provides an opportunity for curated displays of light-colored or reflective objects, adding to the overall luminosity of the room.

Sheer curtains in boston apartment

8. Maximize window exposure.

To amplify the natural light in your Boston apartment during the winter, maximizing window exposure is fundamental. Clear any obstacles, such as furniture or large plants, that may obstruct natural light from entering through windows. Once the windows are free, complement this openness by opting for sheer curtains. The combination of maximizing window exposure and opting for sheer curtains not only accentuates the architectural elements of your windows but also ensures that your Boston apartment remains bathed in a warm, diffused glow, even on the shortest and darkest days of winter.

cleaning windows boston apartment

9. Keep your windows clean!

Maintaining crystal-clear windows is a simple yet impactful strategy in the pursuit of a brighter and more inviting Boston apartment, especially during the winter. Regularly cleaning windows ensures that natural light can freely penetrate the glass, unobstructed by dust, grime, or streaks.

Looking for a light- filled Boston Apartment?

If natural light is important for you to have in your Boston apartment, we suggest you look as soon as possible. Apartments are already available and renting for September 2024! If you find the right apartment for you, but not all the rooms get as much natural light, these tips will be helpful. For all your real estate needs, from home improvement to our latest data- driven rental market reports, check out the Boston Pads real estate portal.

Thomas Macdonald

Thomas Macdonald

Published December 27, 2023

Thomas MacDonald is a dedicated real estate professional with a focus on the Greater Boston area. Raised in a family deeply rooted in the construction industry, he gained hands-on experience from a young age. Specializing in locating off-market properties for investors and developers, he possesses a unique ability to uncover hidden gems in the market, complemented by his in-depth knowledge of construction, making him a sought-after consultant in the industry.