The Cottage Smallholder


stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

How to increase the light in your home with a paint that reflects up to twice the light

Photo: Dulux Light and Space matt paint

One of the depressing things about being a decorator is making other peoples’ houses look beautiful and not having time to decorate our cottage.

As a decorator, my eye is instinctively drawn to the necessary repairs and the state of the paintwork as this can contribute significantly to the labour costs and could spell disaster if I don’t spot them on the assessment visit.

I can’t switch this off when I walk through the cottage door and have been longing to decorate our kitchen for over a year. It’s quite a big job because we have painted kitchen cupboards (as opposed to wood effect) and I also want to change the wall tiles over the cooker. I wouldn’t dream of using another decorator as I know exactly the quality of work and attention to detail that would make me happy.

So a couple of weeks ago we decided that I would take a week off and decorate the kitchen and bathroom. I was so excited this morning that I sprang out of bed early and started work well before breakfast.

Our seventeenth century cottage is one room deep and has windows at the front and back of each room, facing south west in the front (afternoon sun) and north east at the back (morning sun). But the windows are very small and the ceilings are low so the cottage is fairly dark even on the brightest day. As yet we have not resorted to miners’ lamps to relieve the gloom in the winter.
 
Years ago people used to use glossy paint to reflect more light in dark rooms. I hate this as every bump and bobble on the surface of the walls and ceilings are highlighted. On the uneven walls of a very old house it looks even worse, it’s like looking at a choppy sea.

In the past we have just resorted to pale colours but this time I decided to use a new paint that has been developed by Dulux. It’s called Light and Space and reflects up to twice as much light as normal paint. It also has a flat matt finish. This is not glow in the dark florescent paint. It just reflects more light – daylight or artificial light. Initially I was a bit dubious about it.

But then I heard about the progress of paint development on the radio a few months ago and immediately ordered 5 litres of white for our downstairs ceilings back in the autumn. The substantial pot has sat patiently on the floor for a good four months.

With just one coat on the ceiling I could see how effective it was. So I rushed down to Homebase to have the paint mixed for the walls (Ridgeons, my trade paint supplier don’t stock it yet). The range of colours is small and all are light shades but the choice is a bit bigger if you have the paint mixed for you. This paint is a great investment if you live in a dark place. It’s about 30% more expensive that ordinary Dulux matt but the saving on electric light will be significant for us and we will soon be recouping the difference and feeling the benefit.

I’m not sponsored or working for Dulux. I have just discovered that their range of paint is really good and better than everything else that clients might ask me to use. I do use a whole range of expensive ‘boutique’ brands in other people’s houses but would always use Dulux at home.

It’s so good to be working at home for a change although the Min Pins are up in arms and hating the disturbance to their well ordered daily routine. And there isn’t much time for games. It’s the same when major cottage spring cleaning is taking place. They would prefer everything to have been done before they come down for breakfast in the morning. And I can see their point on the cleaning front.


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20 Comments

  1. Bother!!! Have already bought paint for our gloomy kitchen but will remember this for later as the living room could do with a bit of a spruce up too. Older houses are notorious for dark rooms but I have noticed that new builds often have very small windows too.

  2. kate (uk)

    I used this paint on the ceiling ( white) and walls (the lightest blue/green)in my new North-facing studio and it is fabulous, really does reflect more light and has a lovely chalky surface finish, especially when rollered. Several thin rollered coats build up to a very subtle soft surface that has real depth.I only need the anglepoise on my desk alight in the evenings for the whole room to feel cosy and bright- and for me to see what I’m doing…when I re-do my other ceilings I shall use it again.

  3. So exciting. Looking forward to the photographs … and to hearing whether you think it really does make such a difference. If so, I might finally get round to painting our kitchen ceiling

    Best wishes,
    Joanna

  4. This sounds like a good paint for my brother’s house. He, too, lives in a little cottage which is very dark on the North side (which also faces into the yard and the tall trees)but very bright and sunny on the south side. Fortunately the south facing rooms are the ones he uses as offices during the day but it does mean that the lights are on all day in the kitchen and north facing room as everything is interlinked. He is looking to get some decorating done so I will mention this paint to him.

  5. Too late! We have just painted 500 square metres of wall in a rather dark house brilliant white. This has certainly brightened it up! The paint we used wasn’t Dulux, but it was excellent (professional) quality, and thanks to contacts we managed to get trade prices for it. Paint is extortionately expensive in France — I don’t know why 🙁

  6. 2.5 years ago we moved into a new build house and it was painted out in Dulux “Natural Light” flat matt and we love it. I don’t think it is quite the same as the paint you are describing. Natural Light has a faintest faintest pink tinge but unless you were informed of this you would never know. We love it. The paint has a very clean light look.

  7. Sorry huge comment there. So the reason for the post is I would love to see the results of a before and after. As it would make a massive difference to our hall and lounge if we had light reflective paint. Great. Lovely, thanks

  8. ohhh could you do before and after pictures? After the bathroom was done, we had new doors put down stairs and reversed the one into the kitchen, so we can actually move in the hall and open the understairs cupboard. Numptys lived in my house before. everything is backwards. You have to go into the room shut the door in the dark and then thumble for the light switch.

    Anyways I am waffling.

    Getting to the point. The hall wall, now we can look at it, has the plaster falling away from the wall. So seeing as business is HUGELY slow in the new build house front around here. We have managed to find and secure a good plasterer. You wouldnt believe the hassle we have had trying to find one. Why arent I using the one who did the bathroom? Put it this way, we shouldnt of paid him till we saw the walls in the day light. a cautionery tale for all there. And we were ripped off. never mind…

    So we are having everywhere replastered, except the bathroom. Walls and ceilings. Then the lovely new floor can go down in the hall and kitchen and I am done. ahhhh the light is at the end of the tunnel

  9. Hi again, sorry about the double posting but I just received an email with your reply from the Golden Sun post the other day & wanted to say Im not anywhere near those fires, nor is any of my family but it is still so heartbreaking to watch the news updates right now. Thanks for wishing us a lucky windfall too.

  10. How exciting for you… when you are done do you to come to Oz & do mine? Kidding… (sort of)

    You didnt give us a hint of what colour you ordered for your walls?

    Im umming & arring on wall colours as we painted right through with Wattyl ID “Orchid” (white) just 2.5 years back when we first moved here, but Im just about over it. Especially in the kitchen & dining rooms.
    The house hasnt beebn completely finished ( I want to paint the trims as they are timber but havent been loved)maybe I will love the white again once the trims are done?

    You can see Im a very decisive person!

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