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Sunny inspirations for your inner city space

By Niketa Loftus

There’s nothing worse than spending a beautiful summer’s day staring at four grey walls, instead of enjoying the revitalising rays of sunshine beaming down from overhead. Unfortunately when work or other commitments keep us indoors when we’d rather be outside, this can be unavoidable.

So to truly make the most of the Aussie summer, it’s essential to style your apartment or terraced home in such a way that it introduces sunshine to your everyday indoor life.

Shades of green

If you’re fortunate enough to own a terraced unit, or even a detached home, in the inner suburbs of Sydney or Melbourne, you will likely have a garden or lawn which gives you the green space you need to make the most of summer days.

For those living in apartments, gardening is less of a concern, but greenery is also distinctly lacking. To draw eyes away from the harsh urban outdoors, soft touches are a must. Consider introducing a vertical garden or herbarium to your balcony or kitchen. The sight and smell of fresh greenery will instantly bring life-giving colour to your apartment.

Terrariums are a good idea for those with less than green thumbs who want a modern and miniature take on indoor gardening.

Glass and mirrors

While re-purposed warehouse lofts and modern high-rise apartments may have a large amount of windows with which to let the light in, for older buildings with smaller windows or units close to the ground, you could find yourself in a less than well-lit indoor environment.

Optimising the natural light for your inner-city real estate is essential to feeling like you’ve soaked up vitamin D all summer. If you are unable to complete exterior renovations like replacing old doors and windows with bigger panes of glass, then there could be some minor adjustments you could make that would effect a huge difference.

Large mirrors are an excellent way to make a small, dark space seem larger and brighter. They also reflect natural light further into the dwelling. If you have a bedroom without windows that is permanently in darkness unless lit by artificial light, there’s a fix for that too.

Installing a glass wall on the side of the bedroom facing the windows in the rest of the apartment will make this space so much more enjoyable during the day. Drawing a curtain across this wall will add instant privacy and darkness for sleeping, while giving the option for letting the sun into the room in the morning.

If a whole glass wall is a bit much, a row of rectangular windows above head height is good for introducing sunlight during the day. Indoor windows can also be a great move for those in older houses with dark areas in them. Bringing the light into a study might make it much easier to get around to that bit of writing you were planning on doing.

Remove dark furniture

Heavy Victorian furniture in dark ebony shades can be a beautiful addition to your living room, but can also create a dark and foreboding interior, similar to an old library. Try and use these types of furniture sparingly as feature pieces, and rather decorate your apartment or terraced home with light furniture and fabrics with clean modern lines that will accentuate light, rather than absorb it.

Big floor rugs can be another light killer. Although adding interesting texture and colour to your luxurious lounge, they can also absorb a lot of light, reducing your efforts to enjoy the summer sun. If you have polished concrete or wooden floors, or even tiles, these surfaces will reflect a light more light throughout the rest of your home, as well as keeping the house a bit cooler during the warmer months.

Don’t throw out that beautiful rug though – bring it back out in winter, when you want to increase the warmth of your home and create a cosy environment in which to enjoy a glass of wine and a good book.

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