Giving a room with no windows "natural" light


Old 07-31-01, 03:49 AM
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We want to build a mudroom out of part of our garage. We want it to be about 8x12 so we can put some cupboards in it for storage space. My question is how can we make it appear to be light and airy when there will be no natural light, no windows or skylights. How should we paint it, what kind of lighting should we use so that when the lights are turned on it feels like it is lit with daylight?

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Old 08-01-01, 10:16 AM
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I have an almost identical room that I am working on now and will be using as a study. Here's what I'd consider.

1. Maybe a fairly high gloss white ceramic tile floor with some kind of texture, ultra-white walls, ultra-white ceiling, white cabinets and shelves. But a mud room is prone to ... mud, so the all white approach may be a problem unless you make it real easy to wipe clean and have plenty of time and patience.

2. Plenty of artificial light is going to be key, no matter what. Flourescent might do great things for a mud room and be inexpensive.

3. A back-lit false window can be a nice idea covered with translucent but not sheer curtains to preserve the illusion.

4. You don't say how high your ceiling is. What about a false skylight? You build the well as you would for a real skylight but at the top are electrical lights instead of a window. I really wanted to do this (saw it in an interior design book somewhere), but didn't have enough vertical space.

It will really depend on your tastes and the rest of your home. Do you care if it blends with the rest of your house? Is the garage even attached to the house? Will it be used often? by guests?

I would challenge the question a little and suggest you consider a mud room that is *not* light and airy. Go with the "mud flow". Don't try to fool people into thinking your small room is not small. Go with warm and cozy instead of light and airy. Go with cabin in the woods instead of whatever. I did this with great success with a very small windowless guest bath. Lots of compliments because all 60 sq ft of it looks really nice, not because it looks big and airy.

Assuming the room would need frequent demudding, that I couldn't put a drain in the center to permit hosing it down, that I didn't want to spend lots of time cleaning:
- Sandstone-look ceramic tile floor
- Wainscoat paneling along the bottom 40% or so of the walls in a warm natural wood color, maybe even darker depending on the color of your mud
- Same look for the cabinet doors, inside of cabinets is white to enhance visibility
- Lots of hooks around the room to hang clothes and shelves for shoes and boots
- A decent looking but fairly inexpensive flourescent light fixture on the ceiling with 2 to 4 tubes
- Tan wall above the wainscoat paneling
- Fun decorations on the walls to create a motif - family photos, hunting/fishing-type stuff, children's artwork

Old 08-02-01, 03:38 AM
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Thanks for the suggestions. I really like the idea of the "windows". I don't have enough ceiling height to do the skylight but will have wall space to add at least one window. I think ceramic tile on the floor is the most practical as long as it has a darker grout.
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