Sometimes, windows just don’t cut it—but this straightforward trick might.

By Real Simple Editors
Updated June 01, 2019
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Courtesy of Marvin

In many cases, the difference between a standard-looking house and a great-looking one is how much light it gets. Dark houses tend to feel gloomy and cramped; brighter ones feel more positive, soothing, and airy. Unfortunately, natural light isn’t something homeowners can order on-demand—if a home is shadowed by surrounding buildings, trees, or other light-blocking obstacles or if it lies in a low-light region, there’s little to be done to change that. What homeowners can do, though, is take steps to maximize how much of that available light is able to enter the home.

All the different types of windows out there are the go-to tools of the trade for ushering more natural light in. Sometimes, though, windows can’t do it all on their own. That’s where knowing this little secret comes in handy: With the right selections, exterior doors can do just as much as—if not more than—windows to help a space feel brighter. They can even open a space up to its surroundings, so even if it doesn’t get a ton of light, it does get plenty of fresh air drifting in.

Putting this trick to work is all about picking the right doors: glass ones that open easily and feel seamlessly integrated when closed, such as those from Marvin, a company that takes a lifestyle-centered and design-first approach to producing top-notch windows and doors. These purposeful glass doors can serve as a statement piece to the home, offering fresh air, light, and openness to any space.

Courtesy of Marvin

Courtesy of Marvin

When picking these multi-tasking design elements, think about how they’ll be most enjoyed. Large panes of glass in scenic glass doors (pictured above, center) are key for uninterrupted views and a cohesive indoor-outdoor lifestyle, but adding grilles (one of those parts of a window you’ll want to know) can help personalize the look. For spaces where a whole wall of glass isn’t an option, sliding doors (pictured above, right) can maximize space, while swinging ones (pictured above, left) feel expansive and welcoming—and both can usher in more natural light and fresh air where windows can’t. (You still want some sort of door to the outside, after all.)

Whatever glass door homeowners choose, they can be sure that they’re ushering light into their homes while giving a necessary part of their home—the door—extra purpose. A curated window selection is great, but pairing it with a door that does double-duty can do even more to help a home feel open and bright.