In small homes or terrace properties, often the centre of the plan can be a dark area and feel slightly claustrophobic without natural light. One interiors trick we love to use to counteract a ‘landlocked’ interior is to introduce a small central courtyard in the middle of the house.
Internal courtyards have actually been used in interiors across the world and for many years, from traditional Mediterranean homes to densely populated cities in China and South America. A light-filled courtyard in the centre of your home introduces fresh air and energy and links the other rooms in the house. We recommend installing doors or windows to each side of the courtyard so natural light and ventilation can get through, and brighten the traditionally dark areas of the building.
Treat your central courtyard as another outside space and plant a tree - it can provide a surprising, refreshing pop of green in a small space. If you add pretty lighting to the tree it can give it a chandelier effect at night, softly illuminating the adjacent rooms.
Hanging mirrors on the courtyard walls is another design trick – it bounces extra light into the adjacent internal spaces and makes the centre of the plan surprisingly bright and generous. Avoid dramatic level changes in your courtyard if possible; keeping the space at the same level as the other rooms on your ground floor will make the most of the natural light and create a seamless flow from inside to outside. And finally, make sure your courtyard is overlooked by the living or dining spaces in your home, for maximum visual effect.