Australians may be blessed with a great deal of sunshine, but some older buildings, in particular, are not well-designed for allowing it in. True, modern homes tend to have skylights, wide picture windows and even French doors these days, but many city dwellings, especially apartments, suffer from a dearth of natural light. If you find yourself needing to shut the curtains in order to maintain privacy, then the problem can be even worse. What do you do if your windows are overlooked or you face on to a busy street? Fear not, because there are plenty of ways you can improve the amount of light your home receives without having to compromise on privacy.

Smart Tinting. A new technology, smart window tinting means that you can control your windows at will. Much used in offices where glazed conference rooms sometimes need to be sealed off for a private meeting, home window tinting operates in much the same way. Essentially, the glazing can be tinted at the flick of a switch from its control system and will turn opaque instantly. When you want to allow more light in, all you need to do is turn the system off and the glazing is transparent once more. With smart tinted windows, you maintain privacy but light can still penetrate the window making it much more practical than cutting off all of the available sunlight when pulling a blind or a pair of curtains over.

Retro-Fitting Film. Ideal for homes which already have windows fitted, but where more privacy is desirable, a retro-fitting film is the perfect solution. Offering a translucent appearance when stuck onto glazing, privacy film creates a frosted or obscured look which prevents people from being able to gaze into your home. However, privacy window film still allows plenty of light into the parts of your home where you want it. Retro-fitting privacy film can be installed so that only the lower half of the window is covered, meaning that it is ideal for street-level windows. Anyone passing cannot see in, but the view out from the upper part of the glazing is completely uninterrupted.

Light Tubes. In situations where no window can be installed, perhaps for structural reasons or because it would overlook a neighbouring property, a light tube is a great idea. These devices collect light from a mushroom-shaped protuberance on the side of the roof of your home and transfer the sun's rays to your home via a highly-polished mirrored tube. These products are highly effective at bringing natural light to parts of your home where it is most needed.