A dark home or room—no matter how tastefully furnished—can feel a little constricting and rather uninviting. If your living space doesn’t have too much in the way of natural light, here are six tips to make it look brighter without the need to demolish your walls to install more windows.
1. Use Light Paint
A fresh coat of paint on your walls can work wonders in lightening up a room. Steer clear of dark shades like red or deep orange. Instead, choose colors from the white family like cream, pearl, and ivory, which work best in reflecting light. If you insist on using color, choose yellow or muted greens and blues. Painting your ceilings white can also lighten up a room and add the illusion of height.
Another tip: choose a matte over a glossy finish. Glossy paint creates glare which makes the walls look like they’re absorbing light. On the other hand, a matte finish reflects light equally in every direction.
2. Avoid Dark Floors
Just like your walls, it’s more advisable to have lighter-colored floorings. Make use of a light-colored area rug to add some instant brightness if you have dark hardwood, tile, or stone floors that you can’t easily replace or refinish. Hardwood floors, in particular, take time to refinish, and you might want to keep them after all since they make your home more valuable. If you prefer to have a patterned over a plain-colored rug, make sure that there are more light than dark colors in the design.
3. Shades or Sheers Instead of Heavy Drapes
The right curtains and drapes can certainly add color and personality to a room. The wrong choice, however, can make even a big room feel closed off. Avoid heavy draperies and instead opt for lightweight, light-colored curtains that let in as much light as possible. Linen and lace are good choices, although there are also cotton curtains that are thin enough to let in more light. You should also avoid curtains with busy patterns and designs; stick to stripes, polka dots, and other simple motifs.
If you’re concerned about privacy, choose solar or sheer shades that are translucent enough to allow light to pass through but have enough opacity to block or distort the view from the outside.
4. Use Mirrors, Not Art
Having too many paintings or posters displayed on your walls will mute the already limited illumination. Instead, hang mirrors on your walls to not only make your space brighter but also appear bigger. If you can’t let go of your art, opt for those with lighter colors or themes. You can also choose to mount your mirrors on decorative frames, and let them serve as your wall art. To maximize the reflective effect, you can also point a light source, say a soft spotlight, toward the mirror.
5. Add More Reflective Accessories
Speaking of mirrors, you should also make use of reflective accessories to bounce even more light across the room. Glass tabletops and display cabinets, metal or chrome-plated accessories, and crystal figurines are just a few of your options. If you can, install mirrored backings to your shelves or opt for open shelving units made of metal.
6. Clean Your Windows
This is a no-brainer, especially if you already have a shortage of windows. Clean your windows to allow the most amount of light to stream in. If there are trees outside your windows, trim wayward branches that may block the flow of light into the room.
You might not realize it, but a light, airy room makes everyone feel more relaxed and at ease. With these simple steps, you can brighten any room in your home and make it a more welcoming haven.