October 26th, 2015 at 10:00 am

lighten up a dark room

It seems like just yesterday that we were celebrating the long days of summer. But as daylight saving time approaches (Nov. 1) and daytime hours begin to shorten for the fall and winter seasons, you might be missing that summertime sunshine. Although you can’t stop the sun from setting earlier, you can make each room in your home feel a bit brighter. After all, not every room is flooded with natural light. Bringing warmth and brightness doesn’t have to be as expensive as creating a new new space for a window. Instead, use optical illusions to create instant brightness in your home. The following tips can be done on almost any budget in a short amount of time.

Create warmth with art

The art you choose for each room  impacts how that room is perceived. For example, if you have a room filled with pictures of snowfalls, the room will feel colder. Create a lighter room by incorporating warm artwork filled with bright colors. Frame photos from a day at the beach, or purchase and paint artwork that reminds you of spring and summer. Avoid black-and-white artwork as creates a cooler, darker setting.

brighten up a roomWhile you’re at it, hang mirrors

You can also go beyond artwork and hang glass and mirrors throughout the room. Both of these techniques can be used to reflect light and brighten up dark corners. Amplify your window by placing a large mirror opposite it to reflect the light. If you can’t hang a mirror, you can always place a mirror on an accent table to create the same effect.

Decorate with the right accents

Use metallic knickknacks and frames for your artwork to bring light to a room. Choose pieces that have a high-gloss finish, and use bright area rugs and throw pillows to incorporate pops of color throughout your space.

Use paint

White is the obvious choice when it comes to lightening a room with paint, but other warm neutral colors can also be used. Paint the whole room and even some of your furniture to create a warmer effect.

Open up your spaces

Clunky, bulky furniture often has an overwhelming presence in a room. Instead of enclosed furniture, why not try open shelving? You can remove the doors from cabinets or hang shelving right on your walls. Using functional open storage can help you to make the room feel larger and more inviting.

Clean up clutter

A word of caution to anyone looking to open up their space. Although open shelving is a great option, beware of clutter. Clutter has the opposite effect and can make your room feel small, crowded, and dark. Go minimalist and get rid of anything you don’t need. Find creative ways to hide unsightly necessities, like a home computer router. The less clutter, the more open your room will feel.

Hang the right window treatments

Window treatments are a wonderful way to accent furniture and decor in any room, but heavy drapes and curtains block out light and can shrink the appearance of a room. To increase light in your room, choose minimal window treatments. Also, pay attention to color and fabric. Choosing a lightweight fabric that allows some light to seep through will help you brighten any room.

Light up the room

This might seem like an obvious point, but the light you choose for your room can make a big difference. If an overhead light isn’t doing the trick, or you have a room without an overhead light, fill the room with lamps. You can use a combination of floor lamps, table lamps, hanging lights, and even sconces. Use lighter or clear shades and covers, as darker varieties can dampen the light. Buy fluorescent energy-efficient bulbs, which give off a bright light.

Choose the right furniture

Believe it or not, the furniture you place in your room can affect how bright your room appears. For example big, dark pieces of furniture can make your room appear darker. Simplify your furniture and choose neutral shades. Purchase furniture with built-in storage to eliminate the need for extra storage pieces, and as a way to hide belongings not used daily.

Incorporate houseplants

Although this may seem counterintuitive to the clearing clutter point above, plants bring nature indoors. Adding a plant or two to a room can add colors and textures. Not all plants are difficult to maintain, require lots of work, or need tons of sun. Snake plants and pothos are extremely low-maintenance, shade-loving plants. Find one that fits in with your setup and lifestyle.

Have more tips for lightening up a room? Let us know in the comments.


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