Most people would love for their houses to look like the gorgeous rooms in magazines and on TV, but they probably don’t have a house purpose-built to make the most of the sunlight in the area or the time and money to get an expensive interior designer to help them make the most of what they have. Luckily, there’s more than enough things one can do to brighten up any dark room.
Where the Sun Rises and Sets
This is a pretty important first step, as it can determine a lot of things. If the most light comes out of one window in particular, you can make it a feature by doing several things.
1. Put mirrors across the room from those windows that get the most light. This will effectively double the amount of light in the room, and it makes the room feel bigger, which is crucial when a room is dark.
2. Get curtains that are made of light, sheer material. This will allow plenty of light into the room. Keep the curtains open during the day to make the most of the natural light. If you do need heavier shades on the window (in a bedroom, for example), try layering a heavier Venetian or roller blinds with sheer curtains. You can then pull up the heavier blinds during the day to bring in the sunshine, then bring them back down at night to keep the street lights – or early sunrises – from waking you up.
3. Rearrange your furniture to make sure nothing is blocking the windows. It might sound a bit melodramatic, but if a bookcase or chair blocks even an inch of the window, it can noticeably cut down on the amount of light streaming in. Give it a go, and see if you can’t get more light in just by shifting some things around.
Add Some Light
1. Literally brighten a room up with more lamps. Lighting is incredibly important in dark rooms. Overhead lighting can often be harsh, but floor and table lamps can give a soft light that makes everything feel warm and cosy, rather than claustrophobic and dark. If you have low ceilings, try lighting that points diffused light towards the ceiling: it makes a room feel taller.
2. Perk the walls up with bright, light colours. If the room is very small, you should stick to white, cream or very, very pale colours. Too bold a colour, even a beautiful robin’s egg blue, can feel overwhelming when there’s not a lot of space. Pale colours also reflect some of the light that you’ve brought in, and it’s also one of the cheapest ways to completely change a room. You might even consider painting the ceiling white to make the room seem taller and more open.
3. Reupholster furniture with fabrics in light colours. This can be a bit more expensive, but it’s not as expensive as buying new furniture. If you are worried about costs, you should spend more money on the workmanship and less on the fabric. Basically, a skilled upholsterer will know how to make cheap fabric look gorgeous, but even the plushest velvet looks rubbish if it is ill-fitting.
1. Add some decorative plants. There is something about having plants indoors that can make a dark room feel brighter.
Taking care of plants needs some consideration, however. You need to consider how much you can afford to spend on the plant, and not just in monetary terms. Some plants can be very demanding, so think about how much time you want to invest in your plant. If you don’t have time to water it often, get a succulent or a cactus. Those kinds of plants have evolved to withstand a hostile environment, so they don’t need as much care as an orchid, which is from tropical locales.
You also need to think about how much sunlight it can get, whether or not it can survive on your windowsill during winter, and other things which are a bit out of your control. Talk to someone at a reputable garden centre, and they should be able to help you find the perfect plant for your room.
2. Reduce large elements in the room. These can swamp a smaller room, and they often block light. For example, you can remove a large fireplace and replace it with a sleek mantle. Or you can replace your large, overstuffed furniture with something more streamlined, but just as comfy. These sorts of things can really open up a space and make the whole room feel more airy.
3. Declutter – full stop. This is one thing most people need to do anyway, but decluttering is crucial. It not only makes your life simpler, since you don’t have to worry about putting so much crap somewhere, but it also makes a room feel bigger. Lots of little things piled around give a room the cramped feeling of a storage garage, which is pretty much the opposite of a bright, relaxing room. And there are a lot of creative ways to declutter, so even if you’ve had a clear out, there’s probably more you can do.
There are many more tips on brightening up a room online, but these should get you started without requiring a huge time or monetary investment. Good luck!
This post was written by Julie who writes on behalf of Print Express UK . She specialises in product development and design.