Does your energy level take a nose dive when you walk through your front door? Are you finding it hard to get motivated and stay productive when you are at home? The solution may be as simple as lightening and brightening your environment to lift your spirits and put spring in your step. For many people, simply adjusting the amount and type of light in a room can have a huge impact on their mood and well-being. There are countless ways you can brighten up your home. Here are 9 simple and affordable tricks (and a few more involved ideas) to help lighten and brighten your living spaces.
Repaint with Light Colors — It maybe an obvious suggestion, but if your home is painted with dark colors, that may be the number one reason why it feels so gloomy. A fresh paint job really can transform a room. Repaint, refinish or replace dark surfaces such as walls, ceilings, built-ins, floors and window trim with lighter color or finish. Light, neutral colors – such as white or light grey – will brighten up your space and create an open and airy feeling. Lighter hues reflect light and make colorful accessories in the room really pop.
Go for White or Light-Colored Furniture — When it’s time to buy new furniture – couches, tables, bookcases, credenzas, etc. – opt for white, neutrals or light colors. Worried white furniture will show every stain? Fear not – many newer upholstery fabrics are stain resistant and easy to clean. If it’s not in the budget to replace your living room furniture, give it new life with a neutral-colored slipcover. Oatmeal, tan or white are the best colors to help brighten the room. If you have dark-colored floors, a white, off-white or light grey rug can make a world of difference.
Use Mirrors to Reflect the Light — Mirrors are a handy tool in home décor for a few reasons. First, they give the feeling of a larger, more open space. They also reflect any natural light coming into the room. Use large mirrors with a simple, clean-cut frame and strategically place them in spaces where they will reflect a window or surrounding furniture. In dark rooms, use two mirrors of the same size directly opposite each other to make the room feel bigger and lighter. Like mirrors, glass-top furniture can give the illusion of spaciousness and boost the appearance of light in a room.
Choose Window Coverings Wisely — Trade in thick, heavy curtains for lighter or sheer ones instead. Even light-colored curtains in a heavy fabric can make a room look a little dark. Look for lightweight fabrics in neutral colors such as white or tan, or skip curtains altogether to let in plenty of natural light. If you need blackout curtains to help you sleep at night, use a layered approach to your window coverings, with a blackout shade or curtain closest to the window and light-filtering curtains in front. Blinds – even blackout-lined ones – can be used to get the same effect, simply draw them up to use the full window during the day.
Tidy Up and Keep Clutter at Bay — Maybe it goes without saying, but perhaps what your house needs more than anything is a good decluttering and cleaning. Dust all surfaces, clean scuff marks off the wall and clean windows to remove that layer of dirt and grime that is keeping sunlight from flooding your space. Use pretty boxes to give your room a more sophisticated look and to help corral clutter, from TV remotes to kids’ toys and other odds and ends. Turn books on their sides with pages visible to lighten up your bookshelves. Opt for under-the-bed or under-the-sofa storage bins, rather than large clunky storage furniture. Gather up knick-knacks and useless décor that’s cluttering up your tables, counters and shelves and sell them or give them away.
Add Windows or Install Skylights — If you own your place and a home improvement project is in the budget, consider making windows larger, adding new windows or installing skylights to open up your home and let in more light. Add windows to stairwells and hallways to increase natural light in your home. Be sure to keep any bushes or trees planted near windows trimmed so they aren’t preventing the sunlight from reaching your window. When the weather permits, open windows to allow the fresh air in to boost your mood and eliminate any stale smells that may be lingering in rugs, drapes and furniture.
Update or Increase Lighting — If increasing natural light simply isn’t an option in a particularly dark room in your home, increase artificial lighting by adding recessed lights or pendant light fixtures to brighten up your dark, dull space. Try bright white LED bulbs to maximize brightness and place a desk or floor lamp in a dark corner to make a dull room feel more inviting. Swap lamp shades for white or light-colored ones, or opt for lamps and light fixtures that don’t require a shade at all. Swapping out old light bulbs for energy-efficient LED bulbs will also save you money on energy and maintenance.
Tear Down the Walls, Literally — One way to make your home feel brighter and larger without a home addition is to remove non-structural walls, opening up your living space to create one large area. A big kitchen island can be used to divide your kitchen from dining or living space. A word of caution: Don’t go knocking down walls without consulting with an architect or structural engineer, first.
If you are feeling dreary, you may want try lifting your mood by brightening up your space. Bringing in natural light and incorporating lighter, brighter colors will help you create an inviting, cheerful environment. If brightening up your home requires knocking down walls, or adding windows, contact the lending professionals at PrimeLending today to learn more about how we can help you fund your home renovation project.