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Lighten Up: Tips to Brighten Your Home

Regardless of a home’s actual square footage, the quest to make it look and feel bigger and brighter is eternal. What many people don’t realize is that you don’t have to undergo a costly and all-consuming renovation to enhance your home’s sense of space and light. To that end, here are some simple tips you can try.

Declutter the space. Decluttering costs you nothing, but it makes a world of difference. A clean, clutter-free space lets light flow freely throughout, making a room appear bigger and brighter. On the other hand, “stuff” has a way of eating up physical and visual space in our homes, blocking out light and that desired sense of openness. Donate, recycle or trash anything you no longer want, need or love.

Opt for light, neutral walls. Painting the walls instantly refreshes a room, and when you choose a light, neutral colour palette, it can also make your home feel more spacious. Pale colours naturally reflect light, which can make the walls appear farther away, thus visually expanding the room. Look to colours such as off-white, cream, beige or light grey, as bright and airy choices that are still on the warm side of the spectrum.

TIP: Paint the walls in adjoining or adjacent rooms and hallways the same colour, to blur the separation between rooms and make them appear larger.

Maximize natural light. Windows are doors that offer outside views, but they are also the main source of natural light entering your home. Let the sun shine in with sheer curtains or translucent blinds, which offer privacy without blocking out the light. Also consider removing unnecessary doors, leaving the entranceways free and clear.

Your furniture layout also plays a key role in the flow of light through the space. Avoid blocking windows and doorways. Stand back in the room and reposition any pieces that obstruct your views. Low-profile furniture, slim silhouettes, reflective metals, and materials such as clear glass or lucite allow light and views to pass through, making them “disappear” from sight.

TIP: Mirrors are a great way to amp up the light and air in a room, by virtue of their reflection. A large mirror essentially doubles the light in a room, and when strategically positioned across from a window or doorway, it doubles the view as well!

Add lighting as needed. Have you ever noticed that dark rooms can appear small and cramped? Poor lighting also makes a room less welcoming and less functional. Given this, it never ceases to amaze me that lighting often becomes an afterthought when decorating a home. Always prioritize lighting in your decorating plan.

A well-lit room should include layers of different types of light fixtures, such as ceiling fixtures, sconces, table and floor lamps. This will brighten dark corners while highlighting the functional and aesthetic features of a room. Having various light sources with dimmers also allows you to customize the level of lighting, depending on the time of day, the activity and the desired ambiance.

Believe it or not, the amount of light in your home affects not just the home’s aesthetic, but your mood and even your physical health. So, lighten up and let the sun shine in. A brighter, bigger home can be yours – even if it’s just the illusion of light and space.

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