Our Favorite Ways to Lighten and Brighten a Home
A bright, light, and cheerful home is one that we all want to come home to at the end of the day. Dark, drab, and dull home environments can be depressing to live in, and are not inviting to guests. We’ve gathered our favorite ways to make your home a bright and happy place. The best part is, most of these things can be done in a weekend!
Enhance Natural Lighting
Increasing Natural Light in your home is one of the easiest and quickest ways to brighten your living space. Remove heavy window treatments to allow more sunlight to enter. Curtains with a light fabric and color, like a white, sheer curtain, are best to add to a dark space. Depending on your space, you may decide you don’t want curtains at all. Move heavy, bulky, and tall furniture away from windows, to keep the flow of daylight. Bookshelves or partitions are best placed perpendicular to windows, so do not block any natural light. Outside, be sure to regularly trim trees or large bushes that grow in front of windows. Overgrown plants or bushes may benefit from being reshaped to allow more light through the window and into the home.
Place mirrors across from the largest source of natural light possible. Try hanging a big mirror or a few different small mirrors together in a gallery across from your largest window. This will allow natural light to bounce off the mirror and reflect throughout the room.
Clean, Simplify, and Declutter
It’s amazing how much a good cleaning will brighten up your home. Scrubbing baseboards, shining hardwoods, and cleaning windows and mirrors are a few quick ways to add some shine to your rooms. Dull hardwoods and even a slight layer of dirt and dust on furniture or shelving can make surfaces less reflective and decrease the amount of light traveling throughout the room.
Clutter can add up quickly, and even more so over long periods of time. Before you know it, your bookshelves are packed with books, pictures, kid artwork, and figurines from various family trips. Take a walk through each room of your home and survey areas that appear cluttered. Ask yourself if any of the items can be donated or kept in storage. Uniformed baskets or decorative storage containers like these can hide regularly used items or toys, and create a simpler look.
Lamps and Lighting
Pay attention to the lighting in your home. Soft White, Bright White, or Daylight bulbs can drastically change the colors and how a space looks. Bright White or Daylight Bulbs typically provide more light. This post breaks down light bulb types and gives tips on when and where to use each. Additionally, check multi-bulb fixtures to be sure all bulbs are working and are the correct wattages.
Lighting that aims upward, toward the ceiling, gives off more light than a lamp or light fixture that primarily points light towards the ground. Take a look at the lamps around your home to see if you can reposition or replace shades to create more light pointing upwards.
If possible, use pendants with clear glass or opaque light shades to allow more light to travel and increase the amount of light from that particular fixture.
HGTV has excellent Lighting Tips if you are looking to increase the light in your home by adding new or different fixtures, bulb types, or more.
Flooring and Rugs
Light colored, neutral rugs on dark hardwoods will brighten a space and make it appear bigger. Another option is to take a rug out of a room, like a kitchen, or a dining room. Shiny and glossy hardwoods alone are beautiful and can make a space brighter on their own.
Paint Color and Texture on Walls and Furniture
Lighter, softer colors on walls can highlight an entire home. Use pops of stronger colors in art and accessories. Accessories can be swapped easily when your essentials are neutral. For example, add a bright blue throw and some floral patterned pillows to your living room for a cheerful look all summer long.
Replacing dark furniture with white, light grey, or tan furniture can change the way a space looks.
One summer I painted the large bronze frame of a mirror that hung over our fireplace with a white paint. Additionally, I painted an antique piece, originally a muted green, with white chalk paint. The whole room looked different and I received many comments from friends that visited asking “What is different in here?” Chalk Paint is a quick and easy way to spice up old furniture without spending a lot of time prepping the piece. Annie Sloan is one of the more popular brands of Chalk Paint, but there are many others out there as well. Hardware stores typically carry chalk paint as well. Annie Sloan’s webpage has some great tips and ideas for using chalk paint to refinish furniture and accessories.
Matte Paint on walls is best to add light. It reflects light more evenly, rather than glossy paints. Leave the glossy and reflective surfaces for coffee and side tables, bookshelves, and trays. When reflective surfaces are flat, they give light another area to bounce off of.
Houseplants and Fresh Flowers
Fresh flowers radiate in any room of the house. Try putting green plants in the bathrooms and a fresh bouquet of hydrangeas on your coffee or dining room tables. Not only do they add color, but houseplants improve the air quality of your home. If you have a black thumb like I do, you may find some low maintenance houseplants are easier to keep up with. The Fiddle Leaf Fig plant and the Snake Plant are a two of my favorites to add richness to a room, and they’re both easy to grow. Better Homes and Garden has some other ideas for low maintenance houseplants.
Looking for inspiration?
These sites feature rooms that use some or all of these tips to lighten and brighten the space. I enjoy Joanna Gaines’ blog on magnolia.com when I’m looking for new ideas and different things to do to change up a room. Jasmine Roth from tv show Hidden Potential also incorporates many techniques to brighten space as she redesigns various spaces.
Checkout our other blogs by visiting our archive.