Let your home reflect the brightness of summer with the help of these 15 design tips.
Summer brings with it a bright and airy atmosphere, something you may want to be reflected in your own home. By improving the lighting in your dwelling, you are not only making it appear happier and more welcoming but you are also creating the illusion that it is bigger than it seems, an advantage for those who live in small spaces. Moreover, maximizing natural light lessens your use of artificial lighting, which saves energy and money.
For those who are doing a major home renovation, they can simply incorporate bigger windows or knock down interior walls for an open floor plan. But if this is too big and costly for you at the moment or if you are living in a rental, there are still a number of changes you can make that will illuminate your home in a big way.
1. Put up sheer curtains…
Thick, opaque curtains prevent sunlight from entering through the windows to give the room a natural glow. Swap your heavy drapes with a more sheer variety in white or another light shade. If privacy is your concern, layer your curtains using double curtain rods, with the sheer curtains hanging from the back rod. During the day, keep the thicker ones pulled all the way back and only the sheer ones down to welcome in the sunlight.
Layered curtains. Photo via Shutterstock
2. …or use other window treatments
Another option for dressing your windows is by using other treatments like Venetian blinds or shutters. These will also allow more natural lighting into the room while keeping you from being too exposed. Blinds also tend to be on the slim side, which is another plus for keeping bulky items out of a room.
Venetian blinds. Photo via Shutterstock
3. Use mirrors
Placed strategically in a room, a mirror or two can work wonders in reflecting light and making a room brighter because it tends to double the light already in the room. For best results, prop up the mirror to face a window so it catches early morning sun streaks.
Mirrors. Photo via Shutterstock
4. Add shiny accents
Mirrors are not the only items you can display around the room. Slip family photos into glass or metallic frames. Buff doorknobs and drawer handles to a high sheen.
Shiny frame and potted plant. Photo via Shutterstock
5. Replace solid wood doors with glass doors
Heavy, solid exterior doors prevent natural light from entering the home and interior ones makes a room look and feel dim and stuffy. Consider swapping them out with glass doors. A door with a frosted glass window will allow more sunlight in without compromising your privacy, while French doors will look nice in exits leading to the garden or backyard.
Glass doors. Photo via Shutterstock
Applying a fresh coat of paint creates a major visual impact when improving a room, and the right color can give it the bright and cheery look it needs. Paint the walls a bright color, whether it is white or another hue. Also, dark beams makes a ceiling look like it is positioned too close to the floor, so be sure to paint them as well.
Light paint on walls and ceiling. Photo via Shutterstock
7. Use light-colored furniture
Is it time to get your couch reupholstered after years of spills and stains? Before you go for your standard black or brown, consider white or any other light color. Black may give you leeway in terms of keeping it “clean,” but aesthetically, it also makes a room seem darker. If you want to use color, do it in the form of accents like throw pillows or blankets, which will add a pop of color without overwhelming the couch.
Light colored living room furniture. Photo via Shutterstock
8. Replace bulky pieces
Large pieces of furniture do not just take up a lot of space physically, but they are also visually heavy and adds weight to whatever room they are being used. If your current furniture is due for replacement, choose pieces that are a bit narrow, especially ones with legs that allow you to easily see the floor underneath. These will allow more light to pass through and also lessen the chance of creating shadows.
Slim furniture. Photo via Shutterstock
9. Consider glass-topped tables
When a tabletop is made of glass, it does not cause a visual obstruction. Replace your clunky, wooden coffee table with a glass one that will not fight off the light but let it through instead. You can achieve the same look with acrylic furniture.
Glass table. Photo via Shutterstock
10. Do not block windows with large furniture
When a bookcase or lamp is partially blocking a window, you will notice that it casts a shadow across the room when only natural light is being used. To avoid this, move any and all furniture pieces away from windows. Also, avoid decorating window sills with large vases, figurines, and the like, or keep the sills bare altogether.
Unblocked window. Photo via Shutterstock
11. Use open shelves
Much in the same philosophy as choosing furniture with slim legs, your vision tends to move more freely across the room when it is not obstructed by anything like the back of a free-standing bookshelf. Choose a backless bookshelf to store your items in or opt for floating shelves you affix to the walls. Another tip: keep from overfilling your shelves to avoid the muddled look.
Open shelves in bedroom. Photo via Shutterstock
12. Do not neglect your flooring
Many design experts will tell you to ditch the carpet and embrace beautiful hardwood flooring, but dark staining makes a room look small and cramped. Either refinish the dark wood or cover it up with a light-colored area rug.
Light colored carpet on dark flooring. Photo via Shutterstock
13. Position your lamps to diffuse light
Lamps are a great way to add light to a room, but its placement needs careful consideration. Instead of immediately putting it next to a floating couch (a couch that stands in the middle of the room as opposed to pushed against a wall), find a dark corner and set it up there. The walls surrounding it will act as reflectors, increasing the ambient lighting in the room.
Lamp diffusing light. Photo via Shutterstock
14. Clean and declutter
How long has it been since you cleaned the glass panes of your windows and doors? You might be surprised how much brighter your home will look once dirt and grime has been wiped off and more light gets through. Be sure to clean all surfaces and make them as shiny as you can to increase the reflective surfaces in the room. While you’re at it, get rid of items that you hardly ever use, which only take up space and are potentially blocking light.
Clean glass doors. Photo via Shutterstock
15. Consider changing your lightbulbs
Not all light bulbs are created equal; some cast brighter light than others. Replace your current light bulbs with ones with higher lumens. Light emitting diodes (LEDs), for one, shine brighter than incandescent bulbs and are actually more energy-efficient than incandescent bulbs. Another alternative is the compact fluorescent light (CFL), which also produces the same amount of light as incandescent bulbs minus the harshness one would associate with a school building.
LED lighting in dining room. Photo via Shutterstock
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