Light in the home is important, and even if you don’t have multiple south-facing windows and the sun streaming in at all angles, there are so many ways to bring more light into the home.
Especially with city-living, an apartment or home that’s filled with sunlight can be hard to find. But a lack of light does not mean a lack of life. With a few simple tricks, you can transform any dark space into the bright, vibrant home of your dreams.
The mirror trick
Unless you’re planning on doing some major renovations, a lot of the time bringing light into the home is about tricking the eye.
The mirror trick is not a new one. But it works! Incorporating a mirror in your space moves the light around the room, and makes the space look bigger and brighter. And it doesn’t just have to be mirrors. Reflective surfaces, like chrome, in your furniture will have the same effect.
Quick Tip: To take full advantage of the light in a room, place the mirror opposite a window or a strong light source.
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Bring in light from all angles
Naturally, when you’re lacking light you need to bring in artificial light. But the key is to use strategic lighting.
Focus on where your light is coming from. Strictly overhead lighting is not only unflattering but it won’t provide enough multi-dimensional light to a dark space. Anne Bugatch, a Design Consultant in Boston, suggests lighting up the corners of the wall with plant lights and lamps that shoot light up the wall. Be sure you’re varying where light is coming from—from the floor to the ceiling.
Anne explains, “You can choose now between cool or warm light depending on what you’re responding to and what you prefer. It really does affect your mood so it’s important to pay attention to the tone of the light.”
Quick Tip: The simple addition of fairy lights is a beautiful way to add a soft, warm glow to a room.
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Think light and airy
Bringing light into the home is also about how you design the space. If you fill a dark room with bulky, dark furniture it’s going to make the room appear even darker and heavier.
Focusing on light and airy furniture is key in detracting from the darkness of a home. Anne explains, “A sofa that’s boxy and close to the floor is going to appear bulkier than something up on legs.”
In other words, avoid furniture that’s visually dense. For example, choosing a storage piece that you can see through, like a étagère instead of a bookcase, or a glass table over a solid wood coffee table.
You can also apply this same rule to your window treatments. You’ll want to be mindful of not blocking out the light that you do get. Anne suggests plantation shutters, slatted wood shutters, or a half-window treatment. You can even opt to get UV gel blockers on your window in lieu of window treatments to really get as much light as possible.
Overall, when you want to bring light to your home it makes sense that you’ll want to incorporate lighter colors. Lighter wood tones like ash and light colors on your walls and accessories will keep your home from getting too dark.
This doesn’t mean you need to white out your whole home. Anne says, “You can have darker elements, they just won’t be the main pieces. You want the bigger pieces to be light feeling and light looking.”
Finally, consider your floors. Anne describes, “If you have grey, sterile floors, you’ll need to lighten them up with a rug.”
Quick Tip: Sometimes a simple change makes the biggest difference. Changing the frame color in your artwork from black to white will bring light to your space.
Bring life in
Short of a knocking down the walls in your home or apartment, bringing light to your home really comes down to bringing life in. What does that mean exactly?
To put it simply: Incorporate pieces that bring you energy. If your space is mostly neutral, brighter pops of color will add dimension and vitality to a room. Opt for a bright, colorful rug over a neutral one. A rug is more of an impermanent piece so it’s the perfect opportunity to incorporate color in a fresh and exciting way.
Quick Tip: Now that spring is upon us, take advantage of the natural resources and bring in plants and natural elements to your home. Anne loves bringing in a bowl of lemons to add a pop of color.
Chat with a designer
Instead of lamenting about your lack of light, think of it as an opportunity to revive your space and bring in light and life from all angles. Find inspiration and then incorporate what speaks to you. And if you’re not looking to do a whole room makeover, add a mirror and a pop of color in a rug—you’ll be surprised by the effect of these simple additions.