Make It Brighter – Adding Light

“Light, Bright, and Airy” – this catchphrase has been around the block a few times lately, describing a fresh, light feel in the home.  I remember holidays at my uncle’s house when I was a kid…he had these tall ceilings and tons of windows.  The home had such a peaceful feel to it.  Unfortunately there are a lot of homes which are really lacking in the natural light department.  Some have windows only on one side, some have small windows, buildings are built too close together – there are many causes, but fortunately, there are also a few fixes to help add light to your home!

Electrical:  The first thing that comes to mind when considering adding light is to literally – add light.  Having the proper lighting around the home not only provides light to see and function, but adds atmosphere and affects mood.  A small table lamp can provide light to a dark corner without taking up much real estate in the room, and for an even lighter feel, try one with a glass or crystal base – it adds light without adding much bulk.  Floor lamps come in all sizes shapes and colors, and ones with a small footprint or those on tripod legs help reduce visual weight.  Hanging pendants provide good light and take up zero space on the floor.  Without much effort, a simple plug-in pendant can be plugged directly to a wall outlet, and then hung on a hook (called swagging) on the ceiling exactly where you want it.  Another option is LED lighting, which is being used for under-counter lighting in kitchens and offices.  These types of lights are typically cooler in color (more bluish) than halogen or incandescent bulbs, but the newer versions are getting warmer.  They never burn out, use minimal electricity, and provide good lighting over a kitchen counter or work surface.

Mirrors:  Adding mirrors to a room helps reflect light (both natural and artificial) around the room and adds a feeling of depth and space.      There are all sorts of mirrors and art using mirrors that can be used in the home.  Placing a mirror behind a lamp or across or near a window will help reflect that light around.

Furniture, Rugs, Window Treatments, Etc.:  It may not seem that obvious, but everything in a room has visual weight and color.  Put a lot of big, bulky, dark furniture in a dark room and you’re not helping it any if you want that light and bright feeling.  Furniture which is light in color and has clean lines has less visual weight in the room.  Pieces which have reflective surfaces (like mirrors or glossy laminate) function like mirrors and reflect some of the light around.  Furniture which is up and off the ground on legs lets air and light circle around the room and visually feels more crisp, not to mention is easier to clean under.  Lighter color rugs and window treatments don’t weight down the room as well.  Sheer curtains are great for letting light in but retaining privacy.  Layering is fine to add texture and depth, just keep it light in color.  If you do desire a darker curtain, keep those to the sides, and use sheers in the center to let light in.  To let your windows seem larger and let more light in, extend the curtain rod past the sides of the window a bit – maybe a foot on each side – and let the curtains hang from the ends just covering the outer sides of the window, with sheer panels in the center.