With few exceptions, I believe we’re all drawn to light. Just last week I visited a friend’s home for the first time, and I gushed to her “It’s so light!” I meant that as a serious compliment, especially coming from someone who lives in a house where there’s not a whole lot of natural light. Don’t get me wrong, I love our house and what we’re doing to it, but it’s not the brightest house you’ve ever been to. This has forced me to be creative in finding ways to draw out the light that’s already there, and I’ve learned a little bit in the process. Let me share it with you!
- Paint All The Trim White
I’ve spent the last 1.5 years painting trim, and as tedious as it can be, I don’t regret a second of it. Covering up the dated and dark stained brown trim with a coat (actually three coats!) of white paint has transformed our house and lightened it up in a way that nothing else has. Trim is one of those things that you don’t realize how much of an impact it has on a room until it looks bad. White trim goes with any color, isn’t going to look dated in 30 years, and, as you may have guessed by now, brightens up any room. If you already have white trim in your home, lucky you!
2. Use Sheer White Window Treatments
There’s nothing quite like lightweight curtains blowing in the breeze by an open window on a summer afternoon. Window treatments are a topic in my current favorite home decorating book, Cozy Minimalist Home, which opened my eyes to just how important of a role they play in the story of a room. You see, a lot of times drapes are used to darken a room, and while this may be necessary in some cases (like a baby’s nursery!), they don’t always have to be this way. They can instead be used to not only brighten (yes, really!) a room but also give the visual impression that the room is bigger than it actually is. In the Cozy Minimalist Home, the author recommends mounting curtain rods a foot or so above the actual window and extending them out so that the curtains (which should reach to the floor or even a bit further) can hang on the rod without blocking any of the light from the actual window. Brilliant! If your home sadly does not have high ceilings, like me, you can still implement the the lightweight aspect of the curtains and use sheer or lace material- so that even if they do end up blocking some or all of your window, they won’t block most of the light.
3. Paint The Most Important Piece of Furniture in the Room
It really isn’t necessary to paint ALL of the furniture in the room a fresh new color in order to brighten up the room. I mean, that would be nice, but who has time for that?! Not me. Instead, take a moment and look at the room. What piece of furniture is dragging it down in terms of being drab and/or dark? It could be the largest piece in the room, or it just be that it holds the most visual importance because it’s tall, or really wide, or what you see when you walk in. This was the case for the dresser that was in my office. It was a dark stained wood and, while it has less surface area than my white table, it’s more easily visible when you walk in the room. I found that it was dragging down the brightness of my otherwise light and bright pink space. I painted it a pale pink color and immediately the entire room was lighter. Sure, it would be nice to paint my dark stained wood desk as well, but it’s smaller, and not as important in the overall brightness of the room. Choose the piece that will make the biggest impact on the room and you’ll find that it’s worth the time spent painting it.