Does your home feel dark and gloomy even in the middle of the day? I find that here in Tennessee many of the homes are surrounded by beautiful trees and foliage – which keeps the home cool on a hot summer day but leaves you in the dark! Some people live in a downstairs apartments and the windows are located above eye level. What ever your case may be, living in the dark can be a drag. But what are the alternatives, is there any thing you can do? The good news is, yes! This home below is actually a condo on the fourth floor, but completely surrounded by trees! With a little design magic, lighting and clever decorations I breathed new life into this space, giving the homeowners a place they love to dine.
Rooms like these can be challenging, but you don’t have to live in the dark. Here are five, tried and true (and affordable) ways to lighten up any room:
5 secrets to brighten up a dark room
1. Add greenery. Stick with plants that thrive in limited light, such as spider plants, ferns, snake plants and flowering bromeliads, or choose high quality preserved plants that look real but don’t require water.
2. Mirrors. Mirrors trick the eye into thinking that a room is larger than it really is. Plus, they take a little light and magnify it ten-fold. Is your room narrow? Consider adding a floor-to-ceiling mirror at the end of the room. Most glass retailers will cut mirrors to order or you can also use mirrored tiles from a big box home improvement store. Is your decor more traditional? Scour estate and yard sales for a large mirror in a gilded frame for a more formal approach.
3. Paint it white. Though often mocked (unfairly, I think) white should not be sequestered to apartment living. White walls add a fresh, bright look to a room and make the most of the light that you have, not to mention make brights really pop. Paint is also one of the least expensive ways to redecorate. A gallon of white paint costs around $30, and even less if you wait for a good sale. It’s reflective and expansive but be sure to have good lighting otherwise, it just looks dirty.
4. Control the clutter. We all have clutter. Those knick-knacks from your last vacation, piles of books you intend to read, craft projects waiting to be started. However, clutter makes a room seem more closed in and dark. Banish all but a few, well-chosen items to drawers or cabinets. Plus, be mindful of adding new items to your newly brightened room. Clutter can sneak up on you.
5. Limit the amount of furniture. Dark, wooden furniture, while attractive, can darken a room and make it feel smaller than it actually is. Avoid over-furnishing your rooms. Instead, choose one exquisite piece to be the focal point and surround it with lighter-colored, less-substantial accent pieces. And, contrary to what your father might tell you, don’t be afraid to paint wooden furniture white or other light and bright colors. A garage sale chest of drawers or bookcase with a coat of ivory paint can become an attractive and bright place to store linens, books or hobby items.
Don’t resign yourself to living in a dark space. Brightening up a room can be easy and quick, so plan carefully, add a little paint, and limit the pieces you add to the room and your dark dungeon will be transformed into a light and airy retreat in no time!
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