We’ve all been in rooms that just feel good. They have a palpable, comfortable atmosphere that makes you want to put your feet up and stay awhile. Beyond the practicality of light, the lighting scheme in your home has a huge influence on the personality of a room and there’s no time like the present to optimize the amount of light coming into your home. Here are some key tips on how to lighten your home from our friends at New York Magazine.
1. Mirrors: The wall-of-mirrored-tile treatment, beloved of seventies decorators, can be an ugly thing, but hanging a single-framed mirror opposite a window is an effective and pretty room brightener. The bigger the better, too – it’s like giving you a second window.
2. Flooring: It may seem counter intuitive, but staining or otherwise darkening the floors helps lighten up your home. You can take a dark floor in a dark room and light the walls, and all of a sudden everything comes to life and looks really crisp, like this home at 45 Walker Street in Tribeca.
3. Refurnishing: Choose furnishings with sheen; reflective tabletops and appliances bounce existing light back into the space. Try to have fewer of them, too – there’s nothing like a lot of clutter to make a room feel cave-like.
4. Reorganize your space: If a room is tall, maximize the vertical space – use tall bookcases, for starters – so your eye is led upward to the ceiling, where the light usually is.
5. Utilize the corners of a room: Dark spaces in the corners create shadows, make dead spots, and exacerbate a dim, cramped feeling. Surprisingly, white walls won’t help, either – if there are shadows, a white room can actually look a little gray. Instead, try yellow highlights and other bright accents that excite the eye.
6. Skylights: In townhouse apartments, which are inherently darker because of their long, windowless side walls, the most bang for your buck will probably come from adding a skylight. Most houses have one, but they mainly exist for fire safety and can be old and unattractive. The standard size is two-by-four feet, and if you swap in a new one without changing the size, you’re out only about $2,000 and you will definitely brighten the top few floors.
7. Window treatments: Don’t skip the blinds or draperies in order to admit more light. Despite what you might think, a good window treatment brings more attention to the windows, where the light comes in.