If you’ve ever felt gloomy on a dark and cloudy day, then you know firsthand how a dreary environment can impact your mood. From decades of research, we know this to be true: light and color has a direct effect on human mood. Bright lights and light colors increase happiness, creativity and even relaxation, while dark, poorly lit spaces can lead to lethargy, clouded thinking and even depression.
If there’s a dark room in your home — perhaps one that doesn’t get much natural light, or maybe it’s just outfitted with dark, heavy decor — brighten it up and lighten your mood with these tips.
Keep paint colors light and bright. Remember, dark colors absorb light. On the other hand, bright colors reflect light, so choose colors that will reflect the light inside your home and create an open, airy feeling. Repaint or replace the dark surfaces in a room with matte whites or light neutrals. Be sure to paint the ceiling bright white and consider doing the same with woodwork, such as floorboards, window trim and wood staircases.
Accent with color. Using too many colors in one room can make it feel busy, but incorporating pops of color in window treatments, throw pillows and accent rugs will lighten the atmosphere of any room. An arrangement of fresh, colorful flowers will add a much-needed dose of cheer.
Reflect natural light. A strategically placed mirror will reflect what natural light coming into the room while giving the feeling of a larger, more open space. Look for mirrors with a simple, clean frame and place them in spaces where they will reflect a natural light source. Placing two mirrors of the same size directly opposite each other can also make a room feel bigger and brighter. Glass, lucite and acrylic furniture also give the illusion of more space while making a room look less cluttered and increasing the appearance of natural light a dark space.
Layer window coverings. Blackout curtains may help you sleep at night, but they also prevent natural light from flooding your space during the day. For a room that’s bright during the day and dark at night, use a double curtain rod and layer window treatments with blackout curtains closest to the window and light, airy curtains in front.
Add windows to increase natural light. If you’ve got money in the budget for a small home improvement project, consider increasing the size of existing windows or adding more windows to let in more natural light. Get creative about window placement and add windows to stairwells or hallways — areas that otherwise tend to be dark and poorly lit. Skylights or tubular daylighting devices (which operate on solar energy) are other options to illuminate windowless hallways or add natural light to your living spaces. (Another tip: keep your windows clean!)
Simplify and streamline furniture. Large, heavy, overstuffed furniture will make a room feel much darker than it is. Stick with simple, light pieces with clean lines and not a lot of frills to keep your space feeling light. Don’t block windows with furniture and avoid large, clunky storage cabinets or trunks and opt for under-the-bed or under-the-sofa storage instead. Place bookshelves and other large pieces perpendicular to your windows so they don’t disrupt the flow of light within your room.
Lighten up from the bottom up. Painting your floors can be a fun way to brighten up any room, but it’s not for everyone. If the thought of painting your hard floors gives you anxiety, opt for a light-colored area rug instead. You don’t necessarily have to choose a solid rug, but be sure the overall design of the rug isn’t too dark.
Manicure your landscaping. Sometimes getting more light into your home doesn’t require an overhaul of your interior decorating, but rather trimming back foundation shrubs and trees instead. If the trees outside your windows are blocking the sun, trim back the limbs to allow more light into your home. If needed, call an arborist. Plants with variegated or silver leaves can also help reflect light indoors.
Supplement with added lighting. While natural light is ideal, increasing it in a room isn’t always possible. In these cases, carefully placed lamps, recessed lights and/or pendant light fixtures will do the trick and brighten up a dark, dull space.
Brightening up a dark, dull home isn’t just about design. Research shows how a light, bright environment (particularly from natural light sources) is essential for physical and emotional health. If you need some help covering the costs of a home improvement project to brighten up your home, contact PrimeLending today to speak with a home loan expert and learn more about our home renovation loans.