Have a room or corner that looks a little dark or neglected? Perhaps it’s been a while since you took an objective look at your home’s interior. Are the walls a bit scuffed? Are certain furnishings looking a little shabby?
It might be time to brighten things up. A bright home is a cheerful home, welcoming you back from a hard day’s work or inviting guests to come in, relax and stay a while.
If you’re in the process of planning a remodel, you can take more expansive measures to brighten your home, like adding windows, skylights or solar tubes, or redesigning your home’s lighting plan. However, structural changes aren’t necessary to bring some bright cheer into a specific room or to the entirety of your living spaces.
The following are some ideas – some of the grand and some of the quite simple – in order to brighten up your interior design.
Give it a fresh coat of paint
Over the course of time, paint is dulled by pollutants, scuff marks, sun fading and general wear and tear. Because you live in the house, this dulling can go unnoticed. Refresh your paint, however, and you’ll realize how dulled it really was. If you like your current color scheme, your task is easy. If you are ready for a change, do some work with a color wheel or spend time in a home design center to choose a color palette that will give you a fresh new start. Consider using pastels on accent walls, doors or a piece of furniture here and there to add a bright pop of color.
Reupholster, repaint or refinish old furniture
If a chair or sofa has ‘good bones’ you’ll never need to replace it. Well-built furniture from high quality materials lasts for generations, but it’s up to you to give it that new fabric cover, a new coat of paint or to sand and refinish it so it looks it’s best.
My mother had a kitchen table and chair set that had grown downright grimy over the years. She was going to replace it, I advocated simply cleaning it and refinishing it. Getting rid of those layers of sediment that had affixed over the years brightened it up immensely, and brightened that area of the kitchen as a result.
Perk it up with patterns
Rather than repainting or reupholstering, you may find you can perk up a bland space by adding another pattern to the mix. You can do this by adding or swapping your accent pillows with versions that add a new burst of color or pattern into the room. If you’re a little wary of pattern layering, read, “How Many Patterns Can Fit in One Space,” for basics on how to mix and layer patterns without overwhelming a room.
Go light and monochromatic
There is something so soothing about monochromatic designs when they are done well. They are restful but at the same time, the variations in shade and texture create enough depth and interest that they aren’t boring. Lighter shades give a room a brighter and airier feel – Nordic designs are known for this. They can be minimal and yet still manage to convey warmth and comfort.
The kitchen in this Palo Alto home is a prime example of how shades of white and natural wood finishes combine for a light and bright kitchen that is in no way stark or cold.
Redesign the lighting plan
Are you living in a tract home? Odds are you don’t have the benefit of a custom lighting plan. Or, even if you are lucky enough to live in a home with a thoughtful plan, it wasn’t customized to your particular design or collections.
The right lighting plan will keep your interior free of dark corners or harsh shadows. It will provide both task and ambient lighting and it will feature your personal art pieces and collectibles. Even the addition of a few, directable recessed cans or the switching out of a standard light fixture for a customized suspended version can change the way a room looks and feels.
You don’t have to employ an interior designer to benefit from brighter living spaces. Instead, consider consulting with one as a means of gleaning expert tips that you can apply in your home on your own.