5 ways to brighten up your home

Caitlin Hughes Caitlin Hughes
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A light, bright and fresh looking home is something we would all like, no matter what style we choose to decorate it in. It's a fact that the environment you live in has a direct impact on your well-being: dark and cluttered rooms are not going to leave you with a positive feeling, and this is why you should really consider how to utilise light and space in your home. You may not have a large house, or you might be stuck with restricted views and/or lacking outdoor space, but there are still measures you can take to brighten up each room for an uplifting effect. There are, of course, structural changes you can make to brighten up your home, and big changes will obviously require more of an investment. However, it really is amazing how much of a difference re-thinking the positioning of your furniture, and some clever decorating, can make. 

We've compiled a list of top tips to help you illuminate your home and feel instantly happier and more relaxed—take a look.

Open plan living

View of open plan dinning and living room: scandinavian Living room by Satish Jassal Architects
Satish Jassal Architects

View of open plan dinning and living room

Satish Jassal Architects

If you're stretched for space, interior partition walls are an unnecessary blockade that stops natural light filtering into your home and dispersing through each room.  By knocking down just one dividing wall, you can create a space that looks totally different, and is filled with light. However, make sure you know which walls are actually structural before getting too carried away! The kitchen and dining room are often the first to be opened up and turned into one room. This is due to the practicality of having two rooms that are connected in their function, and also connected to each other in a literal sense. It establishes a more social space where families can talk, relax, eat and cook together: the benefits go on and on. If you're still not convinced by your own DIY skills and don't quite trust yourself to start knocking down walls, enlisting the help of a professional is probably more cost-friendly than you would expect.

You could also take some inspiration from the décor in this open plan kitchen: light timber flooring and cabinets are a much better option than dark or colourful surfaces if you want to create a sense of space. White furnishings are also a good idea, assuming you don't have small children or mischievous pets!

Skylights

Redesdaale Street Chelsea Basement Development Rooflight:  Windows  by Shape Architecture
Shape Architecture

Redesdaale Street Chelsea Basement Development Rooflight

Shape Architecture

If you've decided to have a skylight installed, there are a few things you need to consider: skylights can be installed in flat or vaulted ceilings, and come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Choose a consultation from an installer, who will be able to tell you exactly what sort of skylight fits your home best. You can also specify which light and shading control you would like to get the most out of the design. Think about where you want to install the skylight: which spot will benefit most from natural light? Where will it have the biggest impact? The image to the left is in fact a photo of a basement extension which enjoys plenty of natural light. If you're in a basement flat, this could be just the solution you've been looking for. 

Backlighting

Clapham South - Conversion and Refurbishment: modern Kitchen by Arc 3 Architects & Chartered Surveyors
Arc 3 Architects & Chartered Surveyors

Clapham South—Conversion and Refurbishment

Arc 3 Architects & Chartered Surveyors

Natural light is coveted and should obviously be the focus when planning how to give your home a lift, but why not get a bit of help from interior lighting options, such as backlighting? Panels behind the hob, or even in the cabinets, give you that extra bit of light you need for a beautifully illuminated kitchen. You can also opt for lights beneath your kitchen island, or install spotlights under the cabinets which shine down onto your reflective kitchen surfaces for additional brightness.

Outside the kitchen, spotlights and backlights also work well in the bathroom, particularly around the mirror, or up the length of the stairs if you want to create a contemporary, welcoming hallway.

Patio doors

Green Retrofit, Lambourn Road: modern Houses by Granit Architects
Granit Architects

Green Retrofit, Lambourn Road

Granit Architects

This kitchen with dining area opening onto the patio is a great example of modern architecture concerned with space and light. Large patio doors that open right out onto the terrace or decking provide a lovely spot for summer barbecues, and when the weather is less than appealing, the glass panels let in tonnes of light. If you're lucky enough to have a decent garden, you can enjoy the view as you have your breakfast or prepare your evening meal. Even if your view is limited, looking out at the world outside is preferable than looking at a wall, and even the smallest of outdoor terraces can look special with some TLC and a bit of imagination. 

Mirrors

Mirrors are a clever way of making a room appear bigger by reflecting light: the more strategically placed mirrors you can hang up without turning your lounge into a carnival fun house, the better! Think in terms of reflective surfaces in general and opt for a glass coffee table or side table with mirror detailing. When not too over the top, mirrored furniture can look classy and modern. A large feature mirror is the perfect accompaniment to a smaller room, particularly above the mantelpiece or an elegant bureau to create a sophisticated and classic look. 

In addition to mirrors, light-coloured soft furnishings are an easy and cheap way to brighten up bedrooms and lounges. Simple cream or beige cushions with minimal patterns along a neutral coloured couch guarantees an instant lift. This is in comparison to darker furniture, or furniture made from heavier materials such as leather: these are definitely to be avoided if you want a light, bright living room. 

Do you have any other suggestions for creating a light, bright home? Let us know in the comment section below
Whitton Drive:  Terrace house by GK Architects Ltd

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