A brighter home looks bigger, cleaner, more inviting and aesthetically pleasing than a dimmer one. While many brand new homes are built with extra attention to brightness and exposure to natural light sources, many homes, especially older houses, were not built with this in mind. Many homeowners, then, are left wondering how they can make changes to their existing space to brighten it up.


Fortunately, it’s easy to take a home that feels dark and uninspiring and turn it into a light, bright, warm, and cheery space. Read on for five helpful tips that will help you brighten up your home.


Improve interior illumination


Using light fixtures can help to brighten up a home, but it often takes more than swapping out low wattage light bulbs for higher wattage ones. For example, dark ceilings can open up when recessed lighting is added, giving the illusion of added height and providing better room-wide illumination. Pendant lighting that’s exceptionally bright (as opposed to just providing task lighting) will also increase radiance, as will lighting under built in shelving. For dark corners, interesting lamps can help to brighten things up.


Choose lighter paint colours


Dark walls contribute to a dark and gloomy home. Bright paints that are of a lower colour value may look great on the small paint sample cards at the DIY store, but on an entire wall they can make a space seem stifling. This is especially true if there isn’t much natural light in the room to begin with. For walls, choose whites and very light neutral shades to create a brighter home. And if you really love those bright, deep reds and blues, consider using them for painting the trim instead of painting whole walls.


Rethink furniture and flooring


Big and dark furniture plus dark floors equals dark space, for sure. When designing a room to be bright and airy, choose light coloured furniture to add large bright spots to a room. Items with long, clean lines rather than large, overstuffed, and heavily patterned pieces can also contribute to a bright and uncluttered feeling. If you aren’t in a position to buy new furniture, seriously think about eliminating some pieces. If you don’t really need something, get rid of it, and edit down to only the pieces you truly use. Clutter can make a space feel dark and cramped.


As for floors, pull up old, dark carpets. Carpets that are white or very light in colour are highly impractical for most people, so consider light wood floors or laminates that give the same effect. If you’ve got older, darker wooden floors, a good sanding and polishing can also help to brighten up a space.


Mirrors on the walls


Mirrors help to reflect light, open up a space, and make a home feel bigger and brighter. Covering an entire wall in mirror panelling can make a space look twice its size, and hanging beautifully framed antique mirrors are an artistic and practical way of brightening up a home. When shopping for new furniture and home decor choose glass and mirrored pieces; they’re a subtle way of keeping things light and open.


New doors, new windows


Finally, the ways to get in and out of a house are also the best ways to let more light in. Exterior doors with glass inserts (either clear or frosted) create a more well-lit space than traditional wooden doors. Bi-fold doors are also great because they neatly open up a large space that allows light to come in. Glass French doors on the inside go a long way in making a home feel brighter too.


As for windows, newer panes with a smaller border can feel like less of a barrier between the dim indoors and the bright outdoors. Adding windows wherever possible is also helpful, as are skylights; the latter can especially make a huge difference in the brightness of a space.