When you rent your house there’s a limited number of things you can do to brighten up your home. You can’t knock any walls down, or make windows bigger or put in big glass doors or anything – you’re kind of stuck with what you’ve got when it comes to the basics.
If you’re lucky, you might have a landlady who lets you do a spot of painting. The last time I was allowed to paint walls though I got a bit carried away, and painted my kitchen in these colours, on opposite walls:
Okay, so perhaps it’s an acquired taste.
So other than painting the walls in colours that make guests feel a bit sick, what can you do to brighten up your home? I’ve got some tips:
Choose your lighting carefully
I’ve always been a bit rubbish at this. For example, when we moved into our current house, about two and half years ago, we had this horrible energy saving lightbulb in the bathroom, which took about three minutes to warm up, meaning you basically had to wee in the dark. I finally got round to replacing it LAST MONTH, which is a bit lame. Just doing things like changing your lightbulbs though can make a big difference. I’ve switched a lot of ours to LED bulbs recently and Christ, those things are BRIGHT.
Think too about the kind of lighting you have in a room. Central lights are often not terribly flattering, so you might find you need a combination of wall lights, ceiling lights or lamps to get the best out of a room.
Think about your windows
Have a look at your windows and your window dressings. Are they doing all they can to help you bring the best light into your room? Big heavy curtains can drag a room down, but similarly you don’t want to go too flimsy as sometimes you’ll want to stop so much light coming in too. I’m a big fan of a shutter and when I own my own home I’d love to experiment with something like plantation window shutters to help control the natural light that comes into different rooms at different times of the day.
I’ve put together a Pinterest board of some of my favourite shutters. Don’t forget to follow me on Pinterest for more interiors inspiration.)
Choose light and bright furnishings
You may not realise just how much light is getting sapped by dark pieces of furniture, so if you have a particularly gloomy room avoid dark woods and finishes and go instead for white or light colours. Avoid too many accent colours, and keep tones neutral where possible.
Make good use of mirrors and metallic finishes
Mirrors and metallic materials help to reflect light around a room, so if you have a small room without much natural light, or a dark corner that needs perking up, try adding a mirror or something shiny to help bounce the natural light around as much as possible.