House hunting is hard. And I mean, really hard. Trying to find the house that’s in the perfect location, with the perfect amount of square footage, and in your price range. Did I mention house hunting is really, really hard? If you’ve done it, you know what I’m talking about. This was me about a year ago, and nothing made me happier than when I finally found the one. It was in the perfect location and sort of in my price range; however, the square footage was a little under what I was shopping for. Not by much, but it was a little smaller than desired.
I have no complaints, really. It turned out to be just the right size for my needs and now I really don’t think I would want anything bigger. I will admit that as a result of the square footage, some of the rooms are a little difficult to position. Everything has to be set a certain way, and some pieces of furniture need to be just the right size in order for the layout to work properly.
My house also has a difficult time letting in natural light due to the single window in the living room and the position of the house in relation to the sun. So, yeah, my house needed a little help with feeling bigger and brighter. The more I thought about it, the more I realized all the great ways you can improve your home, with a few simple improvements. If your house if like mine, take a few minutes to read how to make your house feel bigger and brighter too.
Keep It Open
Let’s start with the easy fixes and go from there. The first way to make your house feel bigger and brighter is to simply keep those blinds or curtains open. Use natural lighting to your advantage as much as you can! Natural light can’t help but give an airy, open feel to your home.
Every morning, I enjoy opening up all the blinds and watching the early morning sunlight filter through. Unlike artificial lighting, the natural light gives a soft, radiant glow that can’t really be replaced.
When was the last time you thought about your light bulbs? I know. I don’t really think about mine either. Until last night that is. When my husband switched out one of the standard light bulbs with an LED. It was the “same” wattage, but wow was it brighter!
When it comes to switching out light bulbs, you’ll have to make sure you check the fixture for any restrictions on the amount of wattage used or even the type of bulb used. Sometimes you really do need to use a higher wattage to brighten up your room, but you may want to just consider switching to LED. This will give you brighter lighting as well as a longer life span on the bulb itself.
The laundry room was a good example of this in my house. My laundry room is just that: a room. And as most laundry rooms, it has no windows and receives very little natural lighting. One of the best things (and one of the easiest things) we could do was change out the light bulbs with LEDs. It was an instant improvement.
Don’t Join the Dark Side
If you spend any amount of time on Pinterest or Instagram, you’ll quickly notice the home trends. And one of the most common trends seems to be light and neutral wall colors. And for good reasons! While there are plenty of people out there using vibrant and/or dark wall colors, many are making the switch to cool tones and light shades. If you can spare some money for paint, this may just be one of the better options for opening up those small spaces.
The previous owners of my house decided to go with a deep green color for the dining room walls. While this was not a bad color, it definitely made the area feel darker and more confined. I am thankful that the dining area, kitchen, and living room are all connected and, for the most part, make up one large room. This helps make the space feel larger. However, that wall color still wasn’t working for the area. I fell in love with a nice light shade of gray and painted the entire area with it. It was magical! The three “rooms” instantly felt larger and brighter. So if you have an area that is small or does not receive much natural light, strongly consider using a light shade on the walls. It works wonders!
Rather than using bright and dark paint colors, try using a stylish blend of colors, patterns, and textures with your furniture and accent pieces. This will give you more options to work with and allows for more variety.
Who Turned Out The Lights
How many of you remember the days when extravagant drapes and heavy curtains were in style? While I don’t believe they’ll ever go completely out of style, many are throwing out the fabric and welcoming the simplicity of Roman shades and Venetian blinds. Both are great options that allow for a much less dramatic appearance as well as allow more light to enter in the windows. The standard aluminum blinds can often look cheap and will look very unattractive. Opting for a nice set of Venetian blinds can be a good alternative.
Oh, and if you do want to continue using curtains and drapes, think light and airy, both in color and in weight.
If you still haven’t found a way to make your space look more open, then maybe you should try this: mirrors. Yep, that’s right. Mirrors.
Mirrors are an ingenious way to give the optical illusion that the room is bigger than it really is. Now that’s not to say you should put a mirror on every wall of the room, but if you strategically place the right size mirror on the right wall, you may just give the appearance that it is a little larger than it really is.
Mirrors can also be helpful in reflecting a little extra light, so be sure to give this one a try. For those of us who who can’t seem to get enough natural light in the house or maybe have that one room that just doesn’t have any/enough windows, we’ll appreciate this simple fix.
Keep It Simple
Let’s just take a minute to ignore the previous point. Yes, ignore it. But just for a minute! And just so I can say: keep your wall hangings to a minimum. I did not say: do not hang a single thing on your walls. Because that would be silly. And ignored.
Hanging pictures, knickknacks, and so forth on the wall is a great way to celebrate victories and remember all those fun memories. But as much as we love our pictures and even our trendy wall art, let’s keep the amount of it on the walls to a minimum.
By doing this, you’ll create a more open, brighter space. Sometimes the eye just needs some “white space” to look at. Just as everything else in life needs to be balanced, so do our wall hangings. Be sure to put up those great pics and hard-won trophies, but do it in moderation. And your house may just feel a little bigger and a little less cluttered.
Ah furniture…. That one thing that we just can’t seem to live without. No matter what room of the house you’re in, you need a piece of furniture for something. Each piece has it’s own specified purpose, making it necessary for daily living. Except for those random pieces that people buy for decor. You know? The ones that serve no purpose whatsoever, but look really, really great? Yeah, those.
Determining what pieces to buy can be a challenge. With so many demands, it seems that there is a never-ending variety of sizes, shapes, colors, and textures of furniture. As a result, it can be so easy to buy the “wrong” piece for the intended area. But this article isn’t about finding the right size or style, so let’s focus on the color.
If you’re struggling to make your home feel larger and more open, dark-stained woods and dark-colored fabrics will be your enemy if not used properly. In contrast, try using neutral or light-toned pieces. If you’re struggling to find inspiration, simply spend a few minutes on Pinterest and you’ll find a plethora of ideas. While many of us cannot (or do not want to) afford using a white sofa, there are other great options.
For instance, if you decide to use a dark-colored sofa, try to keep the other pieces of furniture light, keeping the area feeling less confined. You may also determine that it’s high time to sell some furniture. If you’re struggling to fit everything (including yourself!) into the area, consider getting rid of a few pieces. Some rooms simply can’t hold all the furniture you’re trying to fit in it.
So far we’ve talked about the walls, the windows, and the room itself, but I can’t fail to mention the ceiling. First, what type of ceiling do you have? Is it vaulted or flat? Does it have a smooth finish or is it textured? How high is your ceiling? These are all important questions to consider and ones that will determine your light fixtures.
Earlier I brought up the light bulbs you use, but now it’s time to talk about the fixtures themselves. With the wide variety of lighting styles available, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Just take a deep breath and figure it out one fixture at a time.
If you have vaulted ceilings in your home, this may be a good opportunity to incorporate larger light fixtures, such as chandeliers. When properly used, they can be an elegant touch to your home, while also lending more light. I will say that I have seen some homes with high ceilings use recessed lighting, and it looked quite elegant. Do keep in mind that the light fixture needs to be the right proportion to the room. Having over-sized lighting in a small area or on a low ceiling will bring too much attention to the size of the room.
On the other hand, if you find yourself with lower/average height ceilings, don’t despair! They can look great too. Try opting for fixtures that cast the light down and out, rather than up towards the ceiling. This will put the focus on the walls and the floor, making the room feel larger.
If you have dark walls, try using light fixtures that offer a good amount of light. While dark colored walls are not bad, they need to be properly illuminated. Otherwise, it will feel too closed in.
Light fixtures can be a fun way to add your own personal touch and style, but be sure to buy the right fixture for each room.
While you’re focusing on your ceiling, take a look at your finish. If you have flat ceilings consider yourself lucky! If you have textured ceilings like I do, you’ll have to make a decision: how badly do you want flat ceilings? As long as your house was built after the 1970s and your popcorn ceiling has never been painted, you should have a relatively easy time getting that off your ceiling. The finished product can be rewarding if done properly.
I will warn you that it gets old really fast. Scraping off popcorn is novel for about the first hour. After that, you’re wondering what you were thinking to start such a project. The other issue that can pop up is the ceiling itself. Sadly, it has been common practice for construction crews to do a poor job on the sheetrock, etc. and cover up their mistakes with the popcorn. Once you remove the popcorn, there will be no easy way to conceal these eyesores. And there’s no going back once you’ve started this project.
All that to say that I do not regret removing my popcorn from my ceilings. I love seeing my living room’s vaulted ceiling flat finished. The room feels bigger and brighter without all the extra shadows being cast on the surface.
If you decided to leave the popcorn on the ceiling (like I did in my laundry room), giving it a fresh coat of white paint can go a long way with improving the look of your home. My home is just shy of 20 years old and the ceilings have never been painted. Eww, right? Yeah. Needless to say, putting that first coat of paint on the ceiling made a huge impact.
Organize Your Life
This last point is one of the most cost effective techniques, yet it can be one of the hardest. Keeping a tidy house can be a challenge, especially keeping up with it on a daily basis. But it is amazing how much better a home looks when the laundry is folded and put away, the dishes are washed, and the bathroom counters are free of clutter.
It amazes me how much stuff builds up around the house. Life is busy and sometimes it’s hard to do the simple things, like picking up after yourself. But if you manage to organize your home and keep it neat, you can make your home feel bigger and brighter without spending a dime!
I hope some of these tips will help you with your home. These are just a few simple ways that we can improve the look of our homes. While you can’t always afford to buy the perfect house or furnish it with the designer brands, you can find ways to work with what you have. So if you have a room (or a house) that doesn’t seem bright enough (or big enough), try some of these tips to make your home feel bigger and brighter.