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7 Ways to Add Light to a Room

Learn how to add light to a room without a lot of time or expense

One reason I didn’t immediately love our new home is because it felt dark. I’m a girl who thrives on light, preferably natural. By mid-winter, it’s just not pretty. Without going to the expense of adding windows, there are 7 ways to add light to a room!

Remove Screens
Do you use your screens? If you’re allergy intolerant or just don’t mind a few flies if you open the windows, remove your screens! Test just one & you will see the light! The same applies to storm windows.

Example: Screens & interior blinds were removed to add light {& provide a better view}. Photos were taken with the same camera settings – you can see how overexposed the second photograph is! Don’t mind Ani enjoying her breakfast 🙂 We utilize little moments like this to complete small home projects!

7 Ways to Add Light to Your Home

7 Ways to Add Light to Your Home

Rethink Curtains
Make the curtain rod extend well past the width of the window, so just an inch or so of the curtain hits the window, making the window appear larger & not blocking any light. There are a couple of great tips for hanging curtains on Pottery Barn.

ideas to make your home feel cozy for fall

Learn how to add light to a room without a lot of time or expense

Paint
If you follow my blog, you know that I love soft neutral paint colors. Just one of the many reasons why they’re a favorite of mine is because they reflect light. Use an eggshell or satin sheen {never ever flat} & you won’t believe the difference it makes – immediately!

Add or Replace Light Fixtures
Not all light fixtures are created equal. Take into consideration how shades, glass covers & pendants shield the light when purchasing. Some offer exponentially more than others.

7 Ways to Add Light to Your Home

Example: This walk-in closet originally had just one 60 watt bulb. I added a chandelier that really brightened up a small, dark space!

Replace Light Bulbs
Are you using the maximum wattage? Are you using soft or bright white? All of these factors could add up to additional light. In each home we’ve purchased, I’ve gone though the house to make all of the lightbulbs cohesive. I cringe at yellow lights!

Clean
The few lights we didn’t replace in our last house were removed & cleaned. It’s unbelievable how much years of dust can reduce the amount of light that filters through.

Replace your Front Door
We replaced an etched glass & wood front door with a traditional 9 light front door. While the wood to glass ratio was higher, it allowed significantly more light, filtering to the foyer, dining room, living room & hearth room. It may have been the best $1,000 we spent at that house!

7 Ways to Add Light to Your Home

7 Ways to Add Light to Your Home

It’s amazing how much light we have added in the last week. I can see clearly now, the dark is gone! Want to see more of our home, come on in for a tour! See the neutral paint palette here.

7 easy ways to add light to your home

Do you have any additional tips to offer?

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51 comments on “7 Ways to Add Light to a Room”

  1. Great post! When we first moved into our apartment my husband said, “It’s so dark in here!” So I just added lighting, lighting everywhere. These tips are more practical and I love how you showed pictures so we could see the big difference it made!
    Also I love your front door and the idea of a chandelier in a closet never occurred to me but it seems like it would feel luxurious!

  2. These are fantastic tips, Julie! I’ve bookmarked this post to use a reference tool as my husband and I continue updating our Overland Park home. Thank you!

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  4. we live in an old farmhouse built in the 70s by my inlaws when my hubby was only a year old. He’s 39 now. It’s horrible. Think: dark paneled walls, green shag carpet, dark kitchen cabinets, dark rim around every dark door. Horrible. We are slowly starting to modern-ize things. I love this post!

    • Ah, but a farmhouse is bound to have beautiful bones, right? I’d love to see the progress! I still have nightmares about the shag green carpet we had when I was 4.

  5. Love all of these tips!! Our apartment doesn’t have many windows, but some of these are definitely doable for us. I also cringe at yellow lights…ew! 🙂

  6. Great post, Julie! Just wondering where your purchased the natural-looking rug in your entryway? Love it!

  7. Julie,

    We removed the screens in our bedroom windows, and it makes such a huge difference. Great tip, that I completely forgot about 🙂

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  10. This is good timing for me with fall quickly approaching. My top level is DARK and I was toying with the idea of putting up a chandelier in my walk in closet (converted small bedroom). I think I will do it – I need light! These were good tips. Pinning and FBing!

  11. Our small house was cave-like when we bought it 12 years ago. I think we have applied every trick you mentioned above (gradually, as we could afford it–still more to do!) and my home is lighter, more airy, and feels bigger. The most amazing difference is the cheapest–I always put screens in for the summer but removing them in the fall lets us enjoy the limited natural light we get in the winter–I was pretty shocked at the difference it made the first time I tried it. I would also add that, if it fits with your decor, a lighter shade of flooring will really brighten up a space as well. I love your helpful hints. 🙂

  12. What’s the paint color you have in you beautiful home?

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  16. Good tips but I have another one. Mirrors! Mirrors are a great way to reflect light and illuminate a space. By adding mirrors on walls perpendicular to a window , your light increases dramatically in a space . You can use medium or large mirror , or even create a vignette or a wall display using several small mirrors . It reflects natural light during the day and sparkly artificial light at night .

  17. I love much lights in my rooms.

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  19. Great tips! I’ve been looking for chandeliers to add to the guest bedrooms in our house, because they each only have 1 or 2 windows.

    Alyssa
    http://www.feathersandstripes.com

  20. Hi! This is a great post! We’re about to move into our first home and I just can’t love it because it just feels so dark… We’re even thinking about adding an additional window to our livingroom.. Which light bulbs do you use in your livingroom/dining room to brighten up the space?! Thank you

    • Try these tricks and add a mirror before you go to that expense! It really depends on the fixtures – maximum wattage in soft bulbs with the exception of my chandelier lamp. Congratulations on your new home!

  21. Hi Julie! Just love your house! I’ve been pinning things like crazy, and I might have to make a board that is all you!
    One question about your kitchen – were the cabinets always white or did you paint them? They look excellent! We have the same exact cabinets, except in oak, and I’d like my kitchen to be white too.
    Btw – my daughters name is Isla too! Isla May! Love Isla June, very cute!

  22. Hi Julie. I love your kitchen! I’m actually in the process of decorating mind and would like to know what color white you used on painting the cabinets.
    Lynn

  23. Whoops! I forgot to ask you if it’s a mat, semi gloss, satin, or gloss? I took a look at your color palette. Did you use Zurich White by Sherwin-Williams on kitchen cabinets? If so, the swatch on your page looks different from your white cabinets?
    I’m looking for white with no tinting of any other color.
    I don’t know what to pick up for the paint.
    Lynn

  24. Thank you! So is it a pure white?

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  27. I like the idea of removing the screens. In the pacific northwest, even in summer we can have dark and dreary days, but the screens must stay on. Is it possible or practical to paint the screens white? Maybe just the inside?

  28. Such useful tips! It is amazing how all homes, especially ones who have been rentals, have the lowest wattage bulbs! Saying that, we cringed at the stark white energy saving bulbs used everywhere. Replacing that with “warm white” bulbs (except in the kitchen) has created such a cosy atmosphere.

  29. Julie, I agree with your tip about making sure that all the lights in the home are uniform. I think it would also be a great idea to use opaque covers that allow the light to be dispersed, and give a softer feel. I will have to see about updating some of my lighting ideas, and make our home a little more cozy.

  30. Great tips! We bought a dark and dreary 70’s house and have been slowly doing my best to bring more light in. Aside from getting rid of all the super dark trim and shag carpets, putting mirrors up everywhere and painting my kitchen white…I’ve been replacing all our bulbs with the daylight bulbs. We used to have the soft white but they just didn’t have enough oomph and still looked like fake light (which I hate). Now that I have the daylight bulbs (with something like 1600 lumens), it feels like natural light everywhere! Even in my bathrooms that have no windows.

    • Great idea, Christina! I tried that in our kitchen a couple years ago and couldn’t get my eyes to adjust to them, but I do love how bright they are!

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