The dark days of winter can make homes feel gloomy and dull, but it doesn’t have to be this way. By making a few relatively simple changes to your home, you can invite a little spring inside a few months early.
You won’t need to splash out on expensive lighting systems or interior designers — as these 10 tips will brighten up the dullest of homes this winter.
1. Hang lots of mirrors
During the few hours of sunshine you get this winter, it’s important to make the most of the extra light. Hang as many mirrors in main living spaces as you can, which will catch light and reflect it back into the room. Make sure you hang your largest mirror directly opposite the largest window in the space, and add to the effect with a series of smaller mirrors positioned strategically around the room.
2. Don’t forget the gardening
There’s a good chance that you’ve already written off your garden until the spring. However, if you have trees and shrubs blocking the sun, your home could be needlessly deprived natural sunlight. Take the time to prune hedges and trim bushes and trees, and remove anything else outside that could interrupt the flow of sunshine into your property.
3. Use matt paint
The first few days after the New Year celebrations is a great time to give your home a lick of paint. Of course, you’ll want to use light shades in order to brighten up your home, but don’t make the mistake of using gloss paint. Yes, gloss can reflect light brilliantly, but it creates harsh glare. Matt paint, however, succeeds in reflecting light evenly and naturally around a room.
4. Keep windows clean
The winter can cause havoc on windows, so it’s important to keep your window cleaner coming regularly. However, it’s also important to clean the insides of your windows too. Use a solution of water and white vinegar, and apply it with paper towels. This method delivers great results and doesn’t leave annoying streaks behind. Alternatively, a handheld steam cleaner delivers similar results.
5. Consider freshening up your artwork
You may love your artwork, but it could be making your home look and feel darker than it needs to. There’s nothing wrong with temporarily replacing dark artworks with brighter pieces — at least until the spring arrives. Dark art will absorb precious light, and this could drastically change the ambience in your home.
6. Keep it white
If you have the time and money, it could be a good idea to paint the main reception rooms in your home a shade of white. If this seems a little drastic, try to stick to light, natural shades — such as magnolia and cream. Don’t get too clever with additional colours, as sticking with a single, lighter shade throughout a room can create the illusion of more light.
7. Ditch the drapes
While it might seem counterintuitive to remove large and heavy drapes and curtains during winter, you can really open up your home to natural light by doing so. Lighter shades and thinner materials will ensure that you harness all of the available natural light during the winter months.
8. Rise and shine
Shiny surfaces tend to reflect light well, so make the best possible use of them during the winter. Follow the flow of natural light in each room, and position furniture in a way that captures the sunshine best. Mirrored tables, metal furniture, plastics and translucent items all reflect light brilliantly — as long as they’re in the right place.
9. Clean regularly
The darker days of winter tend to be relatively kind in terms of hiding dirt and dust. However, large accumulations can make a room look darker than it actually is. Keep on top of scuffs, stains, dirt and dust — particularly on areas that are in the path of direct sunlight.
You don’t need to live in darkness this winter — as long as your home is geared towards harnessing as much natural light as possible.