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Interior Furnishing Ideas to Brighten Up Your Living Space

A darkened room is perfect for bedtime, but not so much for daytime. Here are some interior furnishing ideas to help you let the light in.

interior furnishing ideas

(Photo: hikesterson / iStock / Thinkstock)

When you walk into a room in your house, do you feel welcomed by its light, cheery atmosphere? Or do you notice a dark, gloomy air that doesn’t seem to go away, even when you turn on the lights? Hopefully, the latter isn’t the case, but if you find that you or your guests are feeling a bit less at home due to a room’s ambiance, you may need some new interior furnishing ideas to help you redecorate.

The first step is to determine the cause of the room’s gloominess. It could be that there isn’t enough natural daylight, or that there are too many heavy pieces of furniture or accessories weighing down its design. It may even be the size of the room; small spaces can feel darker than they actually are.

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Your initial thought may be to make some drastic changes to your home – a full remodel. But before you start researching feng shui, consider these easier interior furnishing ideas instead.

1. Switch up your window treatments

In the warmer months, heavy drapes and curtains can help you save money on your energy bill. They block sunlight, which keeps the room cool and the need for air conditioning down. In the colder months, they can do well to keep out the cold air, thus keeping your heating bill down – but they still block sunlight.

Natural daylight can transform a room from drab to lively. To make a space more inviting, but still protect from cold air seeping in, opt for window treatments made from medium-weight fabrics such as canvas or cotton.

Dress up your living room windows with Roman shades or sheer cotton curtains, which provide some protection while still letting the sun’s rays warm the room (literally and figuratively).

2. Add reflective surfaces

You’ve got sunlight back. Now what?

Placing a mirror directly across from the largest window allows sunlight to bounce off of its surface and illuminate the room. Mirrors tend to make a space feel larger and brighter anyway, but this strategic placement allows for the most light to fill a space.

If a mirror doesn’t tickle your fancy, try a glass-topped coffee or end table. Then, for extra shine, place metallic accessories on its surface.

interior furnishing ideas

3. Light the way

Now that you’ve tackled natural light, what about artificial?

After the sun sets, it’s a no-brainer – flip the switch and let there be light. But the wrong light fixtures, or right ones with the wrong placement, can actually make the room fare worse in terms of lighting.

Mirrors reflect natural light. Aim a lamp upwards or towards a wall, and walls and ceilings will reflect the artificial light just the same. If you can, aim a bedside table or desk lamp at the ceiling or a nearby wall. Or try a torchiere floor lamp, which directs light upwards. Your bedroom or office will feel bigger and brighter.

If you have a darker ceiling, say, in your kitchen, recessed ceiling lights might help the room feel less like a cave and more like a charming country abode. Install a dimmer switch and you’ll be able to adjust brightness to your needs.

If your kitchen has a lighter ceiling, but some areas still seem darker than others, try pendant lighting, which can give your kitchen a bit more personality as well as brighten up a dark corner.

4. Choose pieces that contrast with one another

Despite how it may seem, having dark pieces of furniture and darker colored walls is A-OK. You don’t have to give up that dark wood dining table you love or paint over that burgundy wall in your entryway.

The trick to brightening up a room with darker-colored accents and furnishings is to contrast them with lighter-colored accents and furnishings.

That burgundy wall making it feel like the entryway to a vampire’s lair rather than a friendly home? Contrast it with a tan armchair or white end table.

That dark wood table making your dining room seem dreary? Contrast it with chairs covered in a light, neutral fabric or place a light area rug underneath it. Another helpful trick: If you can, place the table closer to a window to let the sunlight illuminate an otherwise dark focal point.

5. Other interior furnishing ideas

    • Place houseplants strategically throughout the room. Small, low-maintenance plants – such as succulents – add brightness to a room without weighing it down. Plus, some houseplants can improve air quality.
    • Move your bookshelf or partition to a wall that isn’t parallel to a window so it doesn’t obstruct light.
    • Swap a solid interior door for a glass door. A pair of French doors, for example, can make an office, bedroom or living room feel more open and bright.

Have you got any other interior furnishing ideas to brighten up a room? Tell us in the comments below!

Before you take these ideas further and make drastic changes, protect your home with AAA homeowners insurance

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