Lighten Up: How to Make Your Home Feel Light, Airy and Spacious

Does your house feel like its dark and dreary, even on a bright, sunny day? Does your house look smaller than the square footage and layout say it should? Here are five ways to make your home feel lighter, airier and more spacious:
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Change Your Palette
For the biggest bang for your buck, changing your home's palette is the way to go. There's no doubt that dark walls seem to close in on you and make your home look smaller than it is. You don't have to use white paint to make your rooms look bigger and brighter; you just need lighter colors. Try washes of your favorite hues, which are colors mixed with white to give them a paler tone. There are countless shades of white too. Off white, eggshell or linen can open up a space tremendously without looking sterile.
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Don't forget about your floors. While dark floors can look heavy, especially with textured carpeting, smooth, ebony wood floors can make white walls pop and still lend a spacious feel to your home. The trick is to keep surfaces smooth and seamless, using the same flooring material from one room to the next and minimizing rugs. If you feel like your wood flooring is dragging your house down, you can always paint it.
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Get Rid of Clutter and Crowding
There's nothing like a ton of clutter to make a room look crowded. Too much furniture, furniture that is too big for a room, or furniture that is spaced too closely together will also make a room look small. Go through your home with a critical eye, and remove anything that doesn't need to be there. If you have a lot of collectibles, consider storing some and rotating your collection like a gallery.
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Move your furniture around to create easy pathways for foot traffic, and make sure it's not blocking your windows. If you need to remove some pieces, try them in other rooms--it's like shopping in your own home!
Remember those palette tips above? Those apply to your furniture too. Sofas are usually the worst offenders, because they're the biggest pieces of furniture. You don't have to reupholster your furniture; slipcovers today have come a long way. You can find fitted slipcovers for virtually any shape and size sofa, love seat or armchair. Go with light colors in fabrics you can wash or at least spot clean easily.
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Open Up Ceilings
There are two ways to open up your ceilings: physically and visually. If you have hung ceilings, think about removing ceiling tiles and opening up the space to the rafters (picture how much bigger rooms with cathedral ceilings look). You could also consider adding skylights, which brighten any room in the home.
If you can't change the structure of your ceilings, at least make sure they're painted a light color. Make ugly ceilings unobtrusive by blending them with the wall color. You could also try trompe l'oeil, a "trick of the eye," such as a ceiling painted with blue sky and white fluffy clouds.
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Draw the Eye Upward
If you're not trying to disguise unattractive ceilings, drawing the eye upward will add spaciousness to your surroundings. Crown moldings and ceiling details, like rosettes or decorative plaster, pull attention higher in the room and give the illusion of taller ceilings.
Also, any vertical elements in a room will do the same thing. You can add subtle stripes to a wall, hang floor-to-ceiling sheer curtains or use artwork hung in a vertical orientation to emphasize the height of your room
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Let the Sun Shine In
If you're using full-length window treatments, make sure they're not too heavy. Light and gauzy fabrics will make your rooms feel more open, so get rid of those dark, heavy drapes. Many new windows now have built-in shades, which may be an option for you to let the sun in. If you want light and privacy at the same time, think about frosted or stained glass. Another beautiful way to have screened sunlight in your home is with the use of shutters. According to professionals who offer plantation shutters in Las Vegas, these are a great option because you can adjust the louvers so people cannot see into your home, but you get more light than with curtains.
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Making your home look and feel lighter, brighter, and more spacious doesn't have to cost a ton. Go through your home with a notebook in hand, and jot down ideas for where you could lighten and brighten, then tackle one room at a time. Once you see how nice one room looks, you'll want to do your entire home.

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1 comment
  • Hannah V
    Hannah V
    on Apr 9, 2015

    great tips! I've been struggling with getting my apartment to feel lighter, since it's in an old converted brownstone with a long, galley setup. The only windows are in the bedrooms, so switching to lighter colors and fabrics should certainly help.

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