Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A Bright Optical Illusion

Today is a dark and dreary day full of pouring rain and our apartment is as dark as it typically is at 8pm. Combine those two facts and it's looking like a depressing day...which got me thinking, "When your home is dark and dreary with misplaced windows, how do you increase the brightness factor?" Since we live in an apartment, installing windows, skylights, or other obvious fixes are out of the question. Luckily, there are many optical illusions you can use to increase the lightness of your house.

BEFORE: Spotted on AmazingHomeMakeovers
AFTER: Spotted on AmazingHomeMakeovers

Paint is the most impactful way you can lighten up a room.  Dark or flat paint absorbs the light and does nothing to reflect and bounce it around - instead it makes it feel like a dark cave.  White is the obvious choice when choosing what paint to increase brightness, but other pale shades can work just as well.  Pale beiges, buttery yellows, or creams in gloss will do wonders to your room.  Don't forget your ceilings and trim - paint them a crisp, bright white!

The easiest solution to the darkness problem is a mirror; strategically placed, a mirror will reflect whatever light is already received into the home by multiplying it and bouncing it around.  A large mirror hung opposite a window will distribute light nicely and also make your room appear more spacious.  If lacking a large mirror, several smaller mirrors grouped together will also do the trick - you could even hang four square mirrors to create the illusion of a window.

pic name
AFTER:   Spotted on HookedonHouses

pic name
BEFORE:   Spotted on HookedonHouses

In addition to lightening up the walls, furniture should also be considered. Dark browns and other colors will suck the light right out of your room (and my mood).  Think about light-colored slipcovers, white linens in a bedroom, white or light-colored drapes on the windows, and a light-colored rug to cover up darker wood or carpeted floors.  Lamps covered with white shades will also help.

Spotted on TThe Design File

When thinking of your windows, hang your curtains above where the window starts and extended over part of the wall on either side of the window.  In doing so, the curtains will reveal the entire window (or most of it) without blocking any essential light coming also creates the illusion that the window is larger than it actually is.

Spotted on HookedonHouses

spotted at YoungHouseLove

Having additional light and white objects around the room will also help lighten it up - think light-colored throw pillows, white vases, light-colored flower pots, and white picture frames (with colorful and bright pictures).  Light reflects, bounces, and will work it's way into dark corners if allowed (just picture how the moon reflects off snow to create a bright, snowy night). 

Now, if you'll excuse me, I must turn on a lamp and ponder what light color to paint my big, black, light sucking TV console.


Rebbie said...

Sorry today is dark and stormy there. I'd love a day like that, but we don't get those very often here. I just love that picture of the blue bedroom.

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