There’s two ways you can go with a room that doesn’t get much light. You can either embrace the darkness and concentrate on making it warm and welcoming. Or you can do all you can to make it lighter and brighter. There are the drastic solutions of course, for those who are cash rich. You can install french windows, add roof lights, knock through to lighter rooms, or put in sun pipes. But if you don’t want the expense and upheaval of structural changes, or you live in rented accommodation, there are still things you can do.
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Lighter Paint Colours
By lighter I don’t necessarily mean white. Pure white can be quite cold and dreary in north facing rooms so it’s always better to go for a warm white with yellow undertones. There are thousands of different shades of white and finding the right one is not always easy. My advice is to invest in around six tester pots and paint six pieces of card, not the wall. That way you can move the cards around the room at different times of the day. They will change colour according to the reflections from your other furnishings too so there’s no short cut to doing this.
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The floor takes up a very large surface area in any room and the darker it is, the more it will absorb the light. Making the floor a lighter colour will therefore have an enormous impact. Painting the floorboards is the quickest and most cost effective way of achieving this, but you could achieve the same effect with a lighter carpet or a large creamy rug.
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Open the Windows
I don’t mean literally. Although you could do that too. I mean, don’t obstruct the windows in any way. If privacy is not a problem just leave them completely unadorned or install roller blinds that become practically invisible when rolled all the way up (see above). Window film is also a good idea if you don’t have a view, or the neighbours are nosy as it doesn’t obstruct the light at all. Failing that, make sure the curtain poles extend past the window edge so that curtains can be pulled back and don’t cover any of the glass. The same goes for any furniture in the room too. Keep large items (particularly wardrobes) away from the window if you can.
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Mirrors are great decorating tools in all sorts of situations. They can be highly decorative, have a practical use, and in dark rooms they have the added bonus of throwing all the available light around. Hang one opposite, or on the adjacent wall to the window and you will double the amount of light.
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Wallpapers with a reflective element will work the same way as mirrors. Any light coming into the room will be reflected straight back and immediately give the impression of more light.