Do your eyes gravitate to white spaces? Do you long for a brighter home? Consider these 10 elements of a light and bright space to see how I create this effect in our surroundings.
Using all my fingers and toes, I still couldn’t count up all the times I’ve been asked a variation of this question.
“How do you create such a light and bright home?”
To be honest, I didn’t do it intentionally. I did it instinctively.
But as I’ve tried to help readers and friends find a way to brighten up their homes, I’ve discovered 10 key elements that I seem to recommend time and time again. Elements that I’ve successfully used in my own home to make it feel light and bright.
I hope these suggestions will aid you in creating your own serene and uplifting surroundings.
#1: Light Walls and Ceilings
This isn’t too obvious, is it?
I’m not saying every wall has to be white (though that is perfectly fine in my book), but the color of our walls is pretty foundational to setting the correct tone to our space. Just like dark walls create a moody atmosphere, light colored walls and ceilings will give a bright and airy feel.
Contrast this “before” of our living room when we moved in, compared to what it feels like when we added whites and light blues to the walls and ceiling.
The upper part of our bedroom walls were a muddy gray, but we lightened and refreshed them up with a very subtle blue/gray. (Full house paint color post now available here, Light and Bright Cottage Paint Colors)
#2: Cool Colors
Please don’t mistake me for saying you have to have all white to have a light and bright space. I love to throw in pops of color, but when I do, they are often a cool color.
Cool colors like blues, greens, grays and purples will help your spaces feel light and serene, like the ocean.
I’ll even mix in cool colors in the Autumn time with some subtle warm cozy tones, which helps my general home style flow from season to season.
#3: White Washed Wood Tones
My husband is a die-hard lover of all things wood. But I’ve found the darker woods can start to feel too heavy in our home. To appease both of us, I’ll often add a white-wash or pickling stain to wood furnishings.
It allows us to have the coziness and natural beauty of wood grain while maintaining a lighter feel. (as seen in the table and deck banister below)
We just recently swapped out our old orange oak flooring for a white washed rustic timber flooring from Floor & Decor, and the difference it made is practically tangible.
#4: White on Whites
The next time someone tells you white is boring, try telling them how complex white can be. There are blue-whites and gray-whites and warm-whites and off-whites and just about every undertone under the sun in a white. And I love to play with this in my home.
Creamy white dishes against white walls.
Or just enough blue undertones in white paint to add a subtle contrast.
White fabric on creamy furnishings.
I’m pretty sure white will never go out of style. In fact, I’ve been known to say, “When in doubt. Paint it white.”
Yep. I happily choose creamy white slipcovers for my sofas and white duvet covers for my bedding, even with 4 kids. I won’t even pretend that they stay perfectly white at all times, so thank heavens they are washable.
Your furnishings can really make a statement, so if you want to shout it out to the world “light and bright”, then light furnishings is a great place to start. I particularly love the neutral backdrop when I’m ready to change color schemes in my home. All it takes is a few different throw pillows and blankets, and it feels new and fresh again.
#6: Natural Light
In a perfect world, every room in every home would have a window. Am I right?
No lightbulb could ever come close to feeling as good as sunlight streaming through a window. If you have a say, try to ensure the most lived in rooms have natural light. We even went as far as installing a small window in our small bathroom, above the shower walls. It went from cave-like, to fresh in one afternoon.
Mirrors come in handy to bounce light around a space, making the space feel larger and brighter and offer continuance of mind. I love to keep an eye out at thrift and antique shops for beautifully framed mirrors to add to rooms.
It is functional art at its best.
#8: Open Layout
When possible, try to arrange the layout of each room so that the eye and foot traffic can move through the center. We’ve played around with furniture layouts multiple times in our living room, and it always feels bigger and brighter when the center of the room is open.
Contrast the above view, compared to the following view.
Unless you are intentionally aiming for a cozy conversational section, re-think your room layout and see if you can’t open it up by re-arranging a few pieces.
#9: Open Shelving
This tends to be a controversial topic, but open shelving has many perks if you are wanting a lighter, brighter space.
Big bulky cupboards, even if painted white, can weigh a room down and take up more space. Think about swapping out a section or two for open shelving for displaying some of your favorite and most used dishes. It doesn’t get much better than finding function and beauty in your everyday items.
#10: Less is More
Boy, I’ve said this a time or two.
I’m convinced that the biggest hinderance to loving our spaces is clutter. If it helps, clear EVERYTHING out of a room and put back what is only necessary or beautiful. When in doubt, leave it out.
Don’t be afraid to seek out furnishings that are minimalistic in nature, and don’t feel like you have to fill up every wall with “something”.
Allowing dead space in your home actually helps it come alive, and can bring peace and contentment to your mind. Let the loved ones in your home be your favorite thing to look at.
I hope this article has been helpful for you and I’d love to hear if you have any other suggestions for achieving a light and bright space.
I would love to write more posts addressing your specific questions or concerns, so please don’t ever hesitate to reach out and ask!