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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.

Winter Entry Way inspiration - embracing white, simple and clean home decor.

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.

Before Living Room

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)

Relaxed Summer Bedroom Decor by TIDBITS

#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.

Simple and fuss free Summer living - Summer home tour with TIDBITS.
Simple and fuss free Summer living - Summer home tour with TIDBITS.

Cool colors like blues, greens, grays and purples will help your spaces feel light and serene, like the ocean.

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Subtle touches of Spring decor in the bedroom and entry way. TIDBITS Spring home tour.
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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.

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Fall is full of cottage charm in this light and bright, yet cozy living room by TIDBITS.
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#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)

Deck makeover before and after.

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.

Cottage Kitchen before and after makeover tour.
Coming home to homemade bread + my favorite 100% Whole Wheat Bread Recipe

#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.

Soak in beauty of the harvest in this Fall time cottage kitchen by TIDBITS.
A relaxing and inviting Summer Home Tour | By TIDBITS

Or just enough blue undertones in white paint to add a subtle contrast.

Bathroom Refresh + My Bathroom Cleaning Essentials

White fabric on creamy furnishings.

Relaxed Summer Bedroom Decor by TIDBITS

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.”

Relaxed Summer Bedroom Decor by TIDBITS
Relaxed Summer Bedroom Decor by TIDBITS

#5: Slipcovers

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.

Subtle touches of Spring decor in the bedroom and entry way. TIDBITS Spring home tour.
Spring home tour by TIDBITS, and 15 ways to delight your family with the coming of Spring.

#6: Natural Light

In a perfect world, every room in every home would have a window.  Am I right?

Relaxed Summer Bedroom Decor by TIDBITS

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.

French Cottage Bathroom Reveal by TIDBITS

#7: Mirrors

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.

Spring home tour by TIDBITS, and 15 ways to delight your family with the coming of Spring.

#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.

Spring home tour by TIDBITS, and 15 ways to delight your family with the coming of Spring.

Contrast the above view, compared to the following view.

A relaxing and inviting Summer Home Tour | By TIDBITS

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.

Spring home tour by TIDBITS, and 15 ways to delight your family with the coming of Spring.

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.

Painted Brass with Patina Technique | Thrift Store Shelf for Bathroom

#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.

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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.

Light and Bright Spaces

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!

Thanks for reading!
10 Key Elements for a light and bright home.

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  1. Love this article…Im swooning over your home!!

    I have to ask where is your crochet bag with leather accents that you have hanging in your photo come from?

  2. Just another comment. I agree with Teresa above, sometimes it’s hard to know where to start.
    Maybe another blog post???? on how to plan and proceed


  3. A great article, and i love your home. Certainly light and airy. I’m a blue gal and have several shades of blue in my home, but love all homes that are light and airy. Yours is my inspiration to try and work it with my blues.


  4. Your home always inspires me. It just feels lifted. We have a lodge style home in the back woods, and I struggle with decorating it. I do love your home and this style but our home just naturally looks more like a Cabela’s store. I am going to begin decorating our master bedroom – but like so many people – I am stuck on “where to start”.

    1. Log style homes can be so pretty, but I’m with you, I would struggle with trying to decorate it. I think the Master Bedroom is a great place to start. My biggest mistake in our house was tackling the largest and most expensive rooms first. As I made my way through the house and refined my style, it ended up that it evolved and those bigger rooms have now needed constant updating. But to refine your style and look you are going for in smaller rooms is what I wish I would have done. I would start with wall color and bedding in a bedroom. The rest can be thrifted, re-purposed, etc until you love it. I hope you find a way to get it to where you hope! All my best!

  5. Great tips! I love how you’ve used both painted and dark, natural wood shelves in your kitchen. Perfect way to please your husband! Curious as to where you found the throw with the stripes that’s on your sofa. Love it!

    1. Thank you Cyndie! I try to make him happy if I can 😉 . I got the throw from Birch Lane. I have a shop my home link in my menu, that will direct you right to it. Thanks!