How nice to wake up to sunlight pouring into the house on an early-summer morning, especially after a long winter. Winter days do have their own particular pleasures – frost-tinted gardens, crackling log fires - but do there have to be so many of them?!
As well as highlighting all the cobwebs and dusty surfaces that I’ve been not seeing (ie: ignoring) for months, the sunlight immediately makes me want to inject more brightness and lightness into the house so I can keep some of that summer feeling all year. Here are a few way to bring some extra light and cheeriness into a room without redecorating.
1. Swap Neutrals for Pastels
Spicy shades are great for making your bedroom feel welcoming in colder months, but once the sun comes out, replace them with pastel colours to make the room seem lighter and more vibrant. No need to paint walls, simply re-cover your headboard with summery fabric or swap plain duvet covers and throws for colourful ones. Tip: you can often buy headboards locally via Gumtree or Ebay for just a few pounds, so you can easily have a summer one and a winter one!
2. De-clutter windows
Heavy curtains, nets and windowsill ornaments tend to block out the light. Change the way you dress your windows to make a huge difference to a room - hang light-coloured curtains, replace nets with frosted window film, and temporarily clear windowsills of all ornaments; you can bring them out again in the autumn!
3. Sort out your shelves
While you’re in the mood for de-cluttering, have a go at your shelves No doubt over winter they’ll have magically attracted all kinds of detritus and now be looking a little messy. Take some time to tidy them and show off your best pieces.
4. Lighten up floorcoverings
If your flooring is on the dark side, a bright rug over the top can make a dramatic difference. A large, hard-wearing rug in vibrant colours would be a good investment, especially if it could be used in another room in the house the rest of the year.
5. Hang a mirror
Inject light into a dark corner in by hanging (or floor-standing) a mirror, preferably to reflect the view outside the window. As well as increasing overall light level in the room it’s nice to see a glimpse of garden or sky in a normally-dark corner.
6. Paint dark furniture
We don’t suggest painting your heirloom antique furniture, but dated or faded wood furniture past its best it can be given new life with the careful application of paint. Eggshell paint will give a classic finish, or you can go shabby chic, or even super-modern and industrial by using car paint or metallics. Pinterest is a great place for inspiration; have a look at “Ikea hacks” for some brilliant ideas if you’re a fan of Swedish flat-pack.
7. Swap plain for pattern
Plain fabrics and wallpaper can go a long way to making your living room feel brighter, but pattern is the way to go to inject interest as well in summer. No need to redecorate though or spend a fortune on curtains - new cushion covers, throws or even a striking picture will give the room a bright new look. Once again, why not rotate them into other rooms during the winter months so they still get used; you’ll still enjoy the change in summer when you bring them into the living room again.
8. Cut down on furniture
If a room is packed with furniture it will feel smaller and darker – nice and cosy in the winter, but cluttered in the summer. Can you move some of it to other rooms for the summer, or store it in the garage? Even moving it around can make the room brighter. If you’re looking to buy new furniture go for multi-purpose items that include as much storage as possible – coffee tables with drawers for books and magazines, stools with hidden storage, and flexible shelving units with doors and drawers to store (and hide) lots of different-sized items.
If you’ve done all that and are still craving more light I can only suggest…
9. Call in a window cleaner to get the windows sparkling
10. Pray for even more glorious sunshine to see you into the autumn!