How marvelous do these spaces look in magazines or online when they are flooded with natural light? They look bigger, they feel much more open, and they always look so comfortable. Of course not all of us are lucky enough to have a space with a enough natural light. In fact a lot of homes aren’t lucky enough to have much natural light at all.
Consider the kind of paint finish you have on your vertical (walls) and horizontal (furniture) surfaces. Shinier surfaces help reflect the light within the space, and it makes it feel bigger. Paint with a matt finish doesn’t allow the light to bounce off effectively. However if you go with a paint finish like a satin or a semi gloss, you will get more light reflection. Only go for a gloss wall finish in rooms like the kitchen or bathroom, otherwise the furniture is a great place to do this.
There are 2 schools of thought on this. Some believe that the best way to handle a room without a lot of light is to go with white walls to counter balance the problem. Others believe that you should instead go with a rich color that will embrace the problem.
If you go with a white paint, you’re creating the illusion of the space appearing to be larger than it is. So when you introduce your own light sources, it shouldn’t feel so small. This is true with a white, an off white, or a shade of grey.
If you want to embrace the lack of natural light, go with a deep rich color. Doing this gives you the feeling of having a cozy little space that you can love. Why force something when you can truly make the best of it. Plus, your room now makes a bold statement, and who doesn’t want that?
It is absolutely vital that you do still have plants in your space. I know it seems to be difficult to have plants when you don’t have enough natural light, but it’s important. You want to be sure you have elements of nature in your home to make you feel connected to the outdoors. Before getting yourself any new plants, be sure they are the type that thrive off of minimal natural light and do well in the shade. Also, decide whether or not you need fake or real plants for your homes decor.
When you don’t have a lot of windows, you really want to think about your window treatments. Go with a lighter weight fabric to allow as much light to come through as possible. Also, getting something that is soft makes the windows feel much brighter overall.
You want to try to soften up your flooring as much as possible. This should be done with an area rug. Clearly I don’t recommend you go and get yourself a bright white rug, but I do think you should stay away from anything too dark. You want to keep the floor from feeling like it’s weighing the space down. A popular rug type right now are the cream-colored shag rugs that give the room some texture, but also lighten up the space. If you have tile or wood, lighter is still key here. Imagine how much larger a space feels when the dark wood floors are painted white. Painting wood floors may seem nuts so some, but it’s actually a very popular things to do. If you’re still not sure it’s something you want to do, read up on painting wood floors and decide.
Introducing enough light is key to the space. If you are able to, add recessed lighting to your ceiling as this is the best way to add an even amount of light to your room. If this isn’t an option, try bringing in floor and table lamps. Spread them around the room and it wont give you any dark spots in the space.
Written by Rhiannon Gillis. Rhiannon is a Los Angeles interior decorator and stylist. She primarily writes for the content on Rhiannon’s Interiors.