If there is one thing that can make the largest difference in your home, it is the lighting. Lighting might seem like a small thing. It’s not a cozy couch to spend winter evenings on, or a large dining table to share conversations and meals around. But lighting sets the ambiance and mood for everything we do in our homes. It can turn a dark and dreary room bright and cheerful, and a lack of it can drain the energy from a room as well as its inhabitants.

Color Matters

A light and neutral wall color, such as whites and creams, can help bounce light around the room making it feel brighter. A dark wall color, on the other hand, can make trap the light and make it feel darker.

A brighter room is not the only benefit to a light wall color, neutrals can also help to make a room feel bigger. Light paint colors do not have to equal bland either, you can add a splash of color with a light grey such as Benjamin Moore’s Cement Gray or a sunny yellow like Behr’s Pale Daffodil.

So Does Furniture Placement

If you don’t want to take the time to repaint your entire house, you can rearrange your furniture in a way that will allow the light to make the greatest impact. Place your bookshelves, for example, on a wall that is perpendicular to your windows instead of parallel. Placing them parallel to your windows will obstruct the light that the window brings in.

Your Lighting Sources Can Help You Set the Mood

There are three kinds of lighting that you need to consider placing in each room. The general lighting, also known as your overhead lighting, provides the basic lighting for each room. You can keep it simple or make it a focal point with a chandelier or pendant light fixture.

On top of general lighting task specific lighting, such as a desk lamp, can help you get work done. And then things like dimmers and sconces can help set the mood and give the room a touch of ambiance. With these three options at your disposal, you can use each room in any way you choose, from a productive workday to a romantic evening at home.

Don’t Be A Vampire – Reflection Matters

If you want a room to look brighter choose accessories that will help the light to bounce around when it hits the object. Placing mirrors on the walls will help a room to appear brighter, but you don’t have to stop there. Look to your floors and ceilings to maximize the reflection of light throughout your home as well.

What do the floor and ceiling have to do with lighting you might ask. Well again, it’s all about reflection. Painting your ceiling with a high gloss paint will allow the light to bounce off of it, adding more light to the room. At the same time a light-colored flooring, whether wood, tile, or carpet, will help your room to appear brighter.

Look Outside Too

The outside of your home can have a major impact on the lighting inside. We’re talking about landscaping here, and you don’t need to forget about it.  Trees and shrubs that are not pruned can block the light coming into your windows, making the rooms inside seem darker than they would be otherwise.

Keep these items trimmed throughout the year, and if you are planning a landscaping project make sure to plant items around your windows and doors that will not create enough shade to block the light. Try flowers and herbs under windows, and keep your trees and shrubs to a different part of your yard.

When In Doubt Call in the Professionals

The last house I moved into did not have any light fixtures in the front section of the house. I mean none at all. There was not an overhead light in the living room or the two bedrooms. The light switches in these rooms attached to outlets which would turn on lamps if they were plugged in.  No matter what we did, the rooms stayed dark and uninviting. Even the large window in our living room didn’t help.

This kind of situation isn’t uncommon, especially in older homes, but it’s also a big project to undertake. Instead of trying to do it ourselves we called a handyman to repair our electrical work.

He came out and rewired the switches to go to lights that he professionally put into each room. Our house became a lot more inviting, and I didn’t have to worry about it catching fire because my husband left some wiring open.

We want our homes to be a comfortable place for us to spend our time in. One that is energizing during the day, and cozy at night. Lighting is a versatile home design that helps us to change the mood in a room to fit our needs. So keep these tips in mind, whether you just need to fix the lighting in one room of your home, or your entire house needs a makeover.