A bright and cheery home can buoy spirits, make you more productive and even improve your health. We want our spaces to be cozy and inviting, not dark and drab. Follow these 6 steps to brighten up a dark room or dim apartment.

1. Up the Wattage of Light Bulbs

Check to see if your overhead lighting and lamps are giving off enough light. Use the maximum wattage allowed in each. To save on the power bill, switch to LED bulbs, which produce the same light output at a lower wattage. They cost more upfront, but will save money over time and last a lot longer than incandescent bulbs.
Use the right light color for each living space: kitchens and bathrooms need bright white (between the white and blue ranges); bedrooms and living rooms need soft white (yellowish range); and daylight (blue range) is perfect near reading chairs.

2. Decorate with light colors

Painting dark walls and trim bright, light colors like white, tan, or griege will have the most impact, but if your apartment community doesn’t allow painting decorate with these colors instead. Choose fabrics and decor that is light in color with delicate patterns. You don’t have to go all white, but select more pale, washed-out colors.

3. Don’t block out windows

Use adjustable shades and curtains in light colors and airy fabrics. Heavy valances and thick curtains reduce the natural light in a room and make it feel more enclosed. By keeping window treatments minimal you will immediately improve the natural light in your room, opening up your space to the outdoors.

Hot tip: Honeycomb shades in a light color let in light but offer privacy.

4. Swap out dark, bulky furniture

Bring in furniture that is white or in a lighter shade wood. Try more delicate pieces with clean lines. Acrylic is a great option for this and really trendy right now. Furniture with high shine surfaces (lacquer, gilt, chrome, brass) will also help reflect light.

Hot Tip: If you love the way your sofa feels, buy or order a slipcover in a light fabric. The bonus is it’s washable!

5. Use mirrors in strategic spots

Place a mirror across from windows or lighting, where it will help bounce light around the room. Mirrors look great above mantles and sofas, in entryways, and hung strategically on gallery walls. Mirrors not only help brighten a room, they also make it appear bigger, which can be a big plus in a studio or small apartment.

6. Adopt a minimalist approach to decorating

Reducing clutter and streamlining your space will help it appear bigger and more open, which improves the feeling of brightness. Try decluttering and reorganizing your home to clear surfaces and tidy problem areas. Not only will your room feel brighter, but you will also feel less stress from a messy, cluttered home.

We all want a bright and cheery home, and it’s doubly important during winter’s shorter days, to avoid the winter blues. Adopt one – or all – of these 6 steps to brighten your apartment in no time!

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