If you’ve ever wondered why sunshine gives you a happy feeling inside, it’s not just because of the heat – light is nature’s serotonin.
Along with boosting your mood and contributing towards your health, bright days also help to regulate sleeping patterns. However, the winter months rob us of all the benefits that sunshine brings – and this can have a knock-on effect to our mental health. In fact, as many as one third of Britons suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a low mood condition which includes symptoms like fatigue and depression.
So, how do you combat SAD during the darkest days? A good start is to maximise the amount of sunlight in your space. For enlightening tips on how to brighten up a dark living room, read on.
The first and most obvious of our winter living room ideas is to use light colours. Whites, creams and light greys make rooms look bright and clean (because they reflect sunlight), so using them on your walls instantly brightens up living spaces.
The most effective way to use lighter hues is to paint your celling white. It reflects surrounding light and adds vital extra space to small areas.
And if you think that ‘just white’ is going to make your room look dull, don’t worry; the best thing about white foundations is that they’re a blank canvas for vibrant pops of colour elsewhere.
You might be surprised to learn that bright rooms don’t always demand lots of light colours. In fact, dark colours can behave like a warm hug on a winter’s day – but only when the right colour pairings are chosen, of course.
Like salt on caramel, there’s a layering effect to mixing up contrasting but complementary ‘flavours’. In terms of décor, a hint of darkness makes light colours seem even lighter.
An easy way to introduce this layered look into your home is with scatter cushions on a light-coloured sofa. Fabrics like Mandalay in Azure Blue or Hendon Plain in Charcoal are a fantastic example of ‘colour pop’ at play.
Mirrors, metallics and glossy surfaces all help bounce light around a space which, in turn, help to make your room seem more spacious. However, not all reflections are created equally.
For instance, a mirror reflects light in its truest form (a ‘specular reflection’), while white walls create a soft glow known as a ‘diffuse reflection’. For this reason, light matte surfaces are often a great way to subtly brighten up a room – and give it that welcoming cosy look.
Just remember, as with contrasting colours, reflections should be used sparingly and thoughtfully. Too many reflecting surfaces, particularly mirrors, could create unsightly glare, so think about how you’re going to highlight the most intriguing areas in your home before you commit to a mirror multi-buy.
Overloaded shelves and unnecessary armchairs might create a ‘lived-in’ look, but they have a habit of breaking the flow of natural light in indoor spaces.
Although you’ll want a few items for contrast, you’ll want to stick to a minimalist theme if your aim is to keep your living room light and airy. The simplest way to do this is to get rid of anything that you don’t need and keep unnecessary decoration down to a minimum.
On top of decluttering, also think about cleaning your windows, mopping down hardwood floors and polishing your room’s surfaces to really get them gleaming. That’s right, even winter is a great time for some thorough spring cleaning!
Lightening your living room is easy when you have the right fabrics for the job. Browse our huge range of reupholstery fabrics, sofa covers and scatter cushions to beautify and brighten your home in an instant.
Sophie is a great granddaughter of the founders of the business - so fabrics and furniture are almost part of her DNA! Her interests include home interiors and upcycling, and her favourite show to watch after work is The Repair Shop. Some of the topics she covers on the Plumbs blog include sofa reupholstery and furniture protection.