Clean the Windows
This may seem like an obvious solution, but it's one that's often overlooked: Cleaning the windows can make a noticeable improvement in the brightness of a room. To get your windows sparkling, you can make a simple cleaner by mixing one part white vinegar with two parts water in a spray bottle.
Use Mirrors Strategically
Position mirrors opposite windows to reflect more light around the house. If your walls are spacious, you can add an eclectic touch by assembling a gallery wall using mirrors of various sizes. Another smart trick: Place a mirror strategically at the end of a cramped hallway to make the corridor seem more spacious.
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Streamline Your Shelves
It may be tempting to pack your built-ins full of books and decorative objects, but be sure to leave a little empty space on the shelves. Too much clutter on display makes it look like your home is starved for storage space.
Related: 10 Novel DIYs for a Better Bookshelf
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Cut Back on Clutter
The fewer objects in a room, the airier it will feel. In smaller rooms, scale back on bulky decor, tchotchkes, and other unnecessary items. Either get rid of them or move them to larger rooms with more natural light.
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Hang Sheer Window Treatments
Cut Back Foliage
Look out your windows. If there are low-hanging tree branches or overgrown hedges preventing light from coming in, trim them back to restore your view of the outdoors. As well, whenever you change up the landscaping around the exterior of your home, consider what the new plantings will look like when they're fully grown, not just what they look like at the nursery.
Choose the Right Fabrics
Heavy fabrics like wool, velvet, and fur have a big presence and can make a room feel overdecorated. Lighter picks, such as cotton, linen, and lace, draw less attention to themselves, which can help a small room feel more open and bright.
Related: The Best Blankets You Can Buy Online
Hang Curtains Strategically
When you install a curtain rod, make sure it extends beyond either side of the window casing. Not only will the windows look bigger, but when the curtains are open they won't block the glass or the incoming light. Likewise, mounting the curtain rod several inches above the top of a window will make it look taller.
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Use Natural Materials
Furniture, upholstery, and decorative accents made of natural materials can help a room feel open and airy, provided they're not too dark and heavy. Focus on lighter colors like those found in jute rugs and blond woods, and add plenty of plants.
Swap Out Doors
Replace solid doors with French doors in rooms that don’t require complete privacy. The transparent glass panels will make a room feel more spacious, as will installing transoms over doors.
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Lighten Up Floors
Dark colors on floors, walls, and ceilings can make a room feel smaller and more closed off. While it's easy to paint the walls, changing out dark floors is an expensive proposition. For a quick fix at a fraction of the cost of replacing the floor, try laying down lighter area rugs or carpet tiles over a darker floor to set a brighter color palette for the space.
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Layer Your Lighting
Use multiple light sources in each room so no matter how much or how little natural light is coming in from the outside, you can always add a little more. Start with a primary light source—for example, overhead lighting—then mix in secondary sources, such as accent lamps or task lighting.
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Scale Down Furniture
If you can, swap out heavy furniture for pieces with slimmer profiles. Opt for sofas with exposed legs and low tables made of materials like wrought iron, glass, and acrylic to make a space feel roomier.
Check Light Bulb Labels
Light bulbs are now required to have a lighting facts label on the packaging. It looks much like the nutritional facts label you see on packaged food at the grocery store, and it tells you how bright the bulb is (measured in lumens) and whether the light appears more warm or cool (measured on the Kelvin temperature scale). Cool light makes a room look whiter and brighter and is a good choice for a small bathroom or kitchen.
Use Dimmer Switches
Put primary light sources on dimmer switches so you can brighten a room as the light changes throughout the day.
Don’t Forget Utility Spaces
Utility spaces like laundry rooms or closets are easy to neglect, but these are often the places that feel the most cramped. Use solutions like undercabinet lighting or spotlights to illuminate every nook and cranny.
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Be a Minimalist on the Walls
Raise the Ceiling Height
Use Paint to Your Advantage
If you have the money to hire a handyman for every household woe, go ahead. But if you want to hang on to your cash and exercise some self-sufficiency, check out these clever products that solve a million and one little problems around the house. Go now!