Use Light and
Colour to Brighten Your Home
Don't let your home feel dull and drab this winter! All it
takes is the right colour and lighting to set the mood in
your home. In fact, colour and light can be a decorator's
most powerful tools.
Whether it's a quick, relatively inexpensive pick-me-up
paint job, new window coverings, complementary wallpaper
borders, new carpets, floors, lighting fixtures or other
interior/exterior home improvements, colour and light can
transform any room.
Before getting started, consider what it is you want to
Is your kitchen really drab, or is it just too dark? Maybe
all it needs is new track lighting that puts the spotlight
where you want it. Under-cabinet task lighting makes work
easier and safer and brightens those dark counter areas.
If you miss the natural light of a window, add a few
mirrors, which will make a small room seem bigger and
Whether used to highlight decor, set a mood, light work
areas or provide safety and security, new indoor or
outdoor lighting is an easy and inexpensive way to make
your home and yard come alive. With the variety of
lighting sources available today, your options are only as
limited as your imagination.
So, before redecorating, consider how adding new lighting
sources may brighten the look of your home. You may be
surprised at the expense and time saved.
Do you want to make a room or window look larger or
smaller, a ceiling higher or lower? Do you want the
atmosphere to be lively or restful?
Finding the right colour combination for your home can be
difficult. Whatever you do, you may have to live with it
for awhile. Also if you have plans to sell your home, you
want to consider colours that will also appeal to
prospective buyers. When people view a home, they like to
imagine how their own belongings will look in it. Purple
walls or furnishings in your home may make it difficult.
And, just as colours in clothing move in and out of
fashion, so do colours in interior decoration. Twenty
years ago, combining purple with yellow and orange was
cutting edge. The past decade saw a swing back to bright,
dark colours, including very popular greens and reds that
reminded us of rich spices. It's anyone's guess what the
next trend will be, but the neutral classics will always
Colours also look different in combination with other
colours and in different types of lighting. A red may
appear cold under a fluorescent light, but much warmer in
a room with lots of natural light. A deep blue may look
bright and intense in a well-lit area, but cold and gloomy
in a dark room. Beige may seem dull and boring, but add a
little yellow, green or orange and it becomes alive.
The amount of colour also affects how you see it. An
all-red interior is too stimulating in most homes. Red is
best used as an accent to add drama and intrigue. But
beware of high-contrast situations.
Colours affect our emotions and perceptions. Red has been
known to send the heart-rate up. Orange and peach are
associated with comfort and security. Purple is often
associated with religion and mourning. Blue not only has a
calming effect on people, but is known to actually lower
blood pressure. Green is the most peaceful colour. Whether
you are changing window or floor coverings, painting
walls, adding borders or new furniture pieces to a room,
here are some things to consider when making colour
raise a ceiling by painting it a lighter colour than the
walls; lower it by painting it a darker colour or by
adding a darker boarder where the wall meets the ceiling;
shorten a long hallway by painting the end walls a darker,
warm colours like reds, pinks, yellows and oranges will
generally make a room feel warmer, smaller and friendlier;
cool colours like greens and blues create a cooling,
calming effect. They seem to push back the walls of a room
and make small spaces appear larger;
light, cool colours can make a small room look larger and
dark, warm colours can turn a large, cold room into
something more inviting;
neutral shades make a room more flexible for any type of
use special effects when the real thing is missing: save
money on new tiles or fixtures by painting faux finishes
to create an authentic looking metallic, marble, crackle
or other effect;
use colour on furnishings to add brightness and drama.
Pastel furnishings look smaller in a room while deep,
bright furnishings look bigger;
camouflage eyesores such as old radiators by painting them
the same colour as the walls; and
try to have a natural, complementary flow of colour from
one room to another.