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 achieve.

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 brighter.

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.

Selecting colours
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 remain.

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 choices:

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, warmer colour;
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 brighter;
dark, warm colours can turn a large, cold room into something more inviting;
neutral shades make a room more flexible for any type of furniture;
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.




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All the Suds on Baths
Burglar-Proofing Your Home
Burn Home Fires Safely
Bring Fitness Home
Beat the Winter Blahs
Burglar-Proof Your Home
Create More Storage Space
Cut Your Energy Costs This Winter
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Light and Colour
Move or Renovate?
Make Your Bedroom Your Get-Away
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"Warm" Up Your House this Winter

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