Location, budget, architecture and design can all have a negative effect on the home you live in and unless you have an inexhaustible budget, you’ll need to get creative with your solutions to these problems.
If you have a dark, unappealing room in your home we have nine budget-friendly ways to lighten, brighten and beautify trouble spots in your house.
1. Start with lighting
Make sure you use warm, inviting light bulbs in the ceiling and have plenty of lamps in the room too. Dimmer switches are also an excellent option so you can choose your light levels depending on the time of day and natural light exposure.
You can get inexpensive lamps from secondhand stores and warm temperature light bulbs are just a few dollars from the supermarket. Upgrading your lighting scheme is a cheap and quick way to get a less than appealing room looking gorgeous.
Warm temperature light bulbs are just a few dollars from the supermarket.
2. Add some mirrors
Use mirrors right, and they could change the entire look of your room. Any reflective surface in a small, dark space will create the illusion of light and space. You can buy mirrors from secondhand stores and markets to create an eclectic collection to hang on the walls.
Tip: If you find a mirror that you love but the frame isn’t to your taste just DIY it! You can strip it, paint it, add decorations to it or cover it in gold leaf to match your decor.
3. Purchase inexpensive indoor plants
One of the best ways to add a bright and airy feel to a room is to fill it with plants.
Plants don’t have to be expensive – succulents grow profusely so if you have a friend who has succulent plants you can take a cutting, plant it in a pot and it will grow quickly into a large plant for your home. Succulents like dark, dry environments so they’re perfect for rooms that lack natural light.
See more: 9 ways plants can boost your health and wellbeing
4. Cover your furniture
Buying new furniture is expensive but if you have dark-coloured furniture it’s only going to make a small and dark room look even smaller and darker. Have a think about how you can work with what you’ve got. If you have a standard sized couch, you might be able to find covers in a lighter colour that will lift the room. You could also research patterns online and make furniture covers. You could also paint dark bookshelves and tables in beautiful creams, beiges and whites to give the room a fresh makeover.
5. Add a rug
A bright rug can completely change the look of a room but unfortunately, rugs can be very expensive.
A great way to purchase a cheaper rug is to visit a carpet wholesaler and see if you can buy off-cuts. This is a great way to fit smaller rooms with gorgeous rugs for a fraction of the price.
It’s also great for rooms that are oddly shaped as you can get non-traditional shapes cut from the carpet scraps.
Cushion covers, lampshades and even curtains can be bought from secondhand stores and markets and they can completely change the look of a room.
Posters and inexpensive prints will look fantastic on the walls and even fabric hangings are a brilliant idea for something a bit different. Have a look around your house and see what things you can use.
Remember, you don’t always have to buy new items to give your home a makeover.
See more: How to make affordable art look expensive
7. Experiment with sparkle
Mirrors are fantastic in dark rooms, and so are accessories that have a little sparkle. Anything with a reflective surface will increase the light refraction in the room, giving the illusion of lots of space and light. Try covering knick-knacks in gold leaf or glitter. Perfect for sparkle lovers.
8. Go white
If you can, make sure as much of the floors, walls and larger pieces of furniture are white, or very light. Lighter colours make an excellent base for decorating and will make the smallest and darkest room look bigger and more inviting.
See more: Colour therapy: How to pick the best shade for your home
9. And then go bright
With a white base, the next best thing you can do is add some colour. You can choose one or two colours and have a more disciplined palette or you can go all out and decorate with every colour of the rainbow.
Colour adds interest and lifts the mood of a room, so don’t be afraid to experiment with bright tones.
Originally published as 9 ways to brighten a room on a budget by Carly Jacobs. Author at realestate.com.au