We’re sorry to say it, but summer is beginning to draw to a close. Picnics are being packed away, blankets pulled out of storage and it’s starting to get a little bit darker at night. It’s sad, but if you’re anything like us you might actually be a bit excited, and are already planning for those autumnal cosy nooks! But whether you’re excited or not, now is the time to start planning for those autumn months ahead.
Making the most of autumn light…
First things first, ensure you’re already making the most of the natural light in your home. You might not think it, but making small changes to your home (such as swapping out heavy curtains for light ones, or swapping to a glass front door) can make a big difference when the light starts to fade.
Got all that sorted? Great! Unfortunately, from September onwards the natural light might not be enough to make your home feel as light and bright as it could be. But don’t despair! There’s plenty you can do to brighten up your home and keep seasonal blues at bay.
A cramped and cluttered home will always feel dark and dreary, whatever the weather. If you’re lucky enough to live in a home with tall ceilings then you’ve already got a head start with this one, but for the rest of us – don’t worry, you don’t have to live in the dark!
Have a peek at our guide to arranging bedroom furniture in order to maximise space. You’ll find that a lot of the rules apply outside of the bedroom – such as the trick of painting vertical stripes in contrasting light and dark colours on your walls, in order to give the illusion of taller ceilings. Pretty neat eh?
Embracing contrasting colours in other areas of your home can be a great way to give the impression of a lighter, brighter home. It’s one of those clever optical illusions – especially if you pick colours within the same palette. So if you’re going for neutrals (which you probably should be, for an extra light and airy home) then avoid whites with a green or grey base as these will make the room seem darker. Opt instead for yellow, creamy neutrals – for example, a crisp clear white (a natural light reflector!) contrasted against a warm taupe.
Mirrors, mirrors on every wall!
When it comes to brightening up a home, mirrors are your very best friends. Now we know this isn’t a new concept but you can’t deny that a beautiful and well placed mirror can help trick the eye into believing a room is brighter and larger than first thought.
Unsurprisingly, the bigger the mirror, the more light it will bring in – which is why our Kemble mirror is a great investment to brighten up your home. Place the mirror above a fireplace, side table unit or – preferably – opposite a source of light, and just stand back and watch how much brighter and open your space feels. But if you’re a little tight on space, a long thin mirror such as our Country Cottage mirror could slot into an alcove or on the back of your door, and you’ll be amazed at the difference it makes. Both of these mirrors are doubly light enhancing as they’re framed with light colours, which helps a lot.
Looking for some more creative ways to use mirrors in your home? Have a look at Kimberly’s guide, here.
Get creative with fairy lights
They’re easy to find, not too expensive and super safe – basically, we can’t think of anything we don’t like about fairy lights! During winter they’ll inevitably be associated with Christmas, but we love them all year around. One of our favourite ways to use them is combined with step 2 – mirrors! A string of LED fairy lights draped around the frame of your dressing table mirror is the perfect way to brighten up your bedroom (rope the lights around the sides or use some string or cellotape to stop them from slipping).
Have a think about where else you could use fairy lights in your home. Could you tie a string of fairy lights around the end of your banister? The foot of your bed? Along your mantelpiece? Once you start thinking about it, you’ll be surprised at how many opportunities open up. The small LED lights might not transform your home into a bright and airy space, but they are very safe and will make that incremental difference. Brighter fairy lights with an electrical socket (like the type you use at Christmas) will emit a more vivid light, so will work harder at brightening up a room. Have a bookshelf tucked away in a dark corner? No worries – brighten it up with some fairy lights.
Pro tip – you could even fill empty jam jars or flower vases with battery powered fairy lights, like this. A trendy lamp alternative!
Work with your windows
We covered a lot of this in our making the most of natural light article, but the greatest asset you have for making your home as light and bright as you can is your windows. As Kimberly suggests in her post, replacing dark and heavy curtains with lighter fabrics can make a big difference – but we know that’s not the most welcoming idea when you’re trying to make your home as warm as possible, too.
Instead – consider blinds. In particular, bottom up blinds such as these are perfect, allowing you the privacy you need whilst still letting in light from above. Or, you could go the whole hog and turn a ground floor window into French doors! Particularly great in a living room or kitchen. The more light you let in the better, and if you positioned a large mirror opposite your French doors you’d have a light and bright home in no time!
The final step towards a bright and cosy home this winter is an easy one. Lamps! It sounds obvious, but it’s such an easy thing to forget. After all, who said you only need one light per room? Not us! Not just for your bedside tables, lamps are undoubtedly the perfect way to brighten up those dark and dreary corners of your home. So think outside of the box – is there a corner of your living room crying out for a little lamp table? Or have you got a big empty bit of floor that you’re just not sure what to do with?
Our Nagano Ceramic lamp with silvered metallic finish is perfect. Combining a neutral light shade with a reflective surface, you’d be hard pressed to find a more light-lovin’ lamp! Or if you’re in the market for a floor lamp, our beautiful Oulu tripod floor lamp with its neutral tones will adapt into almost every home.
So there you have it! Your guide to keep your home as bright and cheery as can be into the colder months. Of course, there are always a few other things you can do to get rid of that wintery feel in your home. For example, keeping floral scented candles burning into the autumn will help to prolong that summertime feeling – or perhaps it’s worth investing in a dehumidifier to make sure your home doesn’t become damp and dreary, as well as dark?
The opportunities for keeping your home as bright and summery as possible are endless! We’d love to know any tips and tricks you might have. Let us know over on Twitter and Facebook, or snap us in your home décor snaps with #oakfurnitureland on Instagram, to show us how you’ll be keeping your home bright this autumn.