With shorter days upon us and crisp sunny days slowly giving way to darker clouds and rain, getting more light in my home has been paramount. Of course, I want to take advantage of any natural light that may be around at this time of year but let’s be honest. I live in the Northwest – Manchester, specifically – and lots of natural light at this time of year is difficult to come by. So, in the interest of ‘faking it ’til you make it’, I adopt a few other tactics to create a brighter home even on the darkest evenings.
Here a few ways I create more light in my space and different ideas you can use too for brightening up your living room or simply creating a lovely cosy atmosphere and making the most of the season. Of course, most of these tips can be applied to nearly any room of the home but as it’s one we spend lots of time in, I thought today we can focus our attention specifically here today.
Hanging Your Curtains
While we may be tempted to keep window dressings closed during the day to keep in the heat, we still need whatever Vitamin D we can get from the sunlight. So on those days when the sun is peeking through, make sure you draw back the curtains to soak in every stray beam of sunlight we get. To make the most of it, make sure your curtains are hung high and wide so that when the curtains are drawn back, the entire window is exposed, allowing as much natural light as possible into a space.
Need more tips? Check out How to Make the Most of Natural Light in Your Home.
The ‘Big’ Light
Once evening is here and the curtains are closed, however, we’ll need to rely on our main source of ambient light in a room – affectionately known as ‘the big light’. This is usually the ceiling light in the centre of the room and as the star player in your lighting scheme, you may be tempted to rely on it fully. However, it’s always better to have this light on a dimmer switch which will allow us to choose just how bright it needs to go depending on what we’re doing or the ambiance we want to create. For a cosy winter’s evening, it’s always best to have it on low to create a warm glow rather than feel like we are under interrogation under a blaring light.
One of my favourite things about the autumn and winter is I finally get to light some candles. They add such a warm and festive glow to a room and look beautiful flickering on a mantle or a coffee table. If you are worried about a child or pet knocking it over, you can always opt for LED flameless candles which still give you that soft flickering glow without a flame. Dot a few along bookcases or sideboards and cluster smaller candles together for a stylish look.
Who doesn’t love the sound and smell of a real fireplace? This is really the best time of year to light a fire if you are lucky enough to have one and let the glow of the flames and embers add some natural warmth to the space, both figuratively as well as literally. Dim the rest of the lighting down to truly appreciate the soft light emanating from a fireplace and consider adding a few floor cushions or a deep pile rug to create an invitation to sit in front of it and relax a while.
Adding some wall lighting can really create some drama in a room so don’t overlook this often missed opportunity. The light cast from them normally shines directly on the wall, creating pools of light above or below the lamp. These are especially suitable for a darker alcove which may not get much ambient light or to highlight the architectural features of your home or a piece of artwork.
Create a little reading area with a cosy armchair and cushion and a small side table to encourage a bit of ‘me’ time in your home with a floor lamp casting a warm light, perfect for catching up on your favourite novel or magazine. These come in so many different styles to suit your decor, from industrial to traditional to contemporary and everything in between!
Of course, table lamps will always come in handy in any living room so consider popping a few on side tables or along a console table. For a more formal look, you can match your lamps but if you like a more casual approach to your decorating, then mixing and matching different styles within the same room is always encouraged!
And finally, don’t discount fairy lights as something just for the festive season! Wind them along a mirror to reflect the light back into the room or string along a fireplace or a sideboard for some added glow or simply hang from the ceiling to light up a darker corner.
So as you can see there are plenty of ways to add a little extra light into your living room, especially during the darkest months of the year!