As spring gets well under way and the sunnier days cast light into every corner of the house, I have the usual urge to clean up and sort out. I think that there is definitely something about this time of year that makes me want to rearrange the house and this year I am going to capitalise on that feeling. Top of the list is the study. I blogged last week about my need to get organised and I feel that the study is a room that is pivotal to sorting out other areas of the house too.
The plan with the study is to create more space and light. It is on the bottom floor and as the front of the house is overlooked by a small stretch of woodland, it is a naturally dark room. My plan is not only to rearrange the room and have an almighty declutter, minimise some of the furniture, create space and light. I want it to be a room which is relaxing, a place where we can feel inspired and motivated to work.
Creating light is going to be the biggest challenge in a room where levels of natural light are generally quite low, so I have been scouring the internet for some top tips and these are a few of the things that I am going to try.
Paint it light
Most of the rooms in our house are white, apart from the study which still has the original magnolia walls. Magnolia is a light neutral colour, but I have discovered in the other rooms that simply changing the colour scheme to white adds a fresher, lighter feel to it. Don’t forget the ceiling either as even a ceiling that is already white, will benefit from a fresh coat of paint. Choose a paint with a satin finish if possible as this will help to reflect more light.
White also makes the perfect backdrop for photos and artwork, so if you are worried that white is too plain, you can accessorise to give it colour or detail. Also think about the colour of the furniture, as lighter colours will work better if the space is fairly small.
Copyright: archidea / 123RF Stock Photo
Create a Mirror Effect
Using reflective materials and mirrors, you can create an illusion of light. Mirrors opposite windows will reflect light back into the room, which creates even more precious light. If you don’t want a mirror, look out for pictures of accessories that have a shiny, reflective, glass or metallic effect.
Copyright: kuprin28 / 123RF Stock Photo
Mirror tiles are another alternative. I bought adhesive mirror tiles for our hallway and they stick easily to the wall and used singly or grouped together, they can be an inexpensive way to add a dramatic mirrored effect.
Don’t clutter the walls
I am going to be posting in a few weeks about creating a feature wall with photos or pictures as I will be redecorating my living room. However, one thing that I have learnt is that putting too much on walls in darker or smaller rooms also takes light away. If you are using frames, stick to light colours or reflective materials which will again add more light and think about how much space you are going to use.
Avoid heavy curtains
When your main light source is the window, you have to think carefully how to dress it. I have made the mistake in the past of choosing thick, heavy curtains, which were a lovely fabric but they were so thick that we lost half of the window even when they were pushed right back. These days, I am a huge fan of blinds, particularly roller blinds as whatever the window type, they take up the minimal amount of space and are easy to keep clean.
Copyright: belander / 123RF Stock Photo
Blinds are also the perfect option if you have Velux windows and there is a great range here to choose from.
Lighting can help
Although it is natural light that we want to maximise on, you can also use lighting to help. When it comes to the main light, try a glass lampshade or light fitting as this will again help to reflect light across the room. With reasonably priced chandelier and pendant style light fittings available on the high street, when it’s time to put the lights on, these will cleverly reflect the light around the room and make a huge difference.
Clean the windows regularly
This final point is a little bit tongue in cheek, however, I know from my own experience that this makes a huge difference. I am not the biggest fan of window-cleaning and I don’t often clean them through the winter months, so I am now cringing every time the sun shines as I can see how awfully filthy they are. If you get into the habit of cleaning them (or getting them cleaned) regularly, you will find that this really does help to create more light during the day time.
So now I am off to take some of my own advice. Armed with white paint and lighter furniture, I am going to turn our dark, cluttered study into somewhere we will enjoy spending time.