Go a little lighter on the ceiling.
There's not a lot you can do to increase the amount of sunlight coming into your home — unless you're planning on a major remodel. But if you're low on natural light, there are a handful of small things you can do to be sure you're using it to your advantage.
1. Mirrors. Place a mirror on a wall adjacent to a window or opposite a window. When placed adjacent (as in this space by Elizabeth Cb Marsh, via Houzz), a mirror will mimic the window and make it seem like you have more windows in the wall. When placed opposite, the mirror will reflect light and views from the window.
2. Reflective surfaces like a back-painted glass backsplash (as seen on Kitchen Resource Direct) can bounce light around and give the impression of more light when windows are limited.
3. Let the light in. Avoid heavy, light-blocking window treatments. Opt instead for translucent shades that provide privacy while allowing light into the space, like the ones in this space from HGTV. This will even give a soft glow to the shade and bounce light into the wall directly adjacent to the shaded window.
4. Ceilings a little lighter than walls. Flat white is best if your walls are white, but if you have dark walls, be sure to go with a slightly lighter color on the ceiling, as in this room from Better Homes and Gardens. White on the ceiling in an otherwise rich room will only feel oppressive. Matte paint — while not reflective like glossy or semigloss — is a good choice for reflecting light.
5. Clean! Keeping fixtures, bulbs, and windows clean will let the light you do have shine its brightest!
What else have you found helpful in maximizing light in a light-challenged space?
(Image credits: Elizabeth Cb Marsh; Kitchen Resource Direct; HGTV; Better Homes and Gardens)