6 Little Ways Home Stagers Make Your House Feel Like It Gets Way More Light

updated Apr 14, 2021
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For city dwellers, brick walls are an all-too-familiar view outside windows. My own apartment in Boston has virtually no natural light. The kitchen has a petite window that looks out to bricks (bricks in need of a pressure clean, I might add), while my bedroom windows peer into the neighboring building. Needless to say, natural light is on the list of must-haves for my next apartment.

Whether it’s a windowless nook or a room in the back of the house, the absence of natural light can be drab. Every room deserves to be brightened up, even if it takes some extra TLC. Here, home stagers share tips to make your home look brighter. 

For walls and floors, the lighter the better.

The first step to making your space brighter is — you guessed it — light paint. Melissa Morrissey of Boston Modern Staging + Design recommends Benjamin Moore’s Simply White or Gray Owl if you’re not ready to make the leap to plain white walls. If you’re more of a pop-of-color person, you don’t have to stick to neutrals. Anne Kenney, president and CEO of home staging company, Anne Kenney Associates, says any pale color could work with an eggshell finish. And make sure to keep the ceiling white.

To complement the walls, white or light tiling in the bathroom and light wood throughout the rest of the house will suffice. Kenney says area rugs can do the trick in a home with darker floors. 

Let there be (artificial) light!

Kenney says placing floor lamps and table lamps — with white lamp shades — in two or three corners of the room is essential. “You’re going to want to be able to increase or decrease the amount of light depending on the day. So [use] a three way light or a dimmer that goes up to 150 watts,” she says. The higher the wattage the better, but make sure your bulbs are warm and uniform.

Decorate furniture with colorful accents.

For furniture, keep it simple with white or neutral colors. Donna Dazzo, president of Designed to Appeal, says, to make room for fun with accents. “If you’re going to use a monochromatic color scheme, vary the textures of everything so that it adds some interest to the room,” she says. One way to do this is by layering textured pillows on the couch. Reflective surfaces like mirrored coffee tables or metallic/glass pieces also increase the amount of light in any room, Dazzo says. 

Wash those windows.

Add another item to your cleaning list during the pandemic: windows. Kenney says this does the trick to really brighten up any space. “People should take out their screens when they’re showing their homes — you don’t realize how much the screen is blocking light,” she says.

And in the battle of blinds versus curtains, both win if you use them properly. If you require less privacy, Morrissey recommends sheer curtains. Otherwise, any type of blinds will do, including sheer accordion shades that allow for light to pour in. 

Credit: Lula Poggi

Hang a mirror, mirror on the wall.

Mirrors. Mirrors. Mirrors. Hanging these is the age-old trick to help reflect whatever natural light there is in a darker room. Whether it’s a series of vertical mirrors or one large horizontal one, Kenney says to keep them thin and “the bigger the better!”

Use wall hangings to let your personality shine through with fun patterns or tasselled, textured pieces. “You don’t need to go crazy with a bunch of them,” Morrissey says. One very large canvas over your bed or a piece in the living room will brighten and dazzle.

Sprinkle in a few plants.

It’s always a good decision to decorate with plants. “Any apartment is going to be feeling a little — particularly during these times — lifeless, so anything natural you can bring in is fantastic,” Kenney says. Be it a large succulent or tropical floor plant, any live beauty will lighten your home.