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Bigger and brighter

Published: 07/03/2022

Of all the different things buyers ask for when looking for a home (from the style, to the location, to the price), two things transcend everything: light and space.

Both are precious commodities. Natural light is good for all of us and fuels a positive mood, while space and comfort provide a sense of permanence and peace.

As winter begins to fade, the opportunity is here to fling open the curtains once more and capture the extra daylight of the new season. Spring brings budding flowers, blossoming trees and welcome sunshine, all of which affect the appearance of our homes, both inside and out. What better time to make a few changes?

Perhaps you're looking for a swift and simple springtime shake-up, or you're getting ready to sell and want to wow your buyers. Either way, you'll find plenty of expert tips right here to amplify the feeling of light and space in every room.

SPARK JOY FOR SPRING
There's something that's often lost in Marie Kondo's decluttering philosophy. It's not about a life of minimalism; it's about keeping the things you love, cherishing their presence and giving them pride of place to spark joy in your home.

It can sometimes be hard to throw things out, but the reality is that too much stuff clogs up our homes and our heads. It's the absolute opposite of what we want from life, so allow yourself to say goodbye to anything that doesn't give you tingles.

Keep what you love
Not everything needs to be sold or given away. Sometimes, it's a simple matter of finding a different spot. What could you move that would free up one space and improve another? Relocating a lamp, picture, and rug can transform a bare spare room into a comfortable guest room as stylish as the rest of your home. Or, for a personal hideaway, try moving a bookcase, desk and comfy chair for a cosy reading room or study.
 
QUICK TIP: overloaded shelves shrink a room, but an organised display of contents adds style and depth.

Discover the gift of giving (or selling)
Most of us could probably devote an evening to freeing ourselves of unused Christmas or birthday presents from the last few years. For everything you're never going to take out of its box, there's joy to be had in finding someone else who will love it, either through eBay or giving it away.

SHOW MORE OF THE FLOOR
One of the fastest ways to make a room feel larger is to free up more floor space. While that can sometimes come down to the amount of furniture, it can also come down to the style.

There are many ways to increase the amount of floor on show without making a room feel empty:

  • Sofas and chairs with open frames
  • Beds, nightstands and wardrobes on legs rather than a solid base
  • Floating shelves instead of enclosed bookcases
  • Glass-topped tables
  • Transparent dining chairs
  • Pots lifted on stands
  • Racks for magazines and shoes

Wondering about rugs? Generally speaking, the busier and darker they are, the smaller a room will feel. This can be a real benefit in larger homes that need some help with zoning, but to increase the feeling of extra space and brightness, think lighter and plainer. Or go totally naked to expose the entire floor.

MAKE ROOM FOR THE VIEW
What do you do when you first walk into a room? If you're anything like most of the people we meet on viewings, you first notice the amount of natural light, and then you walk towards the window to take a look at the view.

While both of these create a lasting impression for potential buyers, they also affect your own enjoyment of being at home. With that in mind, could any of the following allow your rooms to shine even brighter?

  • Wider curtain poles so you can pull the drapes completely to the side
  • Keeping bulky furniture away from windows
  • Cleaning the glass and decluttering the sills
  • Painting a facing wall outside and installing a trellis and plants
  • Cutting back ivy around windows and trimming hedgerows or trees
  • Tidying up the garden, patio or balcony immediately outside
  • Having suitably sized outdoor furniture

REFLECT THE LIGHT AROUND
It's extraordinary how much you can amplify the natural light in any room with textiles and accessories.

Mirrors
Mirrors aren't just about vanity; they're a fantastic source of brightness and depth. Not only do they magnify the natural light, but they can also reflect the view outside, turning an otherwise plain wall into a window on the world. The bigger the mirror, the greater the effect, so don't be afraid to go large or make a statement with the frame.

Walls already full? Mirrored furniture can help you combine light, style and practicality, from wardrobe doors and bathroom cabinets to bedside tables and legs on sofas.

Fabrics & accessories
Metal and glass are brilliant reflectors of light – think gleaming vases, candlesticks and lampstands, not to mention fireplace accessories.

Paler fabrics for cushions, bedding, curtains and throws will immediately lift the levels of light, and you can go even further with shimmering textiles like silk and velvet.

Paint
While painting your walls in lighter tones will immediately make your rooms brighter, interior designers have an extra trick up their sleeve. White gloss is usually associated with skirting boards and window frames, but using it on the ceiling provides an uninterrupted reflection of downward light, as well as extra depth. Too extreme? Try a silk emulsion instead of a matt.

Tiles
Glazed ceramic tiles in kitchens and bathrooms reflect the light around them, but that's not their only use. They look wonderful in fireplaces and hearths as a bright contrast to black cast iron.

GET INTO THE FLOW

As well as rearranging your furnishings and removing clutter, there are ways to bring a continuous presence of natural light as you move from room to room. Exploring how to open spaces up or create new channels of light can be surprisingly effective and inject a slice of contemporary design to fit with any period.

Light is all around us and in limitless supply: could any of the following add a special something to your home?

  • Replacing wooden panels in solid doors with clear or sandblasted glass
  • Inserting glass sections next to or above interior doors to allow light into hallways and landings 
  • Taking out all or part of a dividing wall between rooms to widen a hallway, make a living room brighter and even create more usable floor space 
  • Adding a skylight to pull light in from above 
  • Swapping the kitchen window for a wall of bi-folding doors to extend the line of sight into the garden

What's next for you?
Feeling inspired? Ready to put a spring in your step with a refreshed and decluttered interior style?

If you'd like some tailored advice on getting your home ready for the spring and ready for sale, we'd love to help.

Berkhamsted office: 01442 863000
Tring office: 01442 820420