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Gloomy Home: Professional Designer Says 5 Easy Tricks Will Let The Sun Shine In

Light, bright, and happy.


If your home is feeling a little stuffy and drab, it might be time for some quick design changes to brighten up your space. No big windows for letting in more natural light? No worries. There are still ways to make your home feel open, colorful, and sunny. We asked home stagers — experts whose tweaks make houses sell fast — to upgrade your interior design with ease.

Turn your bathroom into a spa with this color scheme.

beige spa bathroom with wall hanging
Turn your bathroom into a spaShutterstock

Want to go to a relaxing retreat without leaving home? Simply use neutral tones in your bathroom, such as beige or off-white, for towels and rugs, and consider natural containers like baskets and bamboo trays, says home stager Iris Stephan. “These soft hues and textures make your bathroom feel spa-like.”

Make your space feel bigger with mirrors.

decorative circle mirror on blue wall
Make your space feel biggerShutterstock

Create the illusion of a larger, brighter room by taking advantage of reflective surfaces. “Hang a mirror across from a window to bounce more light around the room — it instantly makes it feel bigger,” says stager Tori Toth, author of Feel at Home (Buy from Amazon, $13.99). “You might also place a mirror behind each bedroom side table lamp, or use a series of smaller mirrors grouped together on a focal wall — they’ll add eye-catching contrast to other wall art.”

Beautify any room in your home with lush local greens.

Mature woman sitting on sofa
Pretty up any spaceGetty

Houseplants instantly make a home feel more soothing and colorful. “I like using plants that are native to the region of the home. For example, succulents in a southwestern house or a pothos, which grows long vines, in a New England residence,” says Toth. “It’s best to use plants sparingly to create pops of interest, such as a single orchid in your bathroom or a potted aloe on your coffee table.”

Minimize wall clutter with the rule of three.

Stacks of supplies and paperwork in the office and bookshelves
Minimize wall clutterGetty

Designers have a rule when it comes to shelves in your home: one-third books, one-third accessories, and one-third free space, says Stephan. Just add a plant, picture frame, or pencil holder to a row of books to break up the monotony and add instant interest.

Refresh a living room with area rug layering.

Beautiful living room interior with colorful area rug, large couch, and abundant natural light
Refresh a living roomGetty

Update wall-to-wall carpeting by layering a couple of area rugs of different sizes over the carpet. It creates a stylish contrast, suggests designer Christina Salway. Her tip: “If it’s a solid-colored carpet, consider a low-pile rug in a bold pattern to add texture and interest without making it too thick underfoot.”

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A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.

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