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Lighten Up!

Jan 12, 2012 10:41AM ● Published by Mike

by Jami Zimmerman Cheap Thrills Decor

Ah, the New Year! The whiff of change is in the air even while my January claustrophobia starts to take over. To say that the natives are restless is an understatement. I love my family, but after a few weeks in tight quarters, the walls start closing in on me like a scary episode of LOST. The days are dark, the nights seem even longer and all of the hot sales are over. I officially have a case of the BLAHS.

It’s time to lighten up (literally)!

All right people, it’s time to re-join society. We've had a week to rev up our New Year's resolutions and now it’s time to get to work. With the New Year, it’s clean-slate time. Kick dark and dated Father Time to the curb and invite hip, happening New Year Baby over for the update party (AKA make some cool changes). Where is your mojo?? If you’re a cave dweller by nature (that means you like it dark) then consider these techniques for lightening up your digs and your attitude at the same time.

#1. Stick with light, bright wall colors. Even a small shift in shade can make a dramatic difference. Lighten your walls with a crisp khaki or give your cabinets a much-needed facelift by painting them Antique White with a glaze. Light hues don’t have to mean boring and dull as long as you use lively accent walls and accessories for added drama in your space.

#2. No Crowding.
Overcrowding a space is a sure-fire energy killer. A massive mahogany entertainment center will only make a small, dark room seem, well... darker. Consider repainting dark furniture or trading up for something less obtrusive with leaner lines. Group lighter upholstered pieces with your existing leather pieces to freshen a space. Choose pieces that are visually lightweight with legs (and open space underneath) to make a room feel larger.

#3. Smoke and Mirrors...or Glass. While too much dark furniture weighs down a room, you can revive things with accessories. Incorporate pieces that are reflective. I LOVE Shiny! A large mirror or even a wall of vintage mirrors, for example, will instantly open up a space. I like to use glass hurricanes, candlesticks, mercury glass accessories, crystal chandeliers, or a fabric with a metallic sheen to add a little “sparkle” to my life. Who doesn’t need more sparkle??

#4. Mixed Metals. Want even more glitz? Accent pieces in metallic finishes add another reflective texture to a room. Don’t be afraid to mix your metals and I don’t mean AC/DC and Aerosmith. You can easily coordinate a fabulous copper coffee table with your bronze lamps in the same room. Mixing finishes will only add interest to your space.

#5. Freshen your fabrics. This may seem obvious but it’s really one of the simplest ways to liven things up. Get this party started with toss pillows in bright hues or throws in light colors tossed over the side of a sofa. Colorful textiles make a leather couch not seem so "brown." Window treatments also perk up a dark space. Brightly colored panels can lighten a darkened and depressed space.

#6. Cheerful Art. Hanging fabulous “Art” on your walls is one of the best ways to create a focal point. It draws your eye away from the other things in the room that bother you. To keep it light, frame a series of favorite family photographs in similar frames with light mats like burlap or cream linen or add an interesting canvas that illuminates the room.

#7. Rugs Rock. The floor is the foundation of your room so use it or lose it. If you’re thinking you can’t place a rug because you already have carpeting, then think again. Layer more than one rug for additional color and texture. This is a cool way to add another pattern even if it’s monochromatic.

# 8. Good lighting = a brighter space. Include layers of light including general lighting (overhead), task lighting (lamps), and accent (decorative) lighting. With layered lighting, the room will look and feel more welcoming and complete. But, increasing the amount of natural light is the best way to brighten a room. To allow the maximum amount of sunshine into your room, observe what is going on around the windows. Are there overgrown shrubs or trees outside blocking the light? Pare down any heavy window treatments to bring in additional light. 


Hey cave dweller it’s time to let in some light. Get with the glow-- you'll be surprised at just how quickly your home goes from dark and drab to light and bright. Another bright idea! Happy 2012!!

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