We are sure you have a list of desired qualities when looking for a new home. But searching for the right apartment in crowded city centers can be tough when the plans and hopes come with a tight budget. You might end up facing difficult compromises. Should you give up on your office space and bedroom for some extra sunlight and go with a studio? Or should you take on another job to pay for your expensive rent or lawn? It is all up to you, but if you choose to move into a darker flat, remember that you still have plenty of options. With some love and care, all kinds of apartments can be transformed into cozy homes.
If you are reading this post as the owner, you will face this difficulty the other way. Nowadays you will most likely rent your flat for a longer-term. This might not seem like a big deal at first glance, but it also means people will want to make less compromise. They can abandon the idea of a heartwarming space for a temporary few days. But they will be looking for a comfortable and personal space to call home when they rent for the long term.
These tips and tricks can be useful for you even if you are an owner or tenant. As major restorations are costly and complex, let’s look at easier tricks as well as bigger, yet still simple, solutions.
You can never go wrong with white walls and surfaces. Let the home decor add the coziness and go with the simplest way of keeping things clean, bright, and organized. If you think this is not for you, keep moving the scale from white to grey, beige and eggshell colors. This nude, minimalist mindset broadens spaces visually and still reflects that precious little light you have to work with.
If you have the option to completely reconstruct, use light, bright colors on the floors as well. Go with white deck floors or light natural coated wood, like pine floors. Use the same material and color in all parts of the room or even in the whole flat. This will create the desired spacious look. In case you need a quicker solution, choose a quality wool rug in beige or white colors, but avoid dark shades as they eat up all the traveling light.
Break the bright rule with some black, dark brown, terra, mustard, blush minimalist statues, candleholders, or other home decor elements. Add some pops of color and heart with paintings and artworks. Be careful, and keep the color range on the bright side. Big, dark paintings can ruin your other efforts to create a bright space.
Set a color palette to your home that you will adapt to. This is not only for professionals. Choose some basic colors for simple surfaces including big areas like the walls and floors. Add some other basic darker and lighter shades scaling your basic colors up and down. Then only choose a few more intensive colors for your flat, moving away from black and white, like turquoise, blush, orange, terra, or olive. These one or two intensive colors can pop up from time to time like themes around the place. Look out for your chosen colors. You will be so happy to find vases and photo frames to extend your color collection. Best finds come at unexpected times.
You might think that glaring, shiny surfaces will be perfect for you if you have to decorate a dark apartment. The truth is, that matte surfaces do a much better job of keeping light in your room. Avoid metal coating, and heavy, shiny details for a more organized and bright look, with the exception of big mirrors.
Glass is your best friend though when decorating a dark apartment. A see-through chandelier is a great option if you are looking for a classy and eternal yet bright and fashionable home decor element. Don’t be shy to opt for unusual glass details. Choose a solid glass coffee table without metal support. Look for minimalist elements to brighten up your spaces. Place an enormous glass floor vase in the corner with some dried flowers.
Minimalist styles are the best friend of brightness. Choose furniture that doesn’t block light. Buy sofas and couches with legs, where the height is about 6-10 inches from the floor. This way light can travel in and around the room.
Look for simple styles and place as little furniture in the room as possible. Avoid big dark leather sofas and couches that sit on the floor like thrones. Instead choose simple, smaller items. With a cozy throw blanket, you can have the best hygge experience for your evening reading. Add a classy-minimalist twist with streamlined furniture.
Get inspired by the most viral vintage trends like Marcel Breuer chairs and sofas or wooden sideboards, interesting lamps, and bright minimalist or Bauhaus artwork from the ‘70s. These quality items with soul and history will give your otherwise very simple space that extra glow you were always trying to substitute with an endless amount of objects. Buy less but buy well.
This might seem like a basic thing to do but we have to mention how important it is. Get rid of the things that are not useful anymore and only keep the everyday tools and the loved quality items.
Have a minimalist mindset, not only in the style of your furniture and decor but also in what you own. Practice the rule of less is more and sell or give away the things you don’t use. You may be surprised how much money it brings to the table. And you can feel great about your donation as well.
Organize the shelves, tables, and desks. Put the books in order and use the rest of the space for a few home decor items. Invest in nice storage, buy woven, plastic, or heavy solid color paper boxes for the little gadgets. Use cord organizers and have a set charging station for your devices.
Let loose of the big piles of pillows and only keep a few for a pop of color and a change in shapes. Keep things distanced and airy. Let light travel between even the little objects.
CLEAN THE WINDOWS
This is the other obvious thing to do, but do you do it? This is probably the least loved domestic chore of all. It’s high time to put on your gloves to clean those foggy, dusty windows for some extra rays of sunlight. If you don’t want to deep clean your windows, hire an expert for your safety and comfort.
Try this well-known advice for not only expanding visual space but also to brighten up your room. Place big mirrors close to natural light sources to enjoy the sunshine at its fullest potential. In case you lack mirrors so much so that this option sounds like it is not for you, substitute natural light sources with ambient lights and let them reflect around the room. Thrift traditional frames with ornate details to add another statement piece in your otherwise minimalistic space. If you don’t like the rustic look, paint the frames to your favorite color and insert a newly cut mirror in it.
MATCH THE MOOD
Look at the darkness of your space from another angle and use it to your benefit. Everyone loves a romantic dinner with candles and fairy lights. Create a cozy hideaway-like hygge experience every time you get home. Place lights around the bed, get a big plate for a group of candles, and enjoy their calming presence. Opt for the warm, yellow light to benefit from their therapeutic calmness. Throw a big thick blanket on the sofa for added coziness. Place your favorite books on the coffee table next to a long pair of pillar candles. Use aroma lamps or scented candles to elevate the mood.
You will love coming home to this calming personal space. Collect more ideas from those nations where even the brightest room gets dark in the winter after a couple of hours of sunlight. Let Danish and Swedish traditions teach you how to enjoy the dark side of the change of seasons.
The best option for light is if you don’t use curtains at all. This is not such an unusual habit in some of the cultures, while in others, it is unimaginable. Clean the window frames and repaint them white. If you are into colors, give the frames some character with your favorite shade. Put small green plants in the window for the cozy feel, but not too big ones, as they would also stand in the way of the entering natural light. Of course, this might not be okay with you. If you really need to cover those windows, use lightweight materials and light colors. Swap the heavy non-natural materials to lighter drapery and let the light shine through.
SMART ARTIFICIAL LIGHTING
The solutions are always found in the details and simple yet professional tricks. The situation is similar to the lighting. One overhead light fixture in the middle of the room doesn’t look like the most well-thought-out solution with care. Love your space with a little bit of extra attention.
Install spotlights to brighten up the shelves and your unique home decor elements. Draw attention to your beloved painting with accent track lighting. Hang multiple pendant ambient lights over your dining table. These details will separate spaces based on practical reasons while creating a welcoming and cozy atmosphere. Let’s not forget to mention more private spaces though. Place sconces on the two sides of your double bed. Have a reading sofa with an arched floor lamp and an office corner with a desk lamp.
Another pro tip for using artificial lights is to aim some or many of them at the ceiling. When you do so, the plain bright white surface will reflect light back onto every little corner of the room. Aim spotlights at the corners for the same effect.
Don’t forget to consider that placement is not everything. Lightbulbs matter the most in the process and they come with different attributes. You can choose from LED, halogen, fluorescent but remember, you can also decide about the temperature. For cozy home vibes and industrial design, the best choices are among the warmer shades from less than 3000 Kelvin. If you are going for a more artificial, brighter look, try cooler lights from above 4000 Kelvin.
Have house plants in your flat to make everything a little bit more alive. Break the rigid rules of minimalism with some greenery. Enjoy their texture, scents, and the benefits of the purified air. It doesn’t always look easy to find plants that survive in darker flats, but there are a couple of examples that you can work with. Choose from some of these plants for low light:
Chinese Evergreen is a great choice if you are looking for some colors. Beyond green spots and shapes, it also plays in yellow, pink, and red colors. It is a perfect choice if you often forget about watering your plants, but would love to add life and color to your home.
Spider plants are another easy choice if you forget about watering your plants. This interesting little creature loves to hang out with you in an inner hanging basket.
The corn plant takes a little bit more attention but pays off the work with its beautiful presence. Zeezee plant, Snake plant, Prayer plant, or Devil’s Ivy will all sit happily in the dimmest corner or of your home.
After taking your mental notes, here is your chance to make your decision. Even if you are ready for this adventure or not, most of these rules apply to all homes, not only dark ones. Whoever wanted less light in their condos? Use these tips wherever you live to brighten up your mood. This brightness will also help you avoid feeling lonely while so many of us are stuck working from home.