No matter how well designed your home may be, there are always certain areas, some nooks and crannies which do not seem to get as much natural daylight as others. Washrooms and basements are the perfect examples. So what is the best way to brighten up a room in our home that doesn't have any windows, to get rid of the feeling of confinement?
You may be surprised to learn that it is actually easier than you think. The following tips are perfect for those areas where there is little or no natural daylight, such as the basement or indeed any other place in the home that is dark and spartan. The first - and perhaps most obvious - idea is to decorate the area in question using bright colours.
Hang brightly coloured wallpaper or paint walls and other surfaces in vibrant, light colours to create a brighter ambiance and to create an impression of airiness, of a larger space. The walls, for example, could be painted white - other colours such as shades of yellow, light red or orange also work well, though in this case you need to exercise a little self-restraint, just in case the overall appearance is a little gaudy. Also make sure that you paint the ceiling in a similar light colour. If you paint the ceiling in a dark shade it will have the effect of drawing in the space, making things feel more compact and restricted.
The same applies to any furniture that you choose for these areas: warm colours would be appropriate for sofas and chairs. Brightly coloured cushions and throws will help open up even the most confined of spaces. By all means, pick one or two darker coloured pieces in you are looking to generate contrast. The idea is that they contrast with the warm colours that dominate most of the room. Try to avoid too much clutter when it comes to furnishing a basement, as you are looking to create a feeling of spaciousness. A few well-chosen larger pieces of furniture are all that is required. You can always add a decorative flourish with careful selected accessories.
In any confined space your choice of lighting is also very important. Get this right and it can make a huge difference to the appearance of your room. The opposite is also true, so it is worth devoting some time and attention to. Choose the correct form of lighting. Most basements have low ceilings, and therefore it is not a good idea to use hanging lamps, as there is simply not enough headroom for them to work to the best effect. You will be left with pools of light reflected low against the walls, which will create a claustrophobic effect, exactly what you are trying to avoid. A suitable alternative would be to use wall fittings, table lamps or even floorlamps or uplighters.
Alternatively, why not include some scented candles to give that extra cosy and fresh touch? Luxury scented candles from companies like True Grace candles or Yankee candles are stylish enough to blend in with any decorative effect you wish to achieve. Not only will they give your basement a subtle diffused light but they will also make it smell fresh and fragrant which can also be a problem in basement areas. Do not be tempted to treat the basement any differently from other parts of your home, taking the same care and attention to its decor as you would do with the other parts of your home. After all, with a bit of imagination you can transform a plain, functional basement used previously for little more than storage, into an attractive additional room in your home.
The author is owner of he Scented Candle Store where you will find a range of home fragrances, including scented candles, by companies such as Yankee candles