Brightening Up a Dark Home

My fiance's house has very few windows. It is so dark you even need to have a light on during a sunny day. Could you give me some suggestions on how to brighten things up? --michlb71

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Unfortunately, it will be difficult to bring in more natural sunlight without doing some major remodeling. If your fiance owns the home and is interested in bearing the cost of adding windows and skylights, that would be the ideal solution.

However, most of us are unable to just add windows due to financial restraints or unwilling landlords. If your fiance falls into that category, you can do one of two things:

1. Try to bring as much "light" into the space as possible. Give the walls a fresh coat of white or light paint. Make sure you use a warm-colored white, rather than a cool white, which may make the space look dingy. (This means looking for a white or light color with yellow undertones, not blue and gray). The light, warm color will brighten the space and make it cozier.

You can buy full spectrum lighting for all your lamps. Full spectrum is the closest you can get to natural sunlight, and is used to help treat seasonal affective disorder.

Also, try adding mirrors on the walls opposite your windows to multiply the small amount of light you are getting.

2. Embrace the darkness of the home and turn it into a romantic and mysterious environment. Dark does not have to mean evil. Bring in some lovely rich colors (red, orange, gold, fuchsia) and textures in fabrics and accessories, and create an inviting sanctuary. Think exotic, like a Moroccan palace or Arabian harem! Bring out plenty of candles and relish the darkness day and night.

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