Five ways to make your home feel bigger and brighter

Living Room Interior
Living Room Interior

overhead view of woman painting new apartment standing on wooden floor
overhead view of woman painting new apartment standing on wooden floor

Does your home feel warm and cosy, or dark and dreary? With the nights drawing in, now is a good time to give your home some love. Here are five ways to make your home feel bigger and brighter, even if you're short on space and don't get much natural light.

See also: Five home interior trends for autumn/winter

See also: How to make your home look expensive

1. Be paint smart
You might be surprised what a difference a lick of paint can make – particularly if you opt for one of the specialist 'light-reflecting paints' now on the market.

Dulux Ultra White Matt emulsion for a really "white white" that contains special light-reflective particles that reflect up to twice as much light as standard Dulux emulsion.

When it comes to choosing a colour scheme, opting for neutral and toning shades will achieve a more streamlined look and create the illusion of more space. Painting skirting boards and picture rails the same colour as the wall will also make the room seem instantly taller.

2. Choose space-saving furniture
Less is most definitely more in a small space - and a few well chosen pieces that are in proportion to the room work best.

As clutter will only crowd an already small space, opt for furniture that doubles as storage, such as footstools that store magazines and divan beds with storage. Again, keeping to neutral colours and minimal patterns will help to make the room feel streamlined and bigger.

3. Opt for reflective surfaces
Glass tables and mirrored cabinets will instantly make a room appear lighter and more spacious. Choose sliding mirrored wardrobes in the bedroom will make a big difference, while Perspex tables and chairs can help the room feel more airy.

You can't beat the trick of hanging mirrors to reflect light and create the illusion of space. Hang opposite a window or light source and you'll amplify the effect even more.

4. Tips for kitchens
In the kitchen, consider opting for high-gloss cabinets, light flooring and reflective splashbacks to help bounce light around the room.

Keep small appliances under the counter where possible, leaving only a few items on display, and make the most of vertical space by fitting slim, narrow units with glazed doors.

Don't skimp on lighting either – some well-placed under-cupboard lighting can make a big difference to the feel of the room, without having to cost a fortune.

Colourful but neat window blinds (such as stripes) are a good choice. The more streamlined the room feels, the bigger it will seem.

5. Keep flooring neutral
Dark and patterned carpets make a room seem smaller while plain, neutral carpets complement most colour schemes and create a feeling of space. Depending on its proportions, striped floor carpets can also be used make a small space appear larger. To make your room appear wider, lay the stripes horizontally – or, to increase the length of a room, lay them vertically.