How to bring in light (literally!)

I have always been averse to cleaning. It has to do with growing up with an obsessive-compulsive neat freak for a father, who was very unclear but demanding in his regular directives to clean. So as soon as I got my own space, I basically went, “I don’t have to clean any more, nanner-nanner-boo-boo!” while sticking out my tongue and waggling my fingers on my nose. Which sure showed him! Especially since I get annoyed by a messy house (to an extent. Lived in = OK, tornado hit = not).

Yeah. It’s working well for me. Not.

Recently a combination of more energy, more time, and more determination has hit, and I have spent at least 20 minutes every day picking up and cleaning my house. It feels good. It’s starting (slowly) to look better. I’m making headway.

Which means, as I start to care about my house looking good, and as the sun starts to schizophrenically show it’s face, that I am becoming aware of how very, very dark my house is.

Dark = dreary = things don’t look good, even if they are clean.

I live in a duplex. The entire front of my (half of) the house is a garage. Which means that 2 of the 4 walls of my house have no windows. At all. (We’re only talking downstairs, here. Upstairs is small and fine.)

My living room is pretty good, because it’s at the back of my house. A big window in the big wall, two smaller windows in the little wall. It’s pretty light in there.

But as you move back things get worse quickly.

The dining area is fine. Sliding glass door and a small window light it up OK, though it’s still kind of dark. just from how it’s tucked in.

Move back farther and hit the kitchen. With one little window and lots of dark (beautiful, but dark) cabinets. And lots of shade thrown from the hallway running past these two rooms and the staircase. It gets some residual light from the living room, but not much. And that hallway sucks all the light it can out, you can feel the shadows pressing in.

It just feels so enclosed and dark and depressing in there.

But what I hate most, so very, very much, is my entryway. The first impression people have of my home. It is in a little nook, surrounded almost completely by 4 walls. There is one opening to the hallway (which has no windows and is pretty blocked off from any). There is one opening to the utility area (part of the garage that was finished so we now have half a garage in depth, aka NO windows and totally dark). And there is a teeny-tiny maybe 8″ wide window by the front door.

It feels like a freaking cave.

There are lights I can turn on. They do an OK job lighting things up, but it still feels so dark and like the light has to really work to hit everywhere.

Short of adding windows or skylights, does anyone have home decorating tips about how to light up your space? I’d love for things to feel like the light was really flowing in, rather than feeling depressed every time I step into my house and am surrounded by the dark.


Filed under Life

2 responses to “How to bring in light (literally!)

  1. yeah, martha stewart, i am not : )

    but, i do know, pick some light reflective paint, in a brightish color. not garish but maybe a soft yellow. you know what i mean?
    mirrors across from what windows you have also helps. adds illusion of more windows and natural light.
    maybe look at changing your bulbs (a hardware store specialist could suggest good ones) out and making sure you have clean lampshades and the likes.

    ok – thats what i got
    good luck – and let us know what you try and how it works. i need to brighten and spruce here too.

    • Kathryn

      I was going to say paint and mirrors, too. Light colored paint, and mirrors placed to reflect the light into darker areas. Although we also did get three tube skylights put in a few years ago, and they make a HUGE difference. In the summer, I keep trying to turn them off, thinking the lights are on! But light paint and mirrors would be cheaper!

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