So, what do you do when your home, architecturally speaking, doesn't allow for that kind of light input?
It is possible to compensate for a lack of windows and natural light and brighten your space to achieve that open, inviting look. Here are a few tips to help you get there:
1. A lighter color scheme. Paint, furniture, rugs and other textiles- you name it. The lighter, the better. If you can't afford all new furniture and decor, start with the paint. A lighter paint choice will instantly up the light scale.
2. Work from the ground up. If you have dark floors, choose a lighter rug to draw light from the floor of your space. Next focus on eye-level surfaces and seating areas (for example: tables, chairs, counter tops). If you are unable to replace or paint any of those, work with textiles to lighten those areas (throw pillows, couch covers, chair pads). Next, if there are any windows present, choose light curtains to add light from floor to ceiling. Hang them high to make the room feel taller. Thismwill help give your space that "breath of fresh air" you feel when you see one of those dream designs.
3. Incandescent light. Obviously, bringing in table and floor lamps will help lighten the room. Be sure to distribute the lights throughout- a single lamp in one corner will make the darkness in unlit areas seem greater. Another note- overhead lights are often harsh and aren't the best alternatives for lamps. Avoid using overhead lighting if you want to create a more natural-light feel.
4. Balance. Don't forget to blend a few darker colors in your textiles and decor (for example, natural wood frames or dark + white mix-patterned throw pillows). You don't want your room to be a white-out. But by keeping the focus on a lighter color scheme, working from top to bottom, then carefully mixing in dark accents, you will have a perfect balance.
It wouldn't be fair for me to give advice without putting it into practice, so I created an inspiration board of some room-brightening decor choices.