With the shorter, darker days that come at this time of year, our homes lose out on natural daylight and start to feel dingy. While dark interiors are a popular trend this season, without the right styling they can make rooms look smaller. To keep the overall effect light and airy, simply follow our seven easy rules that can be applied to any room in the house…

1. Time to reflect

Strictly studded floor mirror, £499, The French Bedroom Company

Hanging mirrors to create the illusion of space may be one of the oldest tricks in the book, but that doesn’t make it any less effective.

A well-positioned mirror, such as opposite a window, will instantly bounce light around the room and brighten up a dark corner. Make sure the view your mirror is reflecting is an attractive one and not a pile of clutter or unsightly piece of furniture.


2. Floor filler

Star by Julien Macdonald Diva rug, £360; duvet cover, £78; glass table lamp, £90; Gatsby bedside table, £280, all Debenhams

Be smart with where you lay rugs around your home and use light-coloured designs to break up an expanse of dark flooring. Not only will they create a focal point but they will also provide added warmth and texture going into autumn to cosy up your scheme.

If your room is busy with artwork and trinkets, a plainer rug will balance out the look, whereas if the walls are sparsely decorated, go for a bolder, patterned design in a light colour to add interest.


3. Bright idea

Made-to-measure snowflake patterned roller blind, from £45.67, English Blinds

Make the most of natural daylight coming into your home by avoiding dressing windows with heavy curtains. Opt for less clunky alternatives such as slim venetian blinds or even shutters than can fold back onto the wall during the day.

Roller blinds that retract neatly into the top of the window frame are a good option if you want to introduce a fabric or patterned design, but be wary of Roman blinds which may block out light even when drawn.

Keep foliage outside trimmed back to let in as much light as possible, too, and avoid positioning furniture in front of the window such as a television or high-backed sofa.


4. Colour combos

Ammonite No. 274 and Blue Ground No. 210 both in estate emulsion, £43.50 for 2.5L, both Farrow & Ball

When it comes to decorating your home, keep your palette towards the cooler end of the colour spectrum to help rooms appear airy. Don’t feel limited to white though—shades including soft grey, mint green and muted blue will all add character whilst still allowing the space to breathe.

In small rooms, white can actually appear dull and draw attention to shadows so choose a shade with a little colour to give depth to the walls. If you prefer darker tones, keep this to a minimum in compact rooms and consider just painting one or two accent walls rather than all-over coverage.


5. Let it shine

Mortimer occasional chair in Harley plain dove grey, £1175; Iona slate grey wallpaper, £40 per roll; Tate off-white wooden floor lamp base, £170, all Laura Ashley

Lighting your home is both a practical and a decorative part of the design process. In order to help each room feel bright, it’s important to make sure there is adequate lighting to suit the purpose of the space.

Consider ceiling lights, table lamps, wall lamps and floor lamps as options that will create a different atmosphere depending on the mood you want to achieve.


6. DIY idea

Toaster flip top kitchen table in vintage-y white, £725, Loaf

Get creative and paint dark wooden furniture in a lighter shade to stop it feeling imposing in a small room. A lick of paint in a white or a pastel tone will lift your scheme and this works wonders on anything from dining tables to sideboards.

Annie Sloan chalk paint is a quick and easy way to upcycle, as the smart paint doesn’t require the surface to be primed beforehand.


7. Open plan

Hubsch large white ceiling lamp, £185, Printer + Tailor

If you’re considering a larger-scale transformation, changing the layout of your house can help make it feel considerably brighter.

Open plan living spaces mean there are less walls blocking out daylight and light from both the front and back windows can filter through the house.

Skylights are another way to instantly brighten up a room, whether this be as part of a kitchen-diner extension, or in the stairwell leading to a loft conversion.


Read more tips from Cassie Pryce

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