As the days are getting shorter and the sun sets earlier in the evening, you might be looking for ways to make your home brighter and lighter. Here are some easy tips for filling your home with light and making your spaces look more sunny and spacious…

Lighten up on furniture

Dark furniture can suck the light out of the brightest rooms. Go for lighter wood tones, or white furniture to make a room feel so much lighter and more spacious. You don’t need to rush out and replace everything you own – why not just add a lick of white paint to your furniture? You’ll see an instant difference.

Give your windows space

Keep the space around your windows clear! Don’t clutter up windowsills with ornaments or put large plants in front of windows. Apart from the obvious (less light getting in through the window in the first place) cluttered windows can create a more cramped feeling in a room and make it look darker than it is.

Go mirror mad

Mirrors serve two great functions: they make a room look bigger by creating an optical illusion of space, and they bounce light around the room, making it look instantly brighter. Adding a large mirror opposite a window or door will really lift the mood of your room.

Get colourful with rugs

Colourful rugs, or even just colourful cushions, can really jazz up a room and make it look brighter. Rugs with bold patterns have the added benefit of hiding small stains and pet hairs too.

More matte

It might seem counter-intuitive, but matte paint on walls can actually make rooms look more light-filled. This is because too much glare from gloss paint will reflect light in odd directions, tricking the eye into thinking the room is more cramped and less bright. The same goes for furnishings and flooring.

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Moving house or redecorating can be a stressful experience, especially when you don’t know what it will look like until it’s all done. These apps, however, can help make everything a lot easier – from colour testing paint to measuring the best sunlight spots, there’s an app for that. Here’s our pick of the best:

1. Houzz

Winner of the “Best App” award at the inaugural Google Play Awards, Houzz is a game changer in home design. Like a combination of lots of other apps doing similar things on the market, Houzz lets you get inspiration for your room design, browse products, and then try them out in your home simply by taking a photo of the room. It also has an advice section where you can get opinions and help from the Houzz community on your ideas.

2. Sun Seeker

The Sun Seeker app is great for photographers and architects alike – but also for those who like to have a lot of sunlight in their home. The ‘map view’ on the app will track the sun’s rays across a certain geographical point, like your home, so you can see which parts of the house will get the best light.

 

3. Dulux Visualiser App

This app’s colour picker technology matches colours from photos you take with their paints. You can then try out these colours on the walls of your home. They also offer suggested colour schemes to accompany your new paint choice, and deliver the paints or colour testers to your door.

4. Homestyler

Homestyler rebuilds your home as a 3D playground for you to experiment with – just with one snap of the room. You can test out real furniture as 3D models in the room, test out light fixtures, and see how furnishings and colour schemes will look in your space. You can also browse the Design Stream for inspiration, share your designs with your family and friends through Facebook and email, and comment and “heart” other peoples’ designs. For more inspiration you can also browse through portfolios of professional designers in your local area.

5. Art Beamer

ArtBeamer is also an augmented reality app that lets you preview how artwork will look on your wall. Artists using the app will give a specific code to their pieces, which you can find either from the website, or asking at the gallery/exhibition. Simply type the code into the app and you will be able to “beam” the artwork onto your wall.

6. LikeThat Décor

This app allows you to shop for furniture on the go, by taking inspiration from things you see around you. Snap a photo of a piece of furniture you like, and the app will show you thousands of similar and complementary products, with details on where to shop for them.

7. Photo Measures

Photo Measures is a great way to keep track of your home’s measurements, allowing you to note dimensions down on photos of your rooms, to remember the exact layout and size of all the different spaces in the house.

Now it’s May, and spring is officially here (even the weather is catching up), it’s the perfect time to give your home a spring clean – and a general makeover. Here are some of our top tips for rejuvenating your home, and adding something new to the mix:

1. Inject some green

Houseplants have seen a massive boom recently, with everyone wanting to decorate their homes with all things green and growing. We’re loving the new trend for terrariums – little mini plant beds that are usually displayed in glass bowls or geometric containers.

Make your own at a terrarium workshop by geo-fleur near you.

Lots of interesting new plant emporia are also springing up – make sure you visit Grace and Thorn or Conservatory Archives in Hackney Road.

2. Re-jig shelf space

As well as adding the aforementioned greenery, jazzing up your shelves and mantelpieces can make a big difference. Update photo frames by adding more recent photos, and add decorative objects like candles and books to really enhance the space. De-cluttering and spacing objects out will bring a more minimalist feel.

3. Upgrade your bedding

Walking into a bedroom, the first thing you notice is the bed – so a change of bedding will make a big difference. This is also a  quick and effective way to change up a bedroom’s colour scheme.

4. Finish your floors

Over time, wooden floors get scuffed and worn out, and this isn’t something we often notice straight away. Waxing your wooden floors or applying a sealant will leave them gleaming again, and will make a huge difference to the overall effect of the room. Or, for a more dramatic change, why not paint the floor instead.

Farrow and Ball offer a wide range of floor paints in contemporary shades. Check out the colour samples at the Islington shop.

5. Give the cushions an upgrade, too

Although small, cushions make a big difference. Colourful or patterned cushions can really bring a sofa to life, and add something special to the room. Changing the cushions and other small accessories can change the entire colour scheme of a room, and a bring a different feel, without spending too much!

6. Get organised

There are lots of ways you can organise your stuff to refresh your home. Labelling containers and jars in the pantry will make cooking feel a lot easier, and help you keep track of supplies. Take the opportunity to put photos into albums, and to throw out anything in your wardrobe you don’t wear anymore. Spring means new beginnings, so it’s time to declutter and pass on old belongings to friends or charity shops.

7.) …Don’t forget the garden

Outdoor furniture often gets neglected during the winter months – so give your chairs and tables a good scrub down to leave them looking new again, perfect for when your guests come to visit.

Spring is the perfect time for planting, so if you have an old sandpit that’s been outgrown, or an area you’re not sure what to do with, why not create a herb garden or a flowerbed.