You wake up- it’s Sunday morning. Your eyes unshutter to the graceful bounces of morning light. There might not be any coffee brewing yet, but the warm brushes of daylight tickle you conscious. It might be the afternoon, and you might not have anything important to do. What a wonderful way to begin your day.
Sure, not every Sunday morning starts like this. A lot of the time you have a list of errands that are scratching at your patience. But there is something to be said about how you “rise and “shine.”
If your home is lacking the luminance it deserves, a handful of easy tricks can help optimize your home’s potential radiance, all while being green and helping the environment.
1. Make Simple Changes
Crack your knuckles, because your home is going to need some pampering. A lighter home doesn’t have to be literal. Getting your house free of dirt, smudge and build up will draw eyes to the center of your rooms, rather than dirty “stand out” spots. When cleaning, there are a few areas to focus your attention on:
- Your windows should be precedent. Make sure the glass is free of streaks and the surrounding frameworks clean.
- Polish your fixtures. Every door knob and light-switch should sparkle. Remember that simple metallic accents reflect light.
- Wipe down the walls. Eliminate any fingerprints or splatters.
- Dust and clean lights. The bulbs should appear the way they looked when you purchased them. In addition, light-shades shouldn’t be ashamed of their age. Give them a good dusting!
- Thoroughly clean and polish your floors; they too reflect light. If you have a carpet, consider giving it a deep cleanse.
2. Go Al Naturale
Natural light will be your home’s closest ally in the fight for more light.
- During the day, keep your curtains open. Your house needs to breath just like you do. Open your doors and let in the natural currents of sun and airflow.
- Decorate with mirrors. Purchase a fancy or eccentric mirror and hang it in place of where a picture might go. You can align the mirror with a window to maximize the reflection of light. Adding mirrors will open up your house and make it feel larger, all while giving it that extra burst of brilliance.
3. Get the Glow
Candles make excellent substitutes for electric light, which will help your wallet and the planet. Many people shun from the idea of candles because of their waxy remnants, but, there are alternatives.
Taper candles are available, and when properly burned, are virtually drip-free. You can choose from slender dripless candles and pillar-style dripless candles, all with the promise of no mess. If you have a sensitive nose, you can take a trip to a local health store and pick up some soy candles.
- For overhead light, purchase a chandelier and replace where the bulbs would go with taper candles. My partner and I picked up a really beautiful gothic chandelier at a thrift store. We polished it and spray painted it a deep red. The electrical components didn’t work, so we improvised with slow burning dripless candles. The result was awe-inducing. It’s now the focal point of our hallway, and it cost next to nothing to create.
- Try grouping candles. A polished silver tray with an assortment of different sized candles will make your space seem moonlit. It is also a lovely decorative accent.
- Purchase a large candle with multiple wicks. These can be over a foot tall and radiate enough light to brighten any somber corner.
4. It’s Time for a Change!
Make a trip to the store and pick up low led light bulbs. They may cost a little more, but they use up far less electricity than the original light bulbs. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, our lighting accounts for more than 20% of our utility bills. The newer led bulbs last up to ten times longer than traditional bulbs. Since the led bulbs use less energy, there is less waste of fossil fuels and less greenhouse pollutants. The led bulbs are also stronger, which means there is less of a of chance getting hurt if one is dropped.
5. Let Your Accents Shine
You can create unique backlight in specific areas with a stick on lights. Buy some battery powered low led lights, or simple push-lights.
- Place them on bookshelves behind books or on the top of the shelf.
- Attach them under your coffee-table.
- Hide them behind a floral arrangement.
6. Dimmer Down
Dimmer switches can be installed in place of traditional light switches. The conveniences of dimmer switches are endless. Whether you want a soft and lustrous lowlight for an evening cocktail party or maximum brightness for a homework session; the ability to distinguish between levels is convenient. Not only that, but since you won’t be using the full amount of electricity at all times, you can expect to save between 25-40% on the lighting component of your utility bill.
7. Fire Away!
An indoor fireplace might be just the add-on your barren wall desires. Add a touch of elegance to any room with the rustic charm of a fireplace. A Biofuel fireplace, which uses ethanol, doesn’t have to be vented. That means you can go wild picking where you want to place it.
Keep in mind that every surface in your home is reflective. You might need to give your house a little makeover.
- Paint with light colors. If you don’t have a spacious house with windows, opt for lighter pallets on your walls. Research the type of paint that you use; as some are less toxic than others.
- Brighten your nursery! As we all know, we hold our babies welfare close to heart. No baby wants to wake up to dark colors and diluted light. Give baby’s space a little TLC and positive energy. Opt for light pinks, lavenders and blues and open baby’s eyes to life’s possibilities. You will want to make sure you have one of the top rated crib mattresses, along with a fuzzy blanket to match!
- Change your shades. Lampshades should be light in color. The smaller the shade, the more intense the light; thus, a larger shade is going to create more of a hazy waft of light.
- If your furniture is dark in color, add some light colored throws and bright pillows.
- Go sheer with curtains. A soft lavender or a light crimson will mask the rays without completely diluting your rooms of life.
- Decorate with glass. Glass vases, china and centerpieces will give a little razzle-dazzle to any withered area.
Renovating your house doesn’t have to be the challenge of the century. My apartment was small and cramped, so making changes to add light helped my family optimize our space. Giving your home light will make the ambiance light; more open and vibrant. A few changes can rejuvenate your living area and improve the quality of your time spent indoors. You can accomplish this with the knowledge that you are helping the environment one easy step at a time. When you are done, you can sit back, relax and enjoy the gift of light.
Alexandra Meehan, a mid-twenties freelance writer, mother of her prized Shepherd dog, loves the spicy flavors of cajun cooking, cheeses and wines. She loves the guitar and piano and has a flair for poetry and anything fiction. When she isn’t writing about the effects of pollution, she is gathering ideas from sites like www.ecohomeinspired.com. If she isn’t at home writing, she is probably wandering the local farmer’s markets with Catherine, her partner of two years.