I have wanted to live in a log cabin for as long as I can remember so you can imagine my excitement when we finally moved into one! It has everything I could have ever dreamed about plus some.
*IF* I had to think of a “negative”, it would be the lack of super bright light. There are plenty of windows, I just think it feels this way because of how the wood reflects the light. It’s naturally gorgeous but if you’re trying to put on makeup or find a lash in your eye, well, you better go outside for that (and don’t forget a mirror!).
Living in a log cabin does have a few drawbacks. For instance, I can’t just whip out a can of paint and things are instantly brighter. I have to get creative – VERY creative. Besides the obvious (cause y’all already know I’m gonna say something about succulents), I’ve discovered 7 ways to brighten a dark room.
I want you to see the before and after. The only *rule* was that I had to leave everything as original as possible. No paint, pictures, etc. I want the space to look exactly the same as it did when it was originally built, only brighter.
Here’s the bathroom, before. *spooky*!
There were actually handmade curtains over our bathroom window when we first moved in but seeing as no one had lived here for oh, 15 years, they were just a little dry rotted (just a smidgen). We won’t talk about how they turned to shreds when attempted to wash them. Oops.
There’s also wood wainscoting that trims out the bath, but it’s antique and was brought here from another cabin, so it’s not going anywhere (or getting painted). It may be out of style but it’s original to the cabin so it’s staying.
I’m not a HUGE fan of that chain/pendant/lighting THING but in order to change it out, it would be a real pain (we’re talking sheetrock work, electrical re-wiring, paint, new fixtures…ummm NOPE) so I simply replaced the glass globes instead. The previous glass covers were frosted and didn’t let out much light (and kinda broke when I was washing them for this blog post which is why it’s also a week late since I had to find new ones).
Side note: DYK that’s one of the first toilets like EVER? (It works like one too.)
If you’ll draw your attention from that stunning antique commode (I know, it’s hard), you’ll see the real stars of the show – the fancy new Blinds.com light filtering sheer shades. They let in an incredible amount of light and at the same time, I have all the privacy I need from prying deer eyes in the woods.
Oh, and they do look a LOT better than the handmade curtains.
Blinds.com Light Filtering Sheer Shades look great in other rooms too!
I also put light filtering sheer shades in the kitchen to brighten this space and it has worked beautifully! You may remember the previous Blinds.com post that I did on our gorgeous skylight window shade – it’s located here in the kitchen and is actually right above where I’m standing to take this photo!
The sheer shades on the front door and in the bath are made with soft translucent fabric vanes that are suspended between two sheer layers of fabric. This gives a glowing appearance while softly diffusing the light.
I chose the 3″ light filtering sheer shades for the kitchen and the 2″ for the bath since that window was smaller and I think it was a good decision (both were in Ivory, another great decision). I was actually hesitant to put the shades in the kitchen but once they were up, oh, man do they look PHENOMENAL!! Speaking of putting them up…..guess who installed these?
Yup, you guessed it!! Yours truly (and it only took me about 10 minutes!).
I couldn’t believe how EASY these were to install! You literally screw in 2 brackets, snap the sheer blinds into place, and you’re practically done!
What I really love about the light filtering sheer shades (other than, oh you know, everything) is the continuous cord loop lift system. If I want to make the room completely private, I simply pull on the cord until they are lowered and in the “closed” position. If I want to diffuse the light illuminating the room, I pull on the nylon cord just enough to open the shades (similar to the way traditional mini blinds work). When the sheer shades are in the up position, they are completely hidden behind the matching fabric insert cassette located at the top of the window.
Okay, as promised, my top 7 tips to brighten ANY space:
- Replace light bulbs with modern LED – Since we have golden walls, I usually look for light bulbs that are high on the Kelvin scale. (For reference, 6500K is daylight.) If the bulbs are too warm – below 3500K – the wooden rooms end up feeling too dark.
- Mirrors – These are super cheap and are also a great way to reflect light into a dark room. I have a vintage full-length mirror that is located across from a window in my bedroom and it’s made a huge difference when I get dressed (no more blue socks mismatched with black!)
- Plants/Flowers – I can’t keep real succulents inside (it will always be too dark for those) BUT the craft store has some amazingly realistic ones that you can’t tell from the real thing! Not into succulents? Flowers are the next best thing. Real or fake, doesn’t matter, they both can brighten ANY space!
- Replace light-blocking curtains or cheap mini blinds with blinds.com light filtering sheer shades – We still needed privacy – but wanted to let in plenty of light – so I installed their horizontal sheer shades. They were custom made for my windows and have drastically changed the appearance of the space. (I am BEYOND in love with these!) There is absolutely NO way I can portray in photographs or words how much difference these have made to our home. It’s so cozy and comfortable and at the same time, it doesn’t feel forced. As a matter of fact, some of the wood in our home is well over 200 years old and somehow the sheer shades blend right in.
- Clean and declutter – Clutter makes things just feel closed in and dark. If you haven’t used it in over a year move it out to storage and if you don’t use it again for another year, it’s seriously time to consider donating it to someone who needs it or can use it.
- Wash windows, mirrors, light fixtures – When we washed the windows of this home for the first time in Lord knows how long, you would have thought there was a layer of black film on each pane of glass. You couldn’t see it until it was wiped away but when it was, boy did it look a million times better. It truly made the house brighter – INSTANTLY!! The same goes for glass light fixtures and all of the interior mirrors – Be sure to give all those a good cleaning because be honest, when was the last time you actually took them down and washed them?
- Add accent lighting – I have a really cool antique mason jar that I stuck some fairy lights into and it sits in the corner of my bath on the vanity. They don’t use hardly any energy so they pretty much stay on all the time and it just gives the space a completed (and bright) look. (see below)
I’m actually pretty amazed at how well the transformation went, especially considering I didn’t paint a single thing!! The new sheer shades did a wonderful job of transforming both of the rooms into a bright and welcoming space.
What are some ways that you have found to brighten a dark living area? Let me know in the comments below!
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post thanks to the generosity of Blinds.com. However, all opinions expressed are my own, including thoughts in tweets. I received a complimentary skylight shade for this post. This disclosure is done in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 10 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.