January 8, 2016

“Lighten Up” – Tricks for Airy Spaces & No-Fail Neutral Colors

In the winter, we tend to hibernate. We burrow under thick blankets and wear heavy sweaters. But what if, instead, we “lighten up” for the new year? What if we went for light and airy, instead of dark and heavy?

Here are my tricks for making any space feel light, airy and inviting:

1. Use white and neutral colors on large pieces in the room.

Use lighter colors on the larger pieces in the room, and use pops of color or darker colors on smaller or on fewer pieces.

Living Room neutral couch - lighten up for the new year - mohawkhomescapes.com

Our living room has some dark pieces in it, including the big coffee table, the end table, and a black piano (not pictured here). Also, the wood floor has a medium-dark stain.

To lighten up the room, I added an off-white slipcover on the sofa, a light gray armchair, white curtains, and a light taupe rug. Although three big elements in the room are dark, the room feels light and airy because the bigger pieces are lighter in color.

2. Soften up dark floors.

In older homes especially, wood floors can be dark, and those dark tones can suck the light right out of a room. To soften the floors and tone down dark hues, add a neutral or light-colored area rug.

Here are some great styles to compliment any style:


Mohawk Home Moroccan Trellis Rug in Aqua


Mohawk® Home Coral Reef Rug


Mohawk Home Laguna Lyndon Shag Rug

Screen Shot 2016-01-08 at 7.12.30 AM

 American Rug Craftsmen Shimmer Shag in Pearl

3. “Lighter” doesn’t necessarily mean “white.”

You can lighten a space with light tones, not just white.

light yellow curtains brighten my dining room - lighten up for the new year - mohawkhomescapes.com

I found these light yellow curtains and wondered how they would look in our dining room. The room’s major pieces are dark – the metal chairs, the dark gray upholstered chairs, and the table. But the light yellow really made the room feel lighter and bright.

When thinking about lighter colors, choose lighter grays, blues, yellows, and tan. They will all give a lighter effect to a room.

My favorite, no-fail, go-to neutral colors are:

Decorator’s White (Benjamin Moore): This is a pure white; it can go with any other colors or tones in the room. I used it in my kitchen:

Kitchen - Decorator's White on walls - lighten up for the new year - mohawkhomescapes.com

Moonshine (Benjamin Moore): This is one of my all-time favorite colors to use in rooms. I painted the dining room in our old house this color:

dining room in Moonshine - lighten up for the new year - mohawkhomescapes.com

It’s gray, with a lot of white and a little blue. I love it.

Ballet White (Benjamin Moore): This is a great off-white color, especially in older homes. It’s got a great vintage feel, while still feeling bright.

Our living room and dining room, shown above, are both painted Ballet White.

Dining Room - Ballet White - lighten up for the new year - mohawkhomescapes.com

Are you ready to lighten up your home this winter? What are your no-fail neutral colors? Share in the comments!

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