(Design: Akihaus)

Everyone loves a bright and airy home, but how do we achieve that with less electricity use?

Here are some tips to transform a dark, dreary space – without incurring hefty energy bills.

1. Dark walls tend to make a space feel drab, if the space isn’t designed properly. To play it safe, choose a light or neutral colour to visually expand the space.

2. Paint the ceiling white. Dark ceilings tend to make a room feel smaller.

3. Use accent colours like bright red and orange, which can give your home the “oomph” factor. But be careful how and where you use them, or they can be overwhelming. A good trick is to confine them to accessories such as vases and cushions.

4. Lighten your window treatments. Replace your heavy curtains with lightweight ones. Blinds are also good alternatives.

5. Use low-energy light bulbs, such as compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) and cold cathode fluorescent lamps (CCFL), to illuminate your rooms.

6. For spotlighting design features, artwork or photos, use light-emitting diodes (LED) instead of halogen lights, which tend to emit a lot of heat. LEDs provide directional light and don’t emit as much UV rays, which can harm high-end or delicate artwork.

7. Mirrors do wonders for brightening a space, apart from visually enlarging it. Place one opposite a window to double the amount of light entering your home.

8. When was the last time you cleaned your windows? This may be obvious, but dirty windows block out sunlight.

9. For rooms with small windows, choose furniture that help to reflect light. Shiny acrylic, mirrored or metallic finishes all help to bounce light around the room.

10. Declutter your home. You will be surprised at how much airier it will become when unnecessary objects are stored or thrown away.