Now, I've lived in Victorian terraced houses of various sizes and shapes most of my life. Although full of character, these ever-popular homes are generally deep-plan with a series of rooms running off a long, narrow hallway, making it difficult for light to penetrate.
Over the years I've learnt how to improve them, often through trial and error and always on a tight budget.
So I've put together my five top tips to help you maximise the feeling of space and light in your own home, Victorian or otherwise, without having to spend a lot of time or money.
1: The magical power of paint
Paint is the cheapest and quickest way to transform a space. Colour can be used to visually alter the size and shape of a room, making it appear bigger and lighter than it actually is.
The first thing to remember is that if you've got a dark room painting it bright white won't automatically make it feel lighter. The lack of natural light can often make whites feel cold and dull - the exact opposite of what you want to achieve. Opt instead for a warm neutral shade or embrace the low light levels and choose a dramatic, dark colour.
Once you've chosen your colour a great option is to paint everything - walls, ceiling, skirting and trim all the same. Straight away the room will feel calmer and more spacious. The eye doesn't rest on the details but moves around, making you less aware of the edges of the room. The lack of contrast with either a lighter or darker colour opens up the space and any ugly features such as thin, modern skirting will be disguised and will visually 'disappear'.
2: Mirrors mean more light
I LOVE a mirror and my house is full of them. Not because I like looking at myself but because they reflect light. Mirrors are your best friend in a dark home - the bigger the better.
Charity shops are often a rich source of inexpensive vintage mirrors to make your home feel bigger and brighter.
3: Light bulb Moment!
The secret to using lighting effectively is to think in terms of layers. Each room needs a mix of:
Aim for at least 5 different light sources from the above list in each room, ideally 7 or 8. Fairy lights, candles and even the glow of the fire can be included. .And unless you want the expense and disruption of having a 5-amp circuit installed, buy plug-in dimmers to control light levels when you want to alter the mood.
4: Don't forget to look up
If you're lucky enough to live in a house with high ceilings make use of this vertical 'grid' and create the illusion of space with floor to ceiling floating shelving. Without any visible supports the eye isn't distracted and is free to roam upwards.
Many homes have original or reproduction decorative cornice at the top of walls. People generally paint it the same colour as the ceiling - often a bright white. But this has the affect of lowering the perceived ceiling height because the eye registers the top of the wall as ending at the cornice,
By painting the cornice the same colour as the walls the eye is drawn up further and the walls appear taller, making the room feel bigger.
Go a step further and paint the ceiling in a gloss paint. The sheen will help to bounce light around and lamplight will reflect off it in the evening.
5: Keep windows clear
One of the secrets to making small or dark rooms feel bigger and brighter is to keep window treatments simple and avoid covering as much of the window as possible in heavy fabric.
Blinds are brilliant, particularly if you have a lovely bay window you want to show off. They're also more cost effective than curtains as they use a lot less fabric.
For more privacy, translucent film on the bottom half of the window looks great in combination with blinds and is cheap and easy to install.
Go as wide and as high as you can with curtain rails. You will have to buy extra fabric. But if you've opted for curtains this will maximise the light coming in through the window and also give the illusion of a much taller and wider window.
For more affordable tips on how to transform your living space check out my blog Lowcost Lockdown Refresh Ideas for your Home
Thanks for reading. I'd love to hear your comments and if there are specific subjects you want me to write about in future blogs just let me know.