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How to Decorate a High Energy, Bright Room: 3 Case Studies

Posted on January 31, 2016 by KylieMawdsley


Ideas to Decorate a High Energy Room

Partner post to: Decorating Ideas for a Low-Energy or Dark Room

What is a high energy room?

A high energy room has an abundance of natural light and reflective surfaces.

And while this is generally a FABULOUS thing, it can also be overwhelming if you add too many high energy items to a room that is already full of beans. Every room needs a BALANCE between items that add energy and light to a room and items that ABSORB energy and light (like me in a room vs Tim in a room – hehe).

Items that raise the energy in a room

  • Glass and mirror (framed pictures/windows/mirrors/accessories/table tops/etc…)
  • Lamps and other artificial lighting
  • Natural light
  • A cheerleader (hubby says that every room needs a few of these)
  • Shiny horizontal surfaces such as shiny wood, tile or laminate flooring
  • Carpet with sheen
  • Countertops with a highly reflective surface
  • Shiny paint finishes (trim or walls)
  • Shiny furniture material (leather/vinyl/fabric)

Every room should have a balance of items that add energy and absorb energy

High contrast whtie kitchen with black countertops and farmhouse stainless sink. Kylie M interiors

If you have a room that has tons of natural light, you will want to balance that out. Why? Because a room that has TOO much energy bouncing around won’t feel restful as the light in the room will bounce from object to object without being absorbed. The room will only feel restful once the sun goes down.  And funny enough, it’s easy to see a dark room and know that it needs to be fixed, but it’s harder with a bright room because sometimes you don’t know something is wrong until you fix it. And once it is fixed, not only will your room take a deep breath – so will you!

How to decorate a bright room. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, online paint color consulting

How to Lower the Energy of a Bright Room

Items that lower the energy in a room

  • Horizontal wood surfaces with a matte finish
  • Canvas style artwork or wall hangings with low/no sheen
  • Accessories that do not have a shiny/reflective finish
  • Matte finish metal (lighting/hardware)
  • Low-sheen fabrics
  • Paint finish on walls or furniture that is low-lustre or no sheen
  • Texture
  • Paint colour with a lower LRV (50-)

When it comes to accessorizing a high energy room, it’s good to follow the 80/20 rule – 80% low energy items and 20% high energy items


South Facing High Energy Room – Case Study #1

How to change the energy in a bright and light south facing room with home decor and artwork. Shown on fireplace with vaulted ceiling, wall and beige carpet by Kylie M Interiors

This living room gets a daily, intense hit of southern light from a large expanse of windows, here’s how I remedied this…

  • Canvas artwork. A mirror would have bounced that light around the room even more. By choosing a canvas piece without a glass frame over it, we absorbed some of that light coming in and slowed things down a bit
  • Accessories. The décor has a mix of sheens and colours to complement the beautiful, original tile surround. Each piece has a different sheen level, but none are overpowering or super glossy
  • Wall colour. The medium depth wall colour (Benjamin Moore Smoked Oyster) has a lower LRV, which means it doesn’t reflect much light back into the room and actually absorbs a bit of it

Read more:  The Best Paint Colours for a South Facing Room


South Facing High Energy Room:  Case Study #2

How to decorate a light and bright room with a lot of natural light. Living room with corner fireplace and TV

This south facing room is actually my own and I’m really happy with the balance of it. It has what I call the Goldilocks Effect – not too bright, not too dark – juuuuust right.

  • Paint colour. While the paint colour has a higher LRV, there aren’t very many open expanses of empty wall space for the light to gather/reflect
  • Minimal shiny surfaces. The TV screen, framed photos and leather ottoman add some sheen to the room but on a minor scale compared to the denser, light absorbing surfaces
  • Area rug. The area rug stops the light from reflecting off of the floor
  • Paint sheen. The paint finish on the cabinet (one of my fave pieces, check it out here) is a satin/pearl finish so it is slightly shiny and wipeable – but not glossy
  • Home Décor. The décor (accessories/toss cushions/etc…) is generally pretty light absorbing, adding warmth and texture to the space rather than sheen
  • Furniture. Large-scale leather pieces (couch/chairs) with a shinier finish would have been too much for this room. I chose fabrics that are durable and low sheen so that they added softness to the room – not sheen.


North Facing High Energy Room:  Case Study #3

Sherwin Williams Repose Gray with teal and yellow accents in a palette

Contemporary living room. Sherwin Williams Repose Gray, tile fireplace surround with floating hearth and linear gas insert. Kylie M Interiors Decorating and Design Online and local in Nan

My client’s room was big, bright and north facing with full-height windows and a vaulted ceiling. All of these features could have been diluted if we hadn’t decorated and designed it accordingly…

  • Flooring. The flooring has a matte, distressed finish on it which reflects some, but not TONS of light. A shiny solid finish wood floor would over-powered the space
  • Canvas artwork. The canvas slows down the energy as it isn’t reflective like a glass/framed piece would be
  • Furnishings/fabrics. If the chair by the window was leather, it would have been too much. The patterned fabric slows the energy in the room down and complements the landscape. The leather couch is a soft, butter-like leather with very little sheen.


So What Do You Do Now?

  1. Look at your main rooms and figure out whether they are HIGH energy, LOW energy or pretty darned happy. If your room has a really good dose of natural light that is uninterrupted by landscaping, tall trees or deck overhangs – you likely have a high energy room. If you need to have a light on in the middle of the day you probably have a low energy room.
  2. Look at the surfaces in your room. If you have a bright, high energy room, do most of your surfaces reflect or absorb? Are you in the 80/20 range?
  3. If not, see where you could make some changes. It doesn’t always take a lot to change the energy of a room – swap a vase here, change the artwork there, and before you know it, your room will feel balanced and well-decorated.

I hope you enjoyed this blog post! And while most homes have a High Energy Room, they usually have a Low Energy Room as well, check this out for tips and ideas for your dungeon low energy space…


Want ideas for your room? 

Check out my affordable Online Color Consulting Services

edesign, virtual paint colour consulting. Kylie M Interiors Benjamin Moore, Sherwin Williams color expert. marketing (14)

Chat soon,

Kylie M Interiors Edecor and Edesign



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