Here’s a question we get quite often in our social media inboxes: “How can I make a room more maaliwalas?” It’s a common concern for Filipino homeowners, especially those living in Metro Manila, and it’s not hard to see why. When you live in a cramped city with a lot of gray, it’s only natural to want a bright and airy home—an escape from all the noise if you will. For those looking to brighten up their home, here practical tips on how to do just that:

1.  Bring in more light

How to Make a Room Look More “Maaliwalas” | MyBoysen

As you may have already guessed, lack of good lighting is often a big culprit as to why a room does not look maaliwalas. It could be because there are too little to no windows, the overhead lighting doesn’t light up the room well (or could even be too bright and glaring), or there simply needs to be more sources of light in the space.

Simple solutions can be done such as switching out exposed fluorescent lighting that tends to be too harsh with overhead lighting fixtures—these do a much better job of softly illuminating a room. Bulbs in “warm white” instead of “daylight” also create a more inviting space. Try to add different sources of light as well. Table lamps and floor lamps add visual interest as well as light up dark corners.

2.  Think about color

How to Make a Room Look More “Maaliwalas” | MyBoysen

Among interior decorating styles, Scandinavian has been popular in the Philippines for quite a while now. This doesn’t come as a surprise as Scandinavian does have that maaliwalas look that Pinoy homeowners are after.

Taking a page from the Scandinavian stylebook, consider going for soft, toned-down, or neutral colors for your space as well. This helps create a bright and cozy room that feels lighter and airier. Try to minimize dark and brooding hues and overly vibrant ones especially for bigger furniture and items that become dominant colors like sofas and bed linen.

It’s also best to have a color scheme in mind. It will serve as your guide as to what colors you’ll be introducing into the room. Try as much as possible to stick to it. If you want to bring in other hues not in your color scheme, do it in small amounts. Too many clashing colors can lead to a room looking cluttered and stuffy.

3.  Add a mirror and a few plants

How to Make a Room Look More “Maaliwalas” | MyBoysen

You may already be aware that mirrors are like magic when you want to make a room feel brighter (and bigger as well if the room is small). When utilizing this trick, the key is to be strategic about where you place the mirror. It does its job best if it’s placed in a spot where light hits it, such as adjacent to a window or some other light source like a lamp. This way it can reflect the light and bounce it around the room to brighten the space.

Plants work wonders as well. Greenery breathes life into the room and makes it more inviting. Lush green plants add a subtle pop of color that won’t look out of place even if you’ve chosen a more neutral or soft color scheme. Just make sure you choose a plant that can thrive in the environment you place it in such as if the room gets only gets little sunshine.

4. Say no to clutter

How to Make a Room Look More “Maaliwalas” | MyBoysen

Here’s an easy trick. If you want a room to look and feel instantly brighter, roomier, and tidier, try keeping big surfaces like desks and coffee tables as empty as possible or as organized as you can. That’s right, no back-issue magazines or unnecessary tiny knickknacks on display for everyone to see. Clutter is your enemy.

In a small space especially, clutter can make a room seem even more cramped. Know that it’s okay to have empty spaces. In fact, purposeful use of negative space is key in good interior design—and this may be especially true when creating maaliwalas rooms. You want people, light, air, and energy to be able to move freely in the room.

5. Consider repainting your walls

How to Make a Room Look More “Maaliwalas” | MyBoysen

When was the last time you painted your walls? Stained, dirty, and peeling paint will ruin any maaliwalas look you’re trying to achieve. You want a clean and beautiful backdrop for your space, not one that looks rundown and neglected. When repainting, again, be mindful about color and use your chosen color scheme as a guide. Pick wall paint that complements, not clashes, with the items in the space.

Boysen has a wide range of interior paint colors for you to choose from from including ones that are soft-toned and in neutral hues. Want to go with white? There are 32 (off-)white paint colors in the Boysen Color Palette. As for the perfect paint product, check out this guide on Boysen’s top choice interior paints: Boysen Permacoat, Boysen Healthy Home, and Virtuoso Silk Touch.

We’re here to help you achieve the home of your dreams. If you have questions or need assistance with painting or Boysen products, feel free to reach out to our technical team at or call (02) 8363-9738 local 413 to 418 during office hours for a one-on-one consultation.


Jill is a writer on a continuous journey to learn about paint and share them with you, the reader. She has an interest in the technical side of things but also thoroughly enjoys playing with colors. She likes calm greens, quiet blues, and mellow yellows best.

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