Here are some tips to creating a light and bright space.
1. Paint using light colors. It doesn't have to be white either. Look for creams or bright sunny, spring-like colors.
2. Place mirrors to reflect light (natural and/or unnatural light).
3. Get light-colored flooring or a rug. Keep in mind the dirt and stain problem though. Try a light-colored pattern or a hard surface that's easy to mop.
4. Keep windows treatments white. White window treatments still allow light to filter through but still give privacy. Window treatments are needed for privacy, but hang them high and wide so you don't block natural light when you have them open.
5. Use white whenever you can. Lampshades, ceilings, trim, pillows, etc. (But add a little somethin' somethin'. You don't want it to be stark.)
Here are a few articles that I found very helpful. Check them out: