Many people don’t realize it, but staying in dark rooms affects their good mood, and makes them feel cranky, tired, and stressed.
Science has proved in numerous occasions that natural light invokes a positive human reaction, which is why we should do all we can to brighten up our dark living rooms and even more, dark bedrooms.
Even if it looks as there is nothing you can do to refresh a dark corner, there are lighter finishes and spaciousness tricks that can help.
Unless you have a couple of large windows, it will be a challenge to learn how to brighten up a dark room.
Unfortunately, not every home has as much access to light as the owner would like, which is why we prepared few non-demolition tips to add brightness to your space instantly.
How to make a dark room brighter
The intensity of the challenge will depend on whether the room is completely dark, but slightly dim rooms can do with few instant tricks.
For instance, owners asking how to lighten a dark room have probably come across interesting painting ideas and light finishes that nevertheless have dramatic effects, or have chosen light furniture to add brightness to their rooms.
Most of this can be accomplished without breaking the bank, or replacing windows and flooring that can really be problematic.
Our tips on how to brighten a dark room will help both those looking for more actual light coming to their rooms, and those spicing up the mood with few simple moves.
Take a tour at home, and examine the scale of the problem
The thing is, after living in a dark room for a while, you lose the actual perception of how lack of light affects your space.
You’re not really sure where the problem is coming from, and whether it is the color of the walls or the finish of the furniture that is causing it.
Basically, you’ve put yourself in an interior black hole, and you have no idea on whether you must renovate, or rearrange and repaint.
That’s why we recommend you to observe the problem closely, and check what can be done to solve it.
Don’t forget white ceilings
Image source: Terracotta Design Build
You can’t expect a room to feel positive with a dark ceiling or an even darker beam. Recoat it with fresh white, and let the light reflection cast a positive vibe over the entire room.
You will be impressed by the difference it will cause.
- If plain white is not really your thing, go for cream, beige, mint, or even pale yellow.
- If the ceiling is white, the walls don’t have to be. The difference will either way be visible.
Restrict dark colors to accents and small objects
Bold colors do make miracles in web design, but using too many of them can close up the room. This is why we believe you should restrict dark colors to small accents, or a single saturated wall.
Image source: Staffan Tollgard Design Group
It is self-explanatory that ample lighting will brighten up the room, but there are small tricks that won’t demand you to reinstall your complete lighting system.
For instance, you can switch the current bulbs with high wattage ones, or replace dimmed glass with regular one.
With recessed fixtures in place, you can install few LED versions to provide extra light and save on electricity at the same time.
Add more windows
Most people never considered installing windows on landings and stairwells, and that’s where light can come inside and spread through the entire house.
Replace window treatments
Image source: Jim Schmid Photography
Or, to be more precise, remove heavy drapery with minimal options that won’t block natural light from coming inside, as for instance roman shades, or blinds that won’t occupy any of your wall space.
Opaque treatments are also recommended because they protect privacy when needed, and don’t necessarily restrict light to do so.
We all have those dark corners where no ceiling fixture can reach, but the problem can be solved easily: all it takes are a couple of fixtures pointed towards the walls and the ceiling that will reflect glow in a soft way, and will minimize the annoying shadows.
Plus, you should consider the traditional light source candles can provide, and the cheerful and romantic vibe they can add each time that artificial lighting is not enough.
Brightening up dark and dramatic bedrooms
Let’s be honest about it: overdone efforts to decorate a unique and elegant bedroom often end up with a dull and sad space that has nothing in common with the heavenly relaxing den you planned.
If the walls, ceilings, floors, or furniture are dark, it will take a while to cozy up in the evening, especially knowing how strategic lighting can have the same effect.
If you’re nevertheless interested to keep the dramatic setting, light creatively, installing fixtures under the desk or between the shelves for instance.
Use French and regular glass doors
Image source: paul oosthuizen architects
Privacy won’t necessarily be a concern, because the glass can be reeded or etched to allow enough light inside without revealing everything that is happening in the room.
This way, you will share light between rooms and reduce the soundproofing effect, and the place will immediately look fresher and more beautiful.
Save bulky and dark furniture for better lid rooms
Image source: Tipler custom home design, build and interiors
The thing is, we can’t estimate the visual weight of our furniture pieces before we take them home, which is how it happens that your favorite (and oversized) deep-espresso table affects the mood of your living room.
Lighter-toned and thinner pieces will lighten up the way you didn’t expect them.
Decorate with acrylic pieces
Acrylic furniture is not just a ‘leaving trend’ but rather a helpful option for reducing the visual weight of small and poorly lighted rooms.
Acrylic tables, for instance, blend with the interior so well that you won’t even notice they are there.
Limit furniture choice to essentials
The last thing a dark room needs is large and overwhelming furniture, so try swapping your cumbersome and overstuffed pieces with such that have light legs and a smooth, sleek structure.
Obviously, make sure the colors are light, and that there are no dramatic prints that could compromise the fresh feeling.
Choose open shelving instead of cabinetry
Open shelves feel lighter than heavy cabinetry by default, and thereof make sense in smaller rooms.
Decorate them with glassware accessories and well-organized baskets to boost the pleasant and homey effect.
Fix the closet problem
Image source: Wi-Home Integration
Closets are usually the darkest rooms we have at home, both when built inside our bedrooms or when we’ve devoted them a special room.
Most of the time, closets are an afterthought that came to our mind, and that’s how they end up far from our windows.
Luckily, there is a beautiful solution to this problem as well: a couple of pendant lights or recessed floor fixtures will illuminate our dressing area, while separate focused bulbs can provide visibility in the hangers’ part. Adding mirrors is also strongly recommended.
Image source: Staffan Tollgard Design Group
We are all familiar with mirrors’ amazing expansion power, as they reflect light directly, and make the room feel both lighter and more spacious.
Put art in the spotlight
Once you’ve minimized your accessorizing strategy, and reduced it to well-chosen books and works of art, make sure they will draw enough attention with focus lights.
Consider reflective subway tiles
Image source: Martin Manley Architects
Not all old-fashioned classics and tricks are desperate attempts to add a retro vibe – some of them are currently in vogue for a reason, including linear and clean subway tiles whose reflective finishes reflect light almost as much as mirrors.
For instance, you can use them in the bathroom or the kitchen.
If for whatever reason you can’t afford a subway backsplash, consider peel-and-stick tiles that are easy to remove.
Better yet, consider all reflective surfaces
Image source: Pearl Design
The lighter your walls are the brighter the space will seem, but there is an easier way than complete repainting to achieve this.
For instance, it may be much simpler to use a semi-gloss finish, such as eggshell or satin depending on the traffic the room gets.
In order to amplify the same effect, use mirrors, and let light bounce off them by placing them opposite light fixtures and lamps.
At the same time, you’ll be securing a stunningly beautiful decoration, assuming the variety of frames, shapes, and sizes mirrors come in.
Adding metallic decorations
Image source: Peg Berens Interior Design LLC
Little sparkles can do big things, regardless of whether you’ve hung a whole mirror or finished small accents with metals. Wherever possible, add reflecting details that would illuminate your entire room.
Bring plants inside
Image source: Hobbs’ Ink, LLC
Natural elements have their own ways of compensating the lack of natural light, which makes us believe plants will eventually make the room fresher and brighter.
The vibrant colors such as yellow, red, and cobalt, can remain on the pot.
When choosing a plant, nevertheless, consider low light-resistant options such as spider plants and ferns, or maybe even silk ones that will also minimize maintenance needs.
For an even better impression, place plants in central areas, such as the coffee table or the middle of your bookshelf.
Don’t forget floor lamps
Image source: Gaile Guevara
Since you’ve excluded all unnecessary furniture pieces, you will be left with only few options for placing lamps to rest, which is why we recommend floor lamps.
Preferably, choose such whose lighting settings can be alternated by wish, and allow you to switch from high wattage bulbs to softer ones.
Besides, floor lamps can be moved easily wherever you need them, which means that you’ve secured a flexible lighting option for the entire house.
Adjust the appearance with rugs
Image source: Hobbs’ Ink, LLC
If the rug is bright, the looks of your room will change instantly. Most high-quality rugs are expensive, but you can always go to a wholesaler and ask for a carpet cut-off in the desired pattern.
This way, your rugs will be both beautiful and unique, and you won’t have to spend a fortune to obtain them.
Image source: Jane Lockhart Interior Design
There is something depressing and dingy about dark spaces, but one only understands it once light comes in.
Natural light does the magic of changing how a room feels, but the operation doesn’t necessarily take complete window replacement and expensive installments to have the very exact effect – what you need to do instead is to capitalize on how human eye perceives light.
Lighter rooms also feel cleaner and inviting, and create an overall impression of airiness and spaciousness.
The easiest way to secure the same effect for your living room is by repainting or refinishing the walls and the ceiling.
Basically, what you’re doing here is making the most of the light that is already inside.
Finally, using a uniformed light shade floor-to-ceiling is a powerful illusion that invites every visitor to give the whole space a look, and remember it as a large and clean area.
The toughest of all challenges is to brighten a completely dark room where no windows are available, but that’s not impossible either.
Cave-like corners deserve a careful artificial touch with few lamps and installed fixtures, which will make them more practical, and ensure that your family can enjoy literally every corner of their home.