How To Brighten A Dark Room Without Spending A Fortune

Has a particularly dreary room in your home driving you up the wall due to its lack of natural light? We all expect certain spaces to have a bit of a dark feel, like attics or cellars – but the same can’t be said about bedrooms. Nonetheless, a room with barely any window space will present a unique challenge in terms of decor. Not to mention, a gloomy room won’t do much to lift the spirits of its occupant. So, how do you add brightness to such an area without breaking through walls to create more skylights or windows?

Dark bedroom

That’s precisely what you’ll Iearn in this guide. There are various ways to brighten up a room, even without a natural light source – if you know what you’re doing. Read on to discover what method of brightening a room suits you best. 

13 ways to brighten a dark room

There’s never a shortage of good decorating ideas or tutorials from which to choose. However, what’s important is choosing an idea that matches the interior and feel of your home. And, since we know our readers have different tastes – we’ve compiled no less than 13 creative ways to help brighten your dark room. That way you have plenty of options to choose from, and everyone’s happy. 

Here are some of the easiest and most effective ways of lighting up dreary rooms without expending too many resources like time or money. 

1. Use mirrors

Adding reflective surfaces can make a dark space feel less imposing by spreading the light (be it natural or otherwise) to more corners of the room. Plus, if you place mirrors in strategic spots, you can even utilise the light from your hallway to brighten up the room. Also, placing a large mirror just opposite a window can help add more light. If you don’t believe us, read up on Egyptian mirror lighting.

Room with large mirror and bench 

2. Choose a door with windows

To add natural light to a low-light setting, simply switch the current door you have with one that has a small window on it. Doing so will naturally allow light to flood into the dark space and make the room feel less shadowy. While this may not work too well for bedrooms, it’s great for other areas such as foyers or laundry rooms

3. Angle your furniture strategically

If your living room doesn’t have enough light and appears dour because of this, try setting the furniture pieces in the room to face the light source. This trick will come in particularly handy for people who have bright white or light coloured furniture because the light hitting the furniture will bounce off the room. Also, ensure you have no piece of furniture blocking (like bookshelves or wall units) off the light in any way. 

4. Choose the right wall colours 

A time-honoured way of lighting up a dark room is choosing the right paint colour for your walls. You can play it safe and opt for white paint or white walls if your furniture is dark. Or you can add a beige or cream colour scheme to make sure the room appears well-lit. 

Adding light tones to the walls doesn’t mean your room has to be devoid of colour. You can add splashes of colour through bedspreads, throw rugs, etc. If you have a mind to make the room appear vivid, you can try the pastel version of any colour. Yellow and light green seem to work well too. 

5. Add a light coloured rug

Ask any interior designer, and they’ll tell you dark furniture plus dark hardwood floors can spell disaster for lighting in a room. But that’s where a light coloured area rug can come to your rescue. Just make sure you get a rug of the right size. Plus, it’ll really help if you can colour your walls or ceiling white to ensure the room doesn’t feel too restrictive. 

Simple room with beige sofa,light walls and light colored rug

6. Skip curtains and blinds

Heavy draperies and window treatments can take away the little light you have to play with and make a dark room feel more cramped. However, if the dull space happens to be your living or dining room, you can skip the curtains and blinds entirely to ensure there’s nothing to block off the light.

7. Select light furniture 

Dark colours tend to absorb the light more than their lighter counterparts. That’s why having dark furniture in a room can affect the ambience negatively at times. If you have the option of a furniture makeover, try and select light coloured ones for your small room. You can opt for a light brown colour palette for the best results. Don’t worry if your wood flooring is the same shade – light brown is the safest option for home decor

8. Invest in recessed lighting

Don’t have enough space for table lamps and other types of resting lights? No problem. Try and use recessed lighting to brighten up your interior design. One of the biggest advantages of recessed overhead lights is that it spreads the lightbulbs across the ceiling – which means there’s no centralised lighting that leaves the corners of a room untouched. 

However, if the recessed lighting is a bit over budget, you can always opt for a floor lamp or two for the corners of the space. Choose a floor lamp with metallic accents to make the room look more radiant if you can manage it. 

9. Keep your light fixtures minimalist

We know what you’re thinking. How does keeping the lights to a minimum make a room appear brighter? Sometimes, fixtures like chandeliers can take away from the light they’re giving off because they’re so difficult to ignore. Big, bulky lights will tend to become the focal point of the room. However, a few well-placed flush mounts or sconces can generate just as much light and keep the focus where it belongs – on the brightness. 

Modern room with curtains cover the wall space beside window

10. Create the illusion of windows

One of the few design tips that not many people utilise is creating the illusion of a window. That doesn’t mean you draw a hyper-realistic window on your wall. Most of the time, it’s to do with making the window in the room appear bigger than it is. You can do this by adding light coloured or white curtains to cover the wall space beside the window. The light entering from the window will light up the curtains and make the setting seem more luminous. If you don’t know how to place your curtains, we got your back.

11. Minimise your decor

We know everyone tends to get a little overenthusiastic at places like Ikea, but sometimes it’s best to keep your decor limited. If your DIY decorations are getting a little out of hand, remove a few pieces from the room. Too many items cluttering up a room can cause it to feel dreary and claustrophobic. By opening up space, you can improve the overall feel and make the area appear larger than it is. 

12. Add metallics

Like mirrors, metallic objects tend to reflect light. You up the light factor of your living room by adding metallic artworks, light fixtures, or go big by adding a metallic mirror. Plus, adding metallic objects to a room tends to make it feel more opulent and luxurious

13. Opt for a matte finish 

What we’re about to say may sound a little confusing at first. Shiny surfaces are very good at reflecting light. But when it comes to paints, a matte finish is often a much better option than a glossy finish. Paints with a glossy finish also tend to create a glare that produces an unaesthetic look. Matte colours, on the other hand, reflect light evenly and suit better in small spaces

Dark room with blue armchair

Like we said right in the beginning, there are numerous DIY methods of brightening up any dull room in your home. Hopefully, you’ve found a winning solution in the thirteen methods we’ve highlighted in our article. Remember that you may have to do some research to ensure your room turns out exactly the way you want it. And, even if things don’t work out the first time, there’s nothing to stop you from trying again!

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