A dark room can easily feel small and cramped, even claustrophobic, and it is difficult to imagine enjoying spending a significant amount of time in such a space. However, if you have a room in your home that does not get a lot of light, there are some easy ways to brighten it up.
The most obvious idea is to increase the amount of light that comes into the room, but it is not always possible to add a new window or enlarge an existing one.
If you cannot augment the light coming in from outside, the next best thing is to improve the lighting inside the room. You can install additional light fixtures, use brighter light bulbs, or paint the walls and ceiling in a warm color. Another way to brighten a dark room is to add mirrors.
As you can see, all is not lost if you have a dark room in your home. With a bit of creativity, you can quickly transform it into a brighter, more inviting space. Below, we have listed some more ideas to help you get started.
Add a Window or a Skylight
As we mentioned above, one of the best ways to brighten a dark room is to add a window or enlarge an existing one. If the layout and structure of your home allow it, it will make a massive difference in how light and airy the space feels.
So, start by assessing whether it is possible to enlarge an existing window or add a new one. If you are unsure, it is always best to consult a professional. In some cases, adding a window could be undoable (or impractical), but you might be able to install a skylight instead.
Fixed flat glass rooflights, for example, are a great way to let natural light into a room without making any structural changes. You can also find openable skylights that can help ventilate the space.
Paint the Walls and Ceiling
If you want to make a noticeable difference quickly (and without spending too much money), painting the walls and ceiling is a great option.
Light colors will reflect more light than dark colors, so opt for something bright and airy, like white, cream, or pastels. You could also try a pale blue, green, or pink. Just avoid dark colors like black, navy, or brown, as they will absorb light instead of reflecting it.
If you do not want to paint the entire room, you could just paint one accent wall to create a focal point.
Be Smart With Artificial Lighting
If you cannot rely on natural light to brighten up your space, you need to be strategic with your artificial lighting. The key is to have multiple light sources at different levels so that the light can bounce around the room and eliminate any dark corners.
One overhead light might be enough to light up a small room. Nonetheless, you will need a few lamps or wall sconces for a larger space. Floor lamps are great for adding light without taking up too much space, and they come in various styles to suit any room.
You could also try installing track lighting or recessed lighting. Just make sure the bulbs you use are bright enough to make a difference.
Play With Mirrors
Another way to reflect light and brighten up a dark room is to use mirrors. You can hang them on the wall or place them on a shelf or a piece of furniture.
For the best results, place the mirror opposite a window so that it reflects the natural light coming in. You could also try grouping a few small mirrors together to create a bigger reflective surface. Still, be careful not to go overboard because too many mirrors can make a space feel like a funhouse.
Choose Light Curtains or Drapes
If your room has windows, one way to make the most of the natural light is to choose curtains or drapes that are light in color and made from a sheer fabric. This way, the light will be able to filter through without being blocked by heavy materials.
You could also try hanging the curtains higher than the window so that more light can enter the room. Remember not to block any heat vents or air conditioning units. Furthermore, avoid heavy materials like velvet as they will absorb light instead of letting it through.
Buy a Bright Area Rug
If you have hardwood floors or tiles, they can make your room feel cold and impersonal. Try buying a bright area rug to cozy things up and add some color. Doing so will help make the space more open, warmer, and inviting.
Choose a material that will not show dirt and stains easily, as a light-colored rug will require more upkeep than a dark one. Moreover, ensure the rug is large enough to anchor the furniture in the room and that the color compliments the walls and other decor elements. You do not want it to stick out like a sore thumb.
Invest in Light or Transparent Furniture
If your room is on the small side, you might want to consider investing in light or transparent furniture. It will help create the illusion of more space as opposed to bulky, dark furniture that will make the room feel smaller.
Glass tables are an excellent way to add surface area without making the room feel cluttered. You could also look for chairs and other pieces made from light-colored wood or metal. And, if you really want to go all out, you could even try acrylic furniture. Just be careful not to go too overboard — too much transparency can make a space feel stark and uninviting.
The Bottom Line
There are many ways to brighten a dark room, but the most important thing is to be strategic about it. You want to ensure you have a good mix of natural and artificial light and that the light can bounce around the room, so there are no dark corners.
You also want to be careful not to make the space feel too cramped by going overboard with furniture or décor. Keep things light and airy, and choose pieces that reflect light rather than absorb it. With patience and creativity, you can quickly transform a dark room into a bright and inviting space!