Does your apartment or home have a room that doesn’t receive a lot of sunlight? Decorating it the same as a brightly lit room will leave it looking dingy and dark. Luckily, there are some clever tricks you can use to brighten a dark room without drastically changing anything or breaking your budget. Knowing how to use color, lighting, and décor to your advantage can easily help you brighten any dark room or space. Below are our tips for how to brighten up a dark space:
Paint Walls With Bright Colors
If you can, freshen up a dark living room or other space with a new coat of paint. The best color for bringing light into a dark room is to paint the walls and ceiling white, as it reflects the most light. As colors get darker, they tend to absorb more light. If you are against white walls, stick to a light shade of any other color. Painting walls with a light color can easily brighten up a dark space. Adding light, reflective colors to a dark room is a great way to lighten a dark room with no natural light.
Don’t Use Glossy Paint in a Dark Room
When painting your walls, you will want to use matte paint instead of glossy. The reason for this is all in how they reflect light. Matte walls reflect light equally in every direction, while glossy walls create glare. This glare does not allow light to reflect throughout the whole room evenly. When trying to add lighting to a dark room, it’s important that light bounces easily.
Replace Your Warm Lightbulbs
Lighting for dark rooms is incredibly important, as it can completely change the space. Lightbulbs with a lower CCT (correlated color temperature) give off warmer light that looks more like the glow you would get from a fire. Choosing lightbulbs with a higher CCT in the 5000K-6500K range gives the room a cooler tone, which more accurately mimics natural daylight. Changing the lights in a dark room from a warm tone to a cool one can completely change the feel of a room. If this change is too drastic, consider lightbulbs with a slightly lower CCT.
Lighten Up Your Flooring
If you can, choose a lightly-colored carpet or wood flooring for your dark room. Another easy, affordable option is to buy a white or lightly colored rug to put down. This helps reflect light back up into the space and will make the entire room feel bigger. Just as white paint helps bounce light around a dark room, light flooring and rugs can do the same.
Use Smart Lightbulbs
To ensure that your dark room is always well-lit, replace your regular lightbulbs with smart bulbs. These can be programmed to turn off and on at certain times during the day. Set your smart lightbulbs to turn on in the morning or around dusk when it starts to get dark. That way, your room never feels too dark. As mentioned earlier, make sure to get the proper lighting for dark rooms by purchasing daylight bulbs. Adding bright lamps to your dark room can instantly make it seem more spacious.
Hang Mirrors Around the Room
Mirrors are great for reflecting light and making a dark room feel larger. Place one or more mirrors strategically around the room to help reflect light and make the room feel brighter. If there is a window in the room, aim to have at least one mirror on the wall opposite to enhance the brightness in your dark room. Mirrors are a great way to bring extra light into a room to brighten up a dark room.
Utilize Shiny Surfaces
Mirrors aren’t the only things you can use in your room to add brightness. Shiny surfaces like chandeliers, silver, brass, metallics, or acrylic all reflect light and can be used as dark room decor. Décor, like picture frames or lighting fixtures, can be an easy way to add another shiny surface to your room. Simple, small additions of shiny surfaces here and there can easily bring additional light into the space.
Add Some Life Into the Room
While houseplants won’t technically make a dark room brighter, adding greenery can actually make your space seem lighter and more lively. Use white or metallic pots for the plants to help reflect light and brighten the room. For the best results, opt for houseplants that don’t require a lot of sunlight. If you still don’t trust that you can keep them alive, fake plants will also suffice. Try not to add too many trailing plants, as they can block sunlight from the walls and actually absorb light instead of bringing it in.
Replace Doors With Glass
If you have the ability, replace all doors in the space with glass doors. Exterior glass doors will automatically let more natural light into the space. Switching interior doors to glass doors will make the room feel more spacious and allows light from other rooms to carry into this one. If you are worried about privacy, you can always apply a privacy film to the door to still allow light to come through.
Trim Outside of Windows
If you have trees or other greenery outside of your window, it could be blocking your natural light. Make sure to trim back any branches to allow the most light into your home. When planting trees, you should always avoid the southern side of your house. The trees will block valuable sunlight in the winter and won’t provide the proper shade in the summer to make it worth the loss of sunlight.
Swap Out Curtains
If you have blinds or heavy curtains in your dark space, it’s time to swap them out. Instead, choose a sheer sheet curtain that still gives you privacy but also allows plenty of light to come through your window into your room. Or, get rid of your curtains altogether and place a privacy film over your windows.
Wipe Down Your Windows
This one may be intuitive, but it’s still worthy of mentioning. Take the time to wipe down your windows on both the inside and the outside. As dirt, dust, and grime build-up, it can significantly decrease the amount of light that comes through your windows. At least once a month, take the time to wipe down your windows and make sure all possible light can shine through.
Choose an Uplight Lamp
When looking for lighting for your dimly lit room, consider buying an uplight lamp. Uplighting is ideal for dark spaces because it casts the light upwards toward the ceiling, allowing the light to bounce around the room and make the space seem brighter. Downlighting typically only casts light directly beneath it, allowing for less opportunity for light to spread.
Hang Bright Art
If your space has a dark wall, hanging light-colored art can help make it seem brighter. Choose light colors that reflect light like white, yellow, or pastels. For frames, you may choose to go with a metallic to help brighten the space even more. If you are unable to affix anything onto your walls, consider a light tapestry instead.
By implementing a few or all of these tips, you should easily be able to brighten up your dark space. Properly using color and material to reflect light can drastically change a dull space into a brighter one. For more tips on how to enjoy your home, sign up for our once-monthly blog newsletter.