Figuring out how you can brighten a dark and gloomy room is always a challenge when moving into a new space. This is especially true if your new place is void of large windows to allow natural sunlight in. Fortunately, there are several easy ways to decorate your home to transform it into a brighter abode.
Whether you are renting or you own your home, these awesome ideas can help to brighten any dark bedroom, kitchen or living room. *Source
It’s age-old advice to use mirrors to expand visual space and brighten a dark room. However, to use your mirrors to their fullest potential, make sure to strategically place them near a light source. For example, a giant wall or floor mirror near a window can really amplify natural lighting. Placing table lamps or a floor lamp next to a mirror can also have a similar effect. For the best result, make sure that the lamp emits ambient lighting so it’s not too bright when reflected off the mirror.
2. Fairy lights, candles, and other ambient light sources
If you’re looking to add just a touch more light without overdoing the luminosity of your room, you should try to decorate with some long fairy light strings, a group of large candles, orb lights, or other ambient lights. Not only will they offer just the right touch of luminosity, but also add tremendous charm and a therapeutic feel. So long as they have warm, yellow light, they will be perfect for your home. They create an intimate, hygge-like atmosphere that can effortlessly make even the most rugged industrial decor feel chic.
3. Pick lighter colour or transparent furniture
We usually choose our sofas, chairs, and tables based on our personal style and what we think goes best together. That said, always consider how your furniture decisions impact the lighting level of your home. A small, dim room? A large, gray or navy sofa is probably not the best idea! A stylish, compact sofa in a lighter colour like white, beige, or ivory will make your room look and feel a lot bigger and more spacious. More importantly, avoid walnut wood tables, bed frames or TV stands. Instead, consider something like a transparent acrylic coffee table.
4. Cover floors with a large, bright area rug
Brighten your room by treating your bare floors to a light coloured rug. Not only will this add some softness and texture to your floors, but it will also make your floor glow. This is especially applicable if your dim space features dark floorboards. When selecting a colour for your rug, you can opt for white/ivory, yellow, or some warmer hue combinations. To help expand visual space, make sure the rug is of larger size.
5. Embrace white walls
Every decor guide you read probably mentions this, but it’s true – white really is the best solution to brighten a dark room. White sends light bouncing around your space, reflecting back onto other surfaces and making the space look much bigger than it is. Feel that white is just too boring? Consider adding ornamental trims on the ceilings for added texture, or paint one side with a refreshing colour for some diversity.
6. Deep clean your windows
This is such an obvious but oft-ignored tip. Like wearing glasses with smudges on them, a room with stained windows will feel dirty and limit visibility. Get a proper glass cleaning agent and wipe down your windows – inside and out. You will immediately enjoy the feeling of freshness that comes along with it, and be surprised by how much natural light your room was able to invite.
The most beautiful rooms are often bursting with natural light. Not only can this make the space seem even bigger than it is, but it also adds complex and dynamic ambiance as the day gradually shifts from day to night. So take advantage of whatever windows you are provided, and make sure to deep clean them at least once a year.
7. Opt for light beige/gray curtains
Simplify your window treatments by opting for light curtains on both sides of your windows. You can choose either blackout curtains or light drapes – either way, just make sure the colour is some shade of beige or light gray. For blackout curtains, a very light gray is a great investment (no real blackout curtain will be truly ivory or beige).
8. Pick minimalist, low-to-ground furniture
Stuffing an already-dim room with oversized furniture will cast more shadows, leading to an even darker feeling room. To avoid this, make sure to buy minimalist furniture that lies low to the ground. Set a maximum height for your furniture and make sure that each piece falls below the set height. That means omitting that bookcase, no matter how nice it looks. Leave ample space between furniture pieces – the empty areas will offer themselves up to lighting opportunities. This philosophy is core to mid-century modern design and is likely why the style became so popular – it plays so well with lighting!
9. Don’t overdo it with wall art
A common mistake when it comes to decorating is trying to do too much. This is especially true when it comes to accessories like art. Even if you live in a mansion, as long as a room struggles with lighting, its walls should be as bare as possible so that all the light can be reflected. A single large dark wall art or a collection of photographs can really impede your efforts in brightening the space. For a dimly lit room, pick a maximum of 3 pieces out of either a wall mirror, light tapestry/wall hanging, or lightly-toned wall art that sets the mood.
10. Aim your lights at the walls or ceiling
Instead of simply aiming your lights every which way, try illuminating the walls or ceiling. This is opposed to a bright light focused on a narrow area on the floor or a soft ambient light that offers minimal luminosity.
You can do this with a wall sconce or torchiere floor lamp. When you wash the walls/ceiling with light, you infuse every corner of the room with a warm glow, making it feel cozy yet spacious.