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How to Brighten up a Dark Room

by Jan Mh on February 16, 2015

How to Brighten up a Dark Room

Three Methods:

 Getting Creative With Lighting and Color

Sprucing Up the Accessories and Furniture

Making Structural Changes

If there's a room in your house that's a bit dim, there are many tricks you can use to brighten it up right away. Changing the lighting and color will make a dramatic difference, and choosing lighter furniture and decorations can also help a room feel spacious and bright. If you want to make a bigger investment, adding windows and replacing the flooring will change your room from a cave to a haven. See Step 1 to learn more about how to brighten up a room.

Method 1 of 3: Getting Creative With Lighting and Color

  1. Brighten up a Dark Room Step 1 Version 2.jpg
    1
    Paint the ceiling white. If the room's ceiling is painted a dark color, or has dark wooden beams, it is probably casting a pall over the entire room. Buy a can or two of white paint and give the ceiling a fresh coat. The bright white will reflect light instead of absorbing it, and you'll be amazed at what a difference it makes.
    • If you prefer to use color instead of plain white, try a pale yellow, mint or cream.
    • Even if you don't paint the walls white, painting the ceiling white will still make a big difference.
  2. Brighten up a Dark Room Step 2 Version 2.jpg
    2
    Limit accent colors. You might be tempted to paint the room your favorite rich, deep color, but it's best to save bright and bold colors for accent walls or trim. In a dark room, a deep color won't look brilliant - it'll just add to the dark feel of the space. If you absolutely must use dark blue, green, red or another rich color, choose one small wall to paint, and paint the rest in a much lighter color.
    • Another way to incorporate some color without making the space darker is by adding a stenciled accent trim along the ceiling. Buy or make a stencil in a shape that suits your taste - flowers, leaves, and abstract designs are popular - and use your favorite paint color to make a pretty pattern.
    • Painting the baseboards and door trim a contrasting color is another way to add a festive touch to the room without making it too dark.
  3. Brighten up a Dark Room Step 3 Version 2.jpg
    3
    Make full use of natural light. If you're working with a dark room, chances are you don't have a lot of natural light coming in, but it's important to make the most of what you have. If your windows are covered with dark shades or blinds, you're blocking out your best chance for brightening up the room. Instead of keeping your blinds closed, try the following:
    • Choose airy, light-colored window coverings that don't completely block out the light. For example, cream-colored linen or canvas curtains will provide privacy while still allowing the sunshine to filter into the room.
    • If you prefer blinds, look for cloth blinds in a light fabric that isn't completely opaque. Avoid wooden or plastic blinds that block out all of the light.
  4. Brighten up a Dark Room Step 4 Version 2.jpg
    4
    Replace overhead lights with soft perimeter lights. Harsh overhead lighting can actually highlight the fact that a room is naturally dark. Instead of flooding the space with fluorescent lighting, choose your artificial lighting carefully so that it looks as natural and pleasant as possible.
    • Track lighting can really brighten a space without creating a harsh atmosphere.
    • Use plenty of strategically-placed floor lamps with light-colored shades to diffuse light all over the room.
  5. Brighten up a Dark Room Step 5 Version 2.jpg
    5
    Use diffused lighting. If you have a dark corner or a room where there's no ceiling fixture, use multiple lights pointed towards the ceiling and walls. This reflected light provides a soft, overhead glow which minimizes harsh shadows.
    • Candles shouldn't be overlooked as a pleasant source