Ideas to Make a Dark Room Feel Lighter
January 14, 2022

Ideas to Make a Dark Room Feel Lighter

Most homes have at least one room that always seems a little dim. Shadows are cast by the current light fixtures, or the windows never quite catch full sun.

Dark rooms are usually a simple oversight in home design. The architects built a floorplan they understand, the last homeowners installed a light fixture they like, but the light just never comes together. So, how do you brighten a dark room?

Fortunately, a dim room is easier than you might think to brighten up using some different techniques.

1. Start from the Outside and Move in!

Trim Outdoor Trees and Shrubs

Not enough light from the windows? See what you can do about that. To bring more light in from outdoors—see what is blocking your windows. If you have shade trees or shrubbery, they might be blocking a little too much sunlight from reaching the windows of your room creating a gloomy feel. Trim back a few tree branches and shorten or thin out your shrubs to get more sunlight into those windows that need it most.

Change Heavy Curtains for Gauzy Film & Clean the Windows

Remove window screens and wash both sides of each window - inside and out. If you have heavy curtains, pull them back or fully replace them with gauzy film curtains that diffuse sunlight instead of blocking it. This will allow more sunlight into the room, even if your windows aren't facing the right direction to get a great deal of mid-day sun to help brighten things up.

Repaint the Walls with Lighter Colors and Glossy Paint

Does the room feel gloomy from wall to wall? Maybe it's the walls themselves. Replace dark paint and paneling with light colors. A bright cream wall and cheerful accent colors can brighten a room's feel, while a higher gloss paint texture will literally reflect more light through the room. Some people even add high-gloss details to the ceiling to help reflect light back down into the room. A little paint strategy can go a long way for a dark space.


2. Look at your Light Sources:

Clean the Light Covers and Change the Light Bulbs

For many homes, that feeling of darkness comes from dust obscuring your light sources or dull, dim bulbs. Take out those old bulbs and replace them with fresh LEDs, perhaps smart bulbs that can dim and color-change on command. Then wipe down or wash your light covers. You might be surprised just how much dust can hide in a light fixture, and how much brighter a room becomes without it.  

Replace the Light Fixture with a More Illuminating Design

Sometimes, the issue is simply an under-sized light fixture for the space. The right solution may be to replace a small flush light or a single pendant with a more expansive multi-bulb light fixture with the lumen power to reach the walls. This is your opportunity to reflect your own decorative tastes in room design while improving the overall function and appearance of a once-dark room. Look into chandeliers, multi-point pendants, and creative sculpture light fixtures that both brighten and modernize the space.

Line the Shadowy Corners and Shelves with LED Light Strips

If it is still dark, LED light strips are a great addition to any rooms’ dark corners, especially if you have a lot of built-in storage and shelving. A few lines of LED diodes can create hidden lights that make your shelving glow. Some homeowners like to place LED strips around the upper ring of the wall or ceiling for corner lights without corner light fixtures, while others give televisions a back-glow that can subtly brighten a family room or den.

Place Multi-Level Lamps Around the Room

Need light in every corner of the room? Go for a collection of decorative lamps instead. This is a great opportunity for an eclectic bohemian style, to indulge in the trend for mixed metal finishes, or to elegantly coordinate each lamp placement and shade design. Lamps are best in a large room design with a variety of seating and surface locations. Combine floor lamps, table lamps, and sconces to create the warm, welcoming room design you're going for.

Install a Grid of Canister Lights to Brighten Every Corner

Of course, the best way to brighten a dark room from corner to corner is canister lights. Combined with a central decorative light fixture, installing a grid of canister lights provides an incredible ability to illuminate the space when the time comes to clean or find that missing remote. With a dimmer switch, canisters can provide excellent ambient mood lighting, by creating the same level of light - bright or dim - throughout the entire room.

3.  Lighten the Décor

 Use Mirrors to Reflect and Enhance Existing Light

Mirrors are one of those great non-permanent techniques to brighten any room. Mirrors reflect and multiply the existing light even better than light colors and glossy paint. Hanging a decorative mirror or two in just the right place - like across from the windows or angled from the best light - can enhance the light in any room.

 Hang Bright or Metallic Decorations

You can also make a dark room feel lighter with your choice of wall décor. A room with beautiful dark panels that you don't want to paint can be brightened with warm framed prints that bring pale colors to the dark design. If pale prints aren't your style, metallic wall sculptures and decals can serve a similar purpose with more flash and elegance. Metallic wall art is a decorative cross between mirrors and prints for both bringing color to the room and reflecting light to brighten the space.

 Bright Rugs and Pale Wood Flooring

The floors can also make a difference in brightening a dark room. For a quick solution, lay down a new rug. Pale rugs reflect light and make the room seem lighter, while brightly colored rugs bring personality and the impression of brightness to the room. For a more serious project, replace dark floors with new pale tile or wood board flooring. Pale wood floors are especially great at both increasing light reflection and the feeling of light in the room.

Furnish with Lighter Colored and Smaller Furniture

Swap out heavy, old furniture for lighter pieces - both in color and size. As comfy as they may be, old couches and huge leather chairs tend to make a room feel darker and stodgier, while spindly chairs and light woods like bamboo make a room feel airy and spacious. If you're looking to completely transform a room without major renovation, changing the furniture is a great way to go.


Do you have a gloomy room that needs to look and feel lighter? If it is the kitchen, a new white Fireclay sink might be the answer!  We can help with a beautiful sink upgrade to make your kitchen glow. Contact us today for more information.