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How to Brighten a Dark Room in 11 Easy Ways

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If you’re unhappy with the amount of natural light you have in some of the rooms in your house, you’re not alone. 

Many people have a room in their house which is darker than others because it doesn’t get a lot of natural light

The good news is that if you want to know how to brighten a dark room, there are lots of easy and affordable ways to make a dark room feel much brighter

Here are the very best ways to brighten up a dark room and make your space look instantly lighter. 

1. Choose the right paint color for a dark room

White walls are the usual recommendation when it comes to how to brighten a dark room, and white really is one of the best paint colors to make a dark room look brighter. 

However it’s important to note that there are lots of different shades of white paint and not all of them are suitable to be used in darker spaces

Some shades of white are much better suited to a dark room as they can add much needed warmth to a dull and gloomy room. 

If have a north-facing room, the light coming in will have a grey tone to it and therefore the grey undertones in cool white paint will be enhanced

Avoid cool tone whites and instead go for a white paint with a warmer, yellow undertone. 

The best warm white paints to brighten a dark room:

  • Farrow & Ball Wimborne White
  • Earthborn White Clay
  • Dulux Fine Cream
  • Little Greene Linen Wash
  • Lick White 03

Warm whites will make your room look brighter and take out any of the gloominess you can sometimes get in a dark room. 

light room with white walls

2. Switch out heavy curtains and blinds

The goal here is to let as much light in through your windows as possible. 

A good way to increase the amount of light coming in to a darker room is to ensure the window is free from anything that might block even a little light coming through. 

This is really important if you have small windows

You can maximize the amount of light that comes in through your windows by replacing heavy curtains or blinds with airy, gauze-like curtains that can be tied back during the day. 

light curtains in a bright room

Sheer curtains won’t block rays of light as much and will make your room feel brighter. 

3. Use mirrors to reflect light around the room

Mirrors are a really useful tool to use when wanting to know how to brighten a dark room, and where you place mirrors in a room can be a game changer. 

A really good tip for brightening up a dim room is to hang a mirror on the opposite wall from a window. This hack can make a huge difference because the reflection of the window makes it appear that there is another window in the room. 

The effect this has on a low-light room is incredible

how to make a room brighter with a mirror

You can also place a large mirror on the wall adjacent to a window. 

This trick can make even the darkest room look instantly brighter because it reflects light back and out into the room. 

4. Make the floor look lighter

Dark flooring can make a dark room feel even darker. 

If you have dark wood on the floor, consider replacing this with a lighter color like a light oak or beech color. 

The same applies if you have dark carpets. 

You can also paint floorboards with a white or similarly pale color paint. 

If replacing dark floors is not an option, try adding a large light colored area rug which will also have a brightening effect. 

5. Utilize artificial light around the room

If your room doesn’t get a lot of natural light, you can manipulate the brightness of a room with artificial light sources

To start with, try using brighter light bulbs than you currently have to brighten up your room. 

If you have just a single bulb in the ceiling, consider adding more overhead lights like spotlights. 

A great interior design trick to is use lots of different types of light fixtures at varying levels around the room. 

how to brighten a dark room with artificial lighting

For example, incorporate wall lights, floor lamps and table lamps in addition to overhead lighting, and angle these so the light is aimed at your walls. 

By casting light on walls and ceilings, the rays are reflected back from these flat surfaces and into the room, making it look brighter

Use other ambient light sources like candles and fairy lights to light up dark corners of the room too, which will also make a small room feel more spacious. They’re also really useful when it comes to how to make your room cozy.  

6. Keep furniture and accessories to a minimum

In a room with little natural light, try a minimalist approach to furniture and ornaments. 

When it comes to how to brighten a dark room, this tip is a great way to ensure more light is able to flood the room. 

Go for minimal furniture in a small and dark room. 

Declutter shelves, your coffee table and windowsills to make sure as much natural light as possible can flood the room. 

Furniture that is raised off the floor and has space beneath it is a great option too to make a dark space feel brighter. 

7. Use metallics to reflect light

Using metallic furniture and accessories is a great idea when it comes to how to brighten a dark room. 

Metallic ornaments and furniture have a reflective surface which bounce a lot of light back out into a room. 

An interior designer will often use this trick in a small space or a room with a lack of natural light. 

mirror reflecting light in a dark room

Mirrored furniture has a similar effect in a dark room. 

If your dark room is north-facing you may want to add warmth to the space as well. In this case, you should go for metallic gold accents as silver has a very cool tone

Warmer metallics will brighten a dark room and help to negate any grey tones coming in from the natural light. 

8. Keep your windows really clean

Cleaning your window in a dark room is the first thing you can try to help brighten up the entire room. 

It’s amazing the difference a sparkling clean window can make. 

It lets in more light as well as just giving the room a clean and open feel because you can see the outside space more clearly. 

Carry out regular window treatments to keep glass free from streaks, marks and water drops both inside and out. 

Consider hiring a regular window cleaner to come to your house once a month to keep your windows in excellent condition. 

Windows play a pivotal role in determining the amount of natural light that enters your space. If you’re considering renovations or upgrades, rethinking your window choices can be a game-changer for dark spaces.

When it comes to new windows Ottawa experts emphasize that the right models can not only significantly increase the amount of sunlight entering a room but reduce energy costs by maintaining room temperature and avoiding the need for artificial lighting.

9. Use light colored furniture

Avoiding dark colors when it comes to furniture is one of the easiest ways to brighten a dark room.

Dark wood in a home office, living room or dining room is a common design concept but it’s not suitable for a room with a lack of light. 

bright white home office

Instead, go for white or pale colored furniture like a light wood color. You can even use transparent furniture such as ghost chairs to allow as much light to circulate as possible. 

An affordable option is to paint dark furniture a light color too so that it instantly looks brighter. 

10. Keep soft furnishings on the pale side 

Just like with furniture, soft furnishings like throw pillows in darker colors can leave a room looking darker. 

Replacing dark bedding, cushions and throws with items in pale colors is the best way to instantly make a room look brighter and lighter. 

Keep dark colors in the room to a minimum and make light colors your go to when it comes to decor. 

11. Add bright colors via artwork and greenery

Most advice when it comes to how to brighten a dark room involves using lighter colors in rooms to add an airy feel and help to bounce light around the room. 

However, if you find lots of pale colors a little boring for your tastes you can add some visual interest with pops of color. 

For example, add a bright painting or two as wall hangings to add splashes of color to your otherwise pale wall color. 

gauze curtains letting in natural light to a dark room

Indoor plants can also be your best friend as they breathe life into a dark room while adding some greenery. 

You can get house plants at places like Fiddle & Thorn to help bring a little more freshness to your home. 

The goal when it comes to how to brighten a dark room is to bring in as much natural light as possible and make the most of the light you do have. 

Increasing natural lighting throughout your living space is a good way to save money by using less artificial light sources. 

However, ambient lighting and the clever use of furniture and home decor can also work wonders to make a dark room brighter. 


What color paint reflects the most light?

White paint reflects the most light and should be used in dark rooms to make them look brighter. Take care to use the right shade of white paint to avoid enhancing any grey tones from your natural light. 

Whites with a yellow undertone are a great choice because they enhance warm light tones that make a room feel brighter and cheerier. 

​What is the best paint finish for a dark room?

Paint with a glossy finish like a gloss or satin paint is ideal as a paint finish for a dark room because these types of paint reflect light back around the room, making it look brighter. 

However, be very careful with satin or gloss paints as they also show up any imperfections in walls. It’s best to go for a light matte color instead if your walls have any bumps, scratches or dents. 

How do you make a dark room feel warm? 

To make a dark room feel warmer and more inviting, avoid cool tones in paint and soft furnishings. Instead, go for lighter colors with yellow or red undertones which adds a touch of warmth and neutralizes any grey tones from the natural light. 

How do you get natural light in a room without windows? 

To bring natural light in to a room that has no windows at all, replace solid doors with oak doors with glass panels. Glass doors will allow natural light from other rooms to flow into the dark room. 

You could also consider adding a skylight to a room that doesn’t have enough wall space for a window to be added. 

How do you paint a dark room light?

To cover dark paint on the walls, you will first need to use a white primer over the dark paint to block out as much of the dark color as possible. This will not only help to hide the darker paint but will also provide a clean canvas for your new color.

Using a white primer first will make sure the lighter color you have chosen as your final finish on the walls will come out true without the undertones of the dark paint appearing underneath. 


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Melissa Jane Lee
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