Summer is right around the corner, which means it’s time to turn over a new leaf after the dark, cold winter if you haven't yet this spring. If there’s one thing that can dramatically impact how you feel in a room, it’s lighting. A bright room will lift the spirits and make a space feel larger, while a dark room will feel small and potentially cramped. Without needing to do any major renovations, you can add certain elements to your home to maximize light as the days grow longer.
Here are some of our favorite tips to brighten a room and create a warm glow, even if there are no windows.
1. Opt for a Light Room Palette
It may seem obvious, but we recommend using light colors of paint, furniture and accessories when trying to brighten a room. Dark colors absorb light, whereas bright colors bounce the light around. Add in metallic accents to further brighten your space and give it a luxurious feel.
2. Add Mirrors
Mirrors reflect light and help a space appear larger, so bringing several into your room will inevitably help brighten everything. To make the most of your mirrors, try placing them across from your window or next to light fixtures. Reflective surfaces like a mirror-topped coffee or side table are also ideal. You can also use a large wall mirror – this works particularly well in a bedroom.
3. Hang Bright Artwork
Another simple way to brighten a room is to hang colorful, bright artwork. We recommend choosing one large work to display, rather than many small works to hang on a gallery wall. This work will set the mood without making your wall feel cluttered.
4. Add a Large, Light-Colored Rug
If you have dark floors, a large, light-colored area rug can brighten a room and make it appear more spacious. Consider a cream Berber rug or any solid white, cream, or gray rug. As an added benefit, your new rug will be soft and cozy underfoot, adding an element of hygge.
5. Use Transparent Furniture
Wherever possible, you want to allow light to pass around the room. An easy way to achieve this is with the use of transparent furniture. A glass-top coffee table is a classic choice, but acrylic chairs can add a lot of style in the right situation.
6. Use Compact Furniture
Aside from your large rug and mirrors, keep everything else minimal in your dark room. Instead of a large sectional, opt for a loveseat or small sofa. Rather than a King size bed, keep yours small with a Queen or Double. Always choose light-colored upholstery rather than heavy, dark fabrics like leather. Finally, make sure you leave space between all of your furniture to allow each piece to breathe.
7. Paint the Ceiling
Here’s a fun trick that not many people know about: Painting the ceiling with a bright white, sky blue, or light yellow hue can create the effect of opening up a space. Using colors to lighten a room is simple and effective. Of course, you can always change these colors later if you change your mind.
8. Add in Greenery
Nothing makes a room feel more alive than plants. Adding in a plant or two on the coffee table or on the windowsill can make your room feel instantly fresher. Certain house plants also have the added benefit of filtering the air, which is a tangible benefit in a small room.
9. Leave Space Beneath Your Furniture
Create the illusion of having more space by using furniture that is slightly lifted off the ground to allow light to pass underneath. Chairs, tables, sofas, and ottomans with thin, delicate legs allow more light to pass than heavy pieces of furniture that sit directly on the ground.
10. Keep Your Window and Lighting Treatments Minimal
If you’re trying to maximize light, stay away from heavy, thick curtains and draperies which will block out more than you expect. Instead, opt for breezy translucent curtains or shades to lighten a room. This also applies to lampshades, which should be light in color and material to softly diffuse the light.
Now that you know all our tips on how to brighten a dark room, it’s time to put them into practice in your own home. Get started by cleaning things up and making sure there is no clutter lying around. It’s particularly important to clean your windows often to avoid a build-up of dirt. You should also remove any obstructions to your view, where possible. For example, if you have a tree that needs trimming, now is the time. We hope you enjoy your serene new space.