Interior Design Tips: How to Brighten a Dark Room

1 comment Oct 30, 2022

Ideas to Make a Dark Room Feel Lighter

With the changing of the clocks and Winter well on it's way its the time of year to get cosy and make the most of your home. With shorter daylight hours and less sun in general it highlights the fact that we all have at least one dim room in our house that doesn't get as much natural light as we'd like, making the room feel dark and duller. Here are a few tips on how to deal with this interior design dilemma with quick and easy ways to bring in some light and brightness.

Diffuser Lamp on wooden bedside with white pillows

How to brighten up a dark room

Start With the Windows

If you're not getting enough light into a room see if anything outside is blocking it. If there are trees or bushes just outside the window? Would trimming these back or thinning them out help get more sunlight into the room? Small changes will make a big impact. Get cleaning and make sure the windows and frames are sparkling and spotless inside and out to make the most of every ounce of sunlight. 

Review the Window Treatments

In darker rooms with little natural light try to steer away from heavy or bulky window treatments. Any space over the window that is taken up by curtains or blinds is blocking natural light. Have a look at your current curtains and blinds, could these be opened further or readjusted to allow more light in? A discreet black out blind can work wonders if you're looking to swap to lighter sheer curtains that allow that much needed light in during the day. If you're sourcing Roman Blinds for your darker room then look to place them on the outside of the window reveal rather than inside. This will save you a few extra inches of natural light which can really make a difference during the Winter months. 

Embrace one colour palette

Using a soft white colour palette or restricted palette of neutrals throughout one room not only gives a great backdrop for your hero and statement pieces but also gives a calming and light feel and enhance natural or artificial light. By using an eggshell finish as opposed to a flat matt you add an element of sheen which will reflect more light through the room. Avoid "Brilliant White" as all costs, its jarring on the eye, gives cold shadows and is unnaturally bright and clinical particularly in a North facing room. 

Fusion Mineral Paint Colour Swatches

Alternatively embrace one bold strong colour on all walls, woodwork and even the ceiling. Colour drenching is a bold and stylish way to expand the space and make it feel much larger than it is. It sound counter intuitive but works wonders and looks amazingly stylish.  

Layer the Lighting

This is one of the quickest wins; most rooms have a standard central pendant light or light fitting. Check the bulbs are the right lumen power for the size of the room. By replacing a single pendant with a multi-bulb light fixture you can instantly brighten and modernise a dim room.

 Battery operated lamps on a table with dried flowers in a vase

Add interest and visual space by using a mixture of light sources. Add a statement table lamp to a side table, drape some fairy lights over the mantle or in a large glass vessel. Non wired, plug in wall lights are easy to install and don't require an electrician. Look for USB rechargeable battery powered lights such as our diffuser lamp or baton lights for easy light sources without the wires, these are perfect for dark corners or nooks that don't have a plug socket nearby. Candlelight is romantic and atmospheric, mix up the styles with dinner candles, tea lights and pillar candles. 

 Fairy Lights zig zag across white hallway

Add a large mirror

The interior designers favourite trick is to use a large mirror (or two) opposite a light source such as the window. This helps to reflect and bounce the light around the space. Go as large as you can, bigger the better. There are many statement mirrors available in the High Street retailers these days in a huge variety of styles to fit every interior. I love using window style mirrors to add a focal point and depth of space to a room. 

Window mirror with black metal frame on white wall

Look at the floor

The flooring in any room is usually the surface that changes the least. Lighter toned carpets, wood or vinyl flooring are a great way of instantly changing the brightness of a space. If you don't want to change the flooring then consider a large rug in the same colour palette as the wall colour to create a cohesive look. Rugs are a great way of adding colour and texture to your room without long term commitment. Adding a shaggy rug to any room during winter adds instant cosiness. Adding pattern and colour with a rug creates a stylish impact; we love these recycled plastic rugs which amazingly feel super soft like wool and are conveniently machine washable which make them ideal for busy households. 

Furnish with Lighter Colours and Compact Pieces

Change heavy, bulky dark furniture for lighter, smaller pieces. Consider the colour and size. If you don't want to get rid of the furniture then consider a colour change with lighter paints. Fusion Mineral Paint has a stunning range of neutral colours that are easy to apply and quick drying. Dark wood such as mahogany can be transformed to feel light and modern with a lick of paint. If you're on a budget and love the furniture you already have then this is a game changer. You don't have to paint every piece of furniture, start with the largest piece in the room for the biggest impact. This will upgrade your room instantly. 

 White and Yellow Striped Painted Chest of Drawers on wooden floor with white wall

Bulky dark sofas swapped for a pale linen sofa slimline version give an instant light and airy feel and transform a sitting room. If you're looking to transform a room without major renovation or building work then changing the furniture is a great way to do it. 

Pink Linen Sofa with White Walls and plants in front of two windows

Add Gloss Surfaces

Matt finishes have been on-trend for years from paint, ornaments to kitchens and everything has been matt finish. However gloss finishes are making a come back and for good reason. By adding a high shine finish surface light is reflective and gives a more luxe look. If you have an existing accessory such as a lamp base or table that fits your design aesthetic but needs an update then consider adding a coat of gloss varnish to subtly revive and update it. Water based top coats are easy to apply and quick to dry too. Don't want to paint? Look for glossy ceramics,  glass vases and photograph frames.

 Black and White Table Lamp

Add Metallic Accessories

From light fixtures and switches, ornaments and furnishings a metallic touch or two add additional reflective surfaces to bounce the light around. It adds an extra dynamic and spark to any dark room. A metallic bowl filled with candles is a quick win for adding an additional layer of light and metallic touch. Accessorise with orange and cinnamon pot pourri over Winter for added scent and texture. Mix up with foraged sea shells and pebbles over the summer months. 

Metallic Bowl with candles and metallic plant pots with greenery

 Do you have a gloomy room that needs to look and feel lighter? We can help with our remote interior design service. Do get in touch with any questions you may have

Best wishes





1 comment

  • Kirsty Tomlinson October 31, 2022 at 6:09 am

    What a brilliant blog, a realistic eye opener filled with fab tips. A good inspirational read.

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