Unique lights brightening up a dark room

It’s Lit: How to Brighten a Dark Room

March 31, 2020

Your home isn’t just a place to sleep at night. It’s a haven of respite from the stresses of the everyday world and a place to celebrate life’s precious moments. But if the lighting in your home is inadequate, it can put a damper on making those special memories. Make everyone from family members to guests feel welcome in your home with these simple tips for brightening up a dark room to make dreary interiors disappear.

Figure Out Which of Your Rooms Needs More Lighting

Start by assessing the lighting in each room of your home. Inadequate lighting not only makes it difficult to see and perform everyday tasks, but it can also make it feel dark, drab, and depressing. Go through the different rooms during the day and especially after dusk.

If your rooms don’t have any natural light, are they illuminated well enough for their purposes? Kitchens, offices, and studies need to have bright lighting for things like cooking, business tasks, and homework. Playrooms should have good lighting for safety and activities. Some rooms, like dining rooms and bedrooms, may need lighting options like dimmers or warmer bulb colors to provide the ambiance you want.

Once you know which rooms need more light, you can get to work on brightening them up!

1. Add Quick and Simple Lighting Additions

Make a list of the lighting needs for each room and consider the options. Here are some easy ways for brightening up a dark room with light fixtures:

  • Add accent lighting with table lamps in main areas like living rooms, dining rooms, and entryways.

  • Create a fresh, modern look with tall floor lamps.

  • Look for light sources that have large, light-colored shades to add brightness and openness to the room.

  • Install adjustable dimmer switches to vary the level of lighting.

  • Add sconces or wall lights in darker areas like hallways, corners, or nooks that don’t receive much natural light.

Light-colored furniture for brightening up a dark room

2. Brighten a Dark Room With Light-Colored Furniture

If a room feels dark and cramped, updating your furniture could be the solution. Sofas, sectionals, chairs, benches, ottomans in soft neutrals or pastels will make the room feel brighter and more alive. Colors like white, cream, icy gray, pale blue, soft tan, and more can create a soft, airy ambiance.

Refreshing your existing furniture can completely transform a room and make the space feel lighter and more open. For areas where you may not want to add an entire set of furniture, incorporate accent pieces like end tables, benches, or chairs.

3. Make a Room Brighter With a Fresh Paint Color

A new paint color is another simple way to create a big impact when it comes to brightening up a dark room. Consider painting all the walls a light color or a pale neutral. You could also choose one wall for an accent shade and paint the other three in a lighter hue.

Choosing paint finishes like satin or eggshell are more reflective than flat paints and can also help make the space appear brighter. Don’t forget that a fresh coat of white paint on the ceiling can go a long way in creating a space that feels brighter and more open.

4. Use Accent Decor in Strategic Ways

Sometimes it’s the little things that can make a big difference. Use accent pieces and décor items to create a feeling of more light in a room.

Consider adding decorative mirrors on walls to help reflect light or small accent pieces with metallic or other reflective finishes. Add light or bright accent pillows, rugs, and throws to living areas. Brighten up dining rooms with new shades of tablecloths, runners, or place mats. Add artwork to the walls that incorporate light colors or airy natural scenes to create a subtle outdoor feel. Choose frames made of light-colored or bleached wood as an alternative to darker wood.

This isn’t only helpful for brightening a dark room. It also adds a unique character to your space!

Light drapes to brighten a dark room

5. Get Creative With Curtains

Another easy tip for how to brighten a dark room is by getting creative with curtain styles. Heavy draperies can make a room feel dark and closed in. Instead, consider lighter colors and fabrics to make it feel more open. Sheers, linen curtains, and cotton curtains can all have a big impact on a room.

Look for contemporary styles of curtains in light colors or subtle patterns to ramp up the style. Blinds that can be opened to let the entire window show can also help open up a room.

6. Redo the Layout of the Room

An easy, budget-friendly way to brighten a dark room is to make adjustments to the layout of furniture and decor. Move furniture away from windows so that the pieces face the natural light instead of blocking it. If the furniture arrangement feels cramped, remove extra pieces or rearrange the area so there are more open spaces. Too many items will make the space feel small and dark, so only keep a few favorite pieces of decor out and store the rest.

7. Add Indoor Plants

Adding indoor plants won’t actually increase the light level in a room, but it will give the illusion of a more open space. The integration of plants or small trees indoors lends a feeling of natural openness that can make any room feel brighter and livelier. Just remember to choose plants that don’t mind a dark room with no natural light.

8. Use Candles in a Pinch!

Having guests over and don’t have time for a more long-term lighting fix? Brightening up a dark room is simple when you add some extra candles to your decor.

Place large pillar candles or oversized candles in unique shapes in safe, uncovered areas that will help provide more light and a relaxing feel. You could also arrange groups of small votive candles together on reflective trays or mirrors to create even more light. This will help create an intimate atmosphere and a cozier living space.

Lighten Up Your Rooms and Make Everyone Welcome

From larger changes like painting your wall and buying new furniture to smaller touches like strategic decorative accents and new lamps, there are lots of options for how to brighten a dark room. When you have limited natural light, get creative to make the most of your existing decor. Your home will be shining in no time.

Renovating your basement and wondering how to brighten up this dark space with no natural light? Get the inspiration you need to create a welcoming area with our basement decorating ideas!

Find a Retailer

Independent retailers display differing selections of Fusion furniture. Fusion is represented by many independent retailers throughout the US, Canada, and Mexico.

Map of the U.S. pinpointing Fusion Furniture retailers