Let’s face it, we’re now spending a lot more time at home than we would ever have imagined just a couple of years back, which might well have highlighted for many, the already common challenge of brightening up those darker rooms lacking in natural light without having to go to the lengths of knocking down a wall or adding in a window. The good news is that you can transform a dimly lit room into a brighter, more uplifting space through the clever use of some easy design details even if it is just creating the illusion of increased natural light. From low-to-the-ground furniture to shimmery metallic elements, we’ve rounded up our favourite pro tips to help brighten up a room
1. Use Mirrors
Mirrors are a wonderful, age-old way to amplify what natural light is able to enter a space, ideally placed close to the light source whether it be near or directly across from a window, or next to ambient table or floor lamps, which will produce a similar effect. You can also position mirrors strategically in hallways for the purpose of reflecting light into a dark room that leads off of it.
2. Go With a White or Neutral Colour Scheme
White is ultimately the best go-to solution for brightening a dark room. It bounces light around a space, reflecting it back onto other surfaces, helping to make a space look much larger than it is. If an all-white look is just a touch too boring, consider pairing it with ornamental trims on the ceilings or with an uplifting colour on one of the walls. Alternatively, opting for light greys if you prefer cooler tones will also give the illusion of more light.
3. Consider a Lightly-Coloured Area Rug
Treat your bare floors to a brightening and uplifting area rug in white or ivory, yellow or warmer hues. Not only will it help to define and expand a specific area visually, it will also add softness, airiness and texture especially to dark hardwood or laminate floors, which can drain a lot of light from a space.
4. Try a High-Gloss Ceiling
A good way to help usher more light into a room is with a high-gloss paint colour. Glossy ceiling finishes will reflect light well and add a subtle visual edge to a space. Ensure to paint the ceiling white or a lighter shade than your ideally neutral walls to help maximise light-bounce around the room; and between your new lightly-coloured area rug and ceiling, your space will feel taller and a little less dark. Though you will want to make sure that the glossy look is not used on your walls, which can create glare; matte surfaces instead for walls will help to reflect light more equally, in every direction.
5. Opt for Light or Transparent Furniture
Furniture can impact the lighting level in a space in a big way. A bulky dark grey sofa or heavy-set wooden pieces will wreak havoc in a small room with limited light; instead consider compact pieces in white, beige or ivory. Reflective surfaces – though remember, not on the walls – can also play an effective role in helping to bounce light around a dimly-lit room such as translucent furniture, a transparent molded acrylic coffee table or other reflective pieces that are mirrored in some way.
6. Put Up Some Bright Art
Generally-speaking if a room is struggling with natural light, the walls should be as minimised as much as possible to ensure what light is entering the space can be reflected easily. While the inclusion of a vibrant artwork can help to elevate a space, consider sticking with a maximum of three wall pieces in total including that handy wall mirror and something lightly-toned. The pairing of a subtle picture light can also help to brighten up a wall and make your favourite work or art a focal point of a room.
7. Incorporate Light Fixtures
The strategic placement of indirect lighting so that you are not completely reliant on a central overhead light fixture will help reflect light off the walls to enhance the luminosity of a space, all the while inducing an intimate, hygge-like atmosphere. Aiming lights such as minimalist torchiere floor lamps or wall sconces up at the walls or ceiling will wash them in a gentle light and make a room feel cosy yet spacious. Table lamps sporting classic drum shades with top and bottom openings placed on furniture will also work effectively to spread light across the walls.
8. Consider Light Wood Flooring
If you’re a fan of wood, be it floors, trims or furniture, elements of pale or blonde woods that are light and warm can do wonders to lighten up a space. Ultimately, the lighter the floors, the lighter and brighter the room. Whether it be Scandi-inspired white floorboards, a white-washed or pale hardwood or a lower-maintenance realistic light wood-effect vinyl flooring, these options will all work hard to help make a dark room brighter.
9. Choose Paired-Back Low-Height Furniture
An abundance of oversized furniture in a space lacking in natural light is not a match made in heaven. To minimise casting more shadows that need be, try incorporating minimalist furniture that lies low to the ground. Furthermore, once you have decided on a maximum height for your furniture, ensure that every piece remains within that set height. Being sparing with the pieces you choose will also help to open up space in between, which can then be used for further light-maximising options.
10. Add a Touch of Metallics
An element of glimmery metallic elegance in gold, silver or copper is an effective way to help bounce around light and liven up a darkly-lit room. Working in the same way as mirrors, light fixtures, even artworks incorporating gold or silver, vases or simply an ornamental object will be effective in helping to reflect light, not to mention adding a luxe vibe to a space.