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Let There Be Light! 7 Design Tricks You Can Use to Brighten up a Dark Room

Photo by Nathan Fertig

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the average American spends as much as 93 percent of their lives indoors. This lack of natural light and fresh air can cause an array of physical issues as well as mental problems like anxiety and depression.

Living in a space where most of the rooms are dark and gloomy can compound these issues. Luckily, there are some design tricks that can make almost any space look brighter.

7 Design Tricks You Can Use to Brighten up a Dark Room

Keep reading to learn what interior design pros have to say about how to brighten up a dark room.

  1. How to Brighten up a Dark Room? Start With Your Lighting!

Okay, this tip seems far too obvious, but interior designers note that many times, people simply aren’t optimizing their lighting. Sometimes, easy adjustments can make a big difference.

Changes you can make include using higher wattage lightbulbs, keeping your glass lights dust-free, and switching out your recessed lightbulbs for LED versions. Not only are LED lights brighter, but they’ll also save energy and lower your power bill.

In your kitchen or bathroom, you can also add recessed lighting under cabinets to create a warm light that will give the room a cozy feel. Edison bulbs also add extra light while creating an interesting effect that gives the space an extra splash of personality.

  1. Update Your Window Coverings

If you have dark curtains hanging in the space, swap them out! Dark and/or heavy window coverings will trap any natural light that’s trying to find its way in.

Switch to lightweight, light-colored window treatments and put them up as high as possible. This one small change will immediately give the room a bright, open, and airy feel.

  1. Add Some Mirrors

Mirrors improve your space in a number of ways. They reflect light and visually expand the room. This gives you the advantages of making the entire space feel both bigger and brighter.

Try strategically placing a large mirror near your windows or doors. This way, the natural light that already comes into the space will bounce off the mirror and reflect into the rest of the room. You can also create an interesting design using multiple smaller mirrors on a single wall.

  1. Choose Your Furniture Carefully

Dark, bulky furniture can add visual weight to a room. If you have espresso-colored leather couches or large, boxy coffee tables in a dark stain, they’re not doing you any favors. Try switching them out for lighter colored options.

Furniture with legs can also do a lot to open and brighten up a room. Don’t have the money to buy all new furniture? Look into DIY solutions like re-staining your tables, purchasing furniture covers, or adding new legs to dressers and couches.

  1. Bring the Outdoors in

Decorating a room with houseplants can also bring new life into the space. Choose plants that reflect your unique personality and make the room more interesting.

Make sure you choose plants that are appropriate for the amount of space you have available. Otherwise, they can end up overwhelming the space, which will create the opposite effect.

Some great options include a simple orchid on your coffee table or a small rubber tree in the corner. If you don’t have a green thumb, take some time to research house plants that don’t require a lot of light and are easy to care for. You’ll be surprised to see how many options you have.

If your space truly doesn’t have enough light to keep a plant alive, you can create a similar effect with lifelike faux plants. Just make sure to keep them clean and dust-free.

  1. Update Your Décor on a Small Scale

While you might think that you need major renovations to brighten up your room, many times, some small décor updates will make a big difference. First, consider a fresh coat of paint. Spend some time choosing the perfect shade of white, and it will pay off!

Not sure how to pick the best paint for your space, consider consulting with an interior designer. If you live in a rental and can’t paint, consider using a light-colored removable wallpaper instead. You can also create a similar brightening effect by adding a white throw rug, pillows, and throw blankets.

Adding some open shelving to the room and getting rid of any dark cabinets will also make a big difference. This will add depth to the space and make it look brighter.

Worried about visual clutter? Purge anything you don’t really need and store any loose items you decide to keep in light-colored decorative baskets.

  1. Use Reflective Materials

While mirrors are great, you can only put so many in your home. Decorating with other reflective materials will create the same effect.

In a dark kitchen or bathroom, consider glossy subway tiles in a bright white hue. You can do this fairly inexpensively by using peel-and-stick tiles. This also gives you the advantage of being able to easily remove them if you decide you don’t like the way they look.

You can also add metallic finishes to your bedroom or living room. There are many ways to do this, including adding silver or bronze lamps, light fixtures, and decorative accessories.

Now that you know exactly how to brighten up a dark room, you’re probably excited to get started with updating your home’s décor! Make sure you browse through a few more of our blog posts for even more inspiration!

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