Painless ways to lighten up your dark rooms

Johannes van Graan Johannes van Graan
homify Windows & doors Window decoration
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Owning your own house is most definitely one of the best things in life. Waking up in your dream bedroom, showering in your perfect bathroom, and then enjoying breakfast in that faultless space that you call your very own kitchen. 

Of course moving into a house does come with its own set of challenges, like perhaps a smudged carpet. That is easily remedied, but what if your house poses a problem that can’t be rectified with carpet cleaner, like a room that is just too dark? 

There are many reasons why some houses have dark corners and gloomy rooms. It may be due to a small window that doesn't let in enough natural light. Or it can be because of dark coloured walls and floors. Whatever the cause, a lack of light can lead to a depressing space in your home design, and then that dream home might not be such a dream after all. 

Fortunately we on homify love a challenge, and that is why we have drafted up this list of hints and tips to help you combat the darkness and let in some light into your home. Granted, some of our tricks may require bit more elbow grease, but others can be accomplished quickly and effectively.

1. Bring in light colours

If your home situation does not present you with the option of severe alterations in the form of breaking in another window, then a less intrusive option is needed. One simple way to brighten up a dark room is to use the available light and to enhance that as much as possible. 

How can this be achieved? By having it reflect off as many surfaces as possible. And light colours are ideal for this job. Bring in light-coloured furniture and fittings into that dark room. Consider a crisp white sofa, paint the walls in bright and reflective tones, and hang up lightly coloured wall art to have that little ray of light bounce off these surfaces.

2. Add a skylight

A small window in a large room will most definitely be the cause for very little light. However, should that window be in close proximity to another building or some trees, it will lessen the incoming light even more. And we all know the importance of trees and how striking they can make a garden look.

So, plan B then: acquire an alternative light source. Look up. Is a skylight an option? Skylights are prime alternatives to windows, as they are not blocked by other buildings or trees, thus allowing a fresh source of light to continually stream indoors (unless, of course, the weather or nightfall intervenes).

In addition, a skylight also allows for some fantastic viewing opportunities of stars, or during thunderstorms / cloudbursts. 

Could your dark room do with a skylight?

3. The right reflection

It might be a little known fact, but mirrors are so much more than just opportunities to check your hair or touch up your makeup. They can also allow that little ray of light to reflect around a dark room, making quite a difference. 

Mirrors work very much the same way as our first tip (light colours), with the added advantage that they can reflect so much more light than a simple pale wingback or a light-coloured wall. A carefully placed mirror can also make a space appear larger than it actually is which, in turn, will make it seem brighter and more inviting. 

But try it for yourself. Hold up a simple modest-sized mirror to a window that only lets in a small amount of light, and see the impact that that little reflection can make. Now imagine what an entire floor-to-ceiling mirror can accomplish in that dark room.

4. Clear out the clutter

We have another option that can boost that little intake of light, but you’re going to have to work on your hoarding habit. 

Open up the room’s space simply by removing the clutter and clearing out any elements that take up unnecessary legroom. Getting rid of excess stuff not only adds more visual space to a room, but also makes it appear brighter, even though no extra light has been added.

Try it at home. Tackle a rather messy area and reduce the clutter considerably by putting away small items in drawers and cabinets, hiding cords and cables behind furniture, and reducing those piles of books to a small shelf or in a neatly stacked bookcase. Even better if you can get rid of bigger elements that are deemed unnecessary, like an ottoman, side table, or chair.

5. Lighten up

Since we are having trouble with the little amount of natural light, it becomes time to move on to the artificial kind. Different kinds of lighting brighten up a room in different ways. Table lamps work well to illuminate select areas, like a side table or bookcase, while floor lamps placed in a corner can lighten up a rather large area. 

Ceiling lights are the most popular forms of lighting as they work well in lighting up an entire room. But many people opt to include some form of recessed lighting to illuminate a specific part of a room, such as a painting or a shelf. 

Now, what would happen if you were to combine artificial lights with a mirror or two to increase the amount of light? Why don’t you try it and see? 

Bright idea! Be sure to scope out our wide range of professional lighting experts here on homify.

6. Windows that wow

Stunning lake-side views homify Windows & doors Window decoration

Stunning lake-side views


Of course the best way to welcome in copious amounts of natural light is by opting for large windows. Large windows are the most well-known magic trick to not only light up a dark room, but also heat it up. 

Is there a possibility that you could enlarge that small window that refuses to allow enough natural light into the room? Or would it be better, instead, to add more windows instead of enlarging the one?

Our advice would be to add more windows to the upper part of existing walls to allow for an increase in light and brightness. If possible, you might also think about converting that conventional door into larger French doors to bring about some freshness to your space. 

‘Tis time to see these: 24 Gorgeous Window Ideas You'll Love Looking Through.

7. Smooth surfaces

Bevel Brick Ceramic Kitchen Tiles The London Tile Co. Walls & flooringTiles
The London Tile Co.

Bevel Brick Ceramic Kitchen Tiles

The London Tile Co.

Another attempt at increasing the light could be to enhance the brightness factor by bringing in smooth surfaces. This works very much the same way as mirrors: the existing light that enters the room hits a smooth surface and then reflects off it.

If this sounds like a possibility, then you may want to consider installing light and smooth reflective cabinets and work surfaces into your dark kitchen. Smooth, reflective white tiles can easily brighten and lighten up a dark bathroom, while a dark entry hall can be improved drastically (and stylishly) by installing glossy white floor tiles.

Which idea(s) did you find the brightest?

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