To brighten a dark room whilst maintaining your unique interior style remains a balancing act. Find out how.
Whether it is your own bedroom, the family room, the bathroom, or the garage, you have at some point in your life been faced with a windowless or a dark room that demanded clever thinking on your part to bring it to life in such a way that it enhances your living spaces.
From neutral and bold paint colours to chic and comfy cushions, sleek fixtures and furniture, brightening a dark room requires that you have a clear vision of the actual look that you are seeking to achieve to maintain your personal style and cohesiveness throughout your home. Here are a few suggestions to stir up your creativity.
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Pick the right colour palette
First thing first – I believe the room size, its intended use, and of course, your own interior design style does matter when it comes down to brightening a dark room. For example, the way you choose to be bold and dramatic with paint colours, tiles and eclectic wallpapers in a small powder room or a den might not necessarily be appropriate for a much larger open plan living space.
So, consider first the size of your dark room and how you intend to use it. Factoring in your own room aesthetic preferences, if you are into contemporary minimalism marked by neutral palettes, clean lines, and natural textures combined with nickel, steel or chrome materials, opt for calming off-white, brilliant white, beige, greige, and light grey hues. These colours tend to work well for large rooms as they give an airy feel to your living space and easily allow natural light to infuse your room.
For medium sized and smaller dark rooms like an office space or a dining room, an all-white ceiling paired with light to medium shades of vibrant paint colours such as dusty pink, yellow, blue or teal can add drama and personality to your room, whilst being a feast for the eyes.
If you want to pair a muted colour palette with a sprinkle of vibrant hues in your large living spaces, go for an accent wall with a colourful high gloss paint for a more daring look that will keep the conversation going between your guests long after they have departed your home. The reflective nature of high gloss paint on the accent wall will help grab natural light without disturbing the room peace.
Use mirrors and light reflective furniture
A mirror can add much needed light to a dark corner. As a seasoned traveller, I suppose by now you understand why windowless bathrooms in many high end hotels are equipped with large horizontal wall mirrors framed with small LED lights and highly reflective tiles that illuminate the whole room as you turn on the lights.
This is a clever way to brighten any dark room that you can implement in your living spaces beyond the bathroom, whether you go for a more fashionable aged mirror for your hallway or a vintage full length French country style mirror for your living room or bedroom. Beyond helping you check out how beautiful you look, the addition of a mirror can transform your space by effectively doubling up light sources and helping both natural and artificial light to bounce around the room.
For a windowless room, choose a mirror design that features traditional window frames to help create the illusion of a window within your enclosed space to make it look brighter. Cox & Cox Industrial Window Mirror and OKA UK Ikkuna Mirror are great examples of mirrors that achieve this effect.
Aside from using a mirror to make a space look more expansive, a mirrored wardrobe or console table, a glass or chrome coffee table paired with the right natural and artificial lighting and accessories can definitely help brighten a dark room. The reflective surfaces of the pieces of glass and chrome furniture help deflect attention away from the room imperfections, whilst helping magnify the room size.
Accessorise with pops of colour
Choose fixtures and home accessories with brass, gold, silver and metallic finishes to add both brightness and a touch of sophistication to any dark room you are decorating. From the door handles of a piece of furniture to decorative vases or plant pots, small figurines and sculptures, infuse your home atmosphere with eye-catchy, reflective and contrasting pieces that will add sparkle to your room by stimulating people’s senses and creative spirit.
Depending on your interior style, play with textures and patterns of your accent chairs, pouffes, cushions, throws, and storage baskets, plants and flowers to inject character into your space. Whilst the minimalist in you would go for more natural jute or rattan and earthy dried flowers to blend in with your neutral colour palette, be brave enough to throw in at least colourful throws and cushions here and there to avoid your space looking cold and clinical.
Use big colourful wall art
Sometimes all you need to make a big impact in a dark space is a large piece of colourful wall art. Not only will this add much needed brightness to your room, but it will also act as a focal point, helping to direct attention away from any imperfections in your space.
Abstract wall art from either Desenio or Abstract House are my favourite go-to places for their rather gorgeous and instagramable pieces. For more unique artworks that act as poles of attraction for various cultures such as those from Lebanese-Italian painter Ali Hassoun, Saatchi Art and Junique are great places to explore.
Consider light wood flooring
Light wood flooring tends to lend itself to a more contemporary design style whether you are using hardwood flooring (or even tiles) to brighten your dark room. A well installed light hardwood floor tends to expand a space by opening it up and creating a more spacious and airy feel, accenting the natural light. This interior decor trick makes this flooring option popular for homes with limited square footage.
Aside from making small spaces look big, light flooring lets your home decor shine in light of its colour subtlety. If you want an understated elegant floor that will allow your signature furniture pieces, polished decorative style and fun patterned wallpaper and soft furnishings to shine, this may be a great flooring option for you.
Use a cheerful rug
A rug is another decorator’s trick that works wonders for dark rooms due to its versatility. A light rug or a colourful rug truly has a transformative effect regardless of the size of the space.
I cannot tell you how relieved I am to be able to effortlessly hide away the ugly dark bathroom tiles of my rental under the gorgeous small light rugs I display on the floor, and that I happily swap weekly to bring new vibes to the space. Use a similar decor hack to ground large corners of your home with either a natural textured rug such as a Berber rug or a jute rug or opt for more colourful patterns that will add vibrancy to your space.
Be clever with your lighting
Integrate a mixture of ambient and task lighting to brighten your dark room. Crystal chandeliers are a great option to add in a formal room, because of the reflective nature of crystals that easily capture and diffuse natural and artificial lighting throughout the space.
Warm up your overall space with ambient lighting from table and floor lamps. When strategically positioned in darker areas of a home at varying heights, they can beautifully illuminate the specific spaces where you spend lots of time with family and friends such as the living room or the den. Task lamps in the study area and on your bedside table can further elevate brightness in your space.
Have you also tried using battery operated lights such as flameless LED candles or LED indoor fairy lights, ideally from Lights4Fun, to safely brightening up your hallway, staircase, or your bedroom? You will be pleasantly surprised by the showstopping decorating lighting ideas you will come up with to brighten any dark room in your home. Give it a go!
Allow natural light to flow in
If your dark room has windows, open them daily, keep them uncluttered, and opt for curtains with lighter shades to easily allow natural light to flow in. Choose unobtrusive ornaments near your window area, and make sure to position your furniture pieces such as built-in or standing shelves perpendicular to the window area for daylight to smoothly penetrate the space.