How to Brighten Up a Room With These Simple Tips

how to brighten up a room

How to Brighten Up a Room With These Simple Tips

Looking to brighten up a dark spot in your house? We’ve pulled together a list of options to help you add some light to space! These tips pack a punch because light is a huge mood booster! And you can get more of it without making extensive renovations. Read on for ideas to add more light or maximize what you already have to work with! 

1. Place Mirrors Near Light Sources

You might already know that mirrors can help make a space feel bigger and brighten up a room. You can maximize this effect by placing mirrors near a source of light. Try putting your mirror near a window or situate table or floor lamps nearby to amplify the light. 

Related: Some simple ways to freshen up your home!

well lit living room

2. Choose Light or Transparent Furniture

Did you know that the furniture you choose can impact the lighting level in your space? To make your room feel more spacious and lighter, choose a compact sofa in light tones like white or ivory. Transparent acrylic pieces can also help improve the lighting. 

3. Learn to Love White Walls

Okay, this tip is pretty apparent… but it’s often a point of resistance for people. White really is a surefire way to brighten a dark room. White walls will help bounce light around and make the room feel bigger than it is. If white feels too sterile for you, consider ornamental trim to add texture. 

living room

4. Paint the Ceiling

A bright white coat of paint on your ceiling can improve the ceiling’s ability to reflect light. This will help the space feel larger and brighter. Choose an eggshell or satin finish for a super reflective effect. 

5. Place Bookshelves Perpendicular to Window Walls

Tall pieces of furniture like bookshelves can obstruct the flow of light into your room if they are placed in front of a light source. Avoid positioning these pieces in parallel to a window. Instead, place any tall pieces in your room on walls that are perpendicular to windows. Be mindful of the flow of light into the space. 

6. Use Multiple Ambient Light Sources

You can supplement the natural light your space receives with additional ambient light sources. Carefully place light fixtures throughout your space to compensate for lack of light. Don’t be afraid to add a few different light sources – table lamps, floor lamps, and wall fixtures are all fair game. (One overhead light fixture is typically not enough to illuminate most rooms.)


7. Cover Floors with Bright Area Rug

A light and bright area rug can really brighten up a space, especially if your flooring is super dark. Bonus: you’ll be adding texture, too! Stick to warm hue combinations when you’re trying to brighten a room. Also, make sure your rug is large enough for the space (we see people make mistakes in this area all the time!)

If you are looking for someone to help you with decorative style, check out NESTRS!

8. Go with A Neutral or White Color Scheme

A moody, dark color palette isn’t the right fit for a space that’s already moody and dark (unless you want to keep it that way!) Lighter walls will reflect more light, and the same goes for the furniture pieces you choose. 

9. Add Metallics

Metallic accents will reflect light in a space and add energy to the room. You can incorporate a little shimmer into your space with a metallic mirror, light fixture, artwork, or other pieces of decor. 

10. Forget the Heavy Curtains

We know that people often gravitate toward heavy, dark curtains when they’re concerned about privacy. Dark curtains absorb light and make a room feel darker than it needs to be. Lighter shades will help natural light reach the room (and blackout panels can still give you the flexibility you need to darken the space on cue).

11. Incorporate Bright Artwork

If it fits with your design style, add bright artwork to your space. It will create a cheery mood and help the space to feel lighter without overwhelming the room. Not entirely convinced this is the right step for your space? You can try taking down any dark pieces on your walls to see the impact of lighting conditions before committing to big changes. 

12. Don’t Go Crazy with Artwork 

Pictures and artwork on your walls will limit the light that can reflect off surfaces in the space. A gallery wall or large dark piece of art can really impact the illumination in your room. If you’re struggling with lighting, try to hold your wall space sacred. A mirror, light tapestry, or piece of art are great choices. 

Related: 3 Things to Do To Start Your Year Off Organized! 

13  Hang Plenty of Mirrors

Mirrors are reflective surfaces (duuuuuh). Because light bounces off reflective surfaces, mirrors are a must-have in dark spaces. You’ll basically double the amount of light in your room by strategically placing a few mirrors in the space. 

a living room will mirrors on the wall

14. Consider a High-Gloss Ceiling

Choosing a high-gloss paint will increase your surfaces’ ability to reflect light and move it around the space. High-gloss isn’t the best choice for certain rooms, but you can add it to the ceiling with no risk! A glossy ceiling will help bounce light around the room and add an unexpected twist.

15. Become a Maximalist

Room brightening strategies that involve going light and paring back just aren’t for everyone. If you bend toward bold design and accents, that’s cool! You can make a room feel bright by energizing the space with daring hues and bold accents. Don’t be afraid to add a vivid accent wall or statement piece. 

open plan living room

16. Include the Colors of the Sun

If white walls aren’t your jam, you can also make a dark space feel brighter by incorporating the sun’s colors. Paint your walls with reds, yellows, and oranges to help brighten up your space. 

17. Mesmerize with a Crystal Chandelier

Crystals do one thing REALLY well – they reflect light from other sources and toss it around a space. An oversized crystal chandelier will amplify the existing light sources in your room. This choice is not for everyone, but will definitely work wonders to reflect light in a dark space if you’re up for it. 

Related: Kitchen Lighting Tips and Trends You Should Know About


18. Paint Ceiling Colors of the Sky

Have you ever painted your ceiling before? For many, the ceiling presents a huge missed opportunity!  Brighten your room with a soft, sky blue on the ceiling. You can find a ton of inspiration pictures online to decide if this look is right for you. 

19. Trim Trees Near Your Windows

Trees or large shrubs outside of your room can block natural light from reaching the space. Be sure to trim trees regularly to make sure your room is getting as much natural light as possible! 

20. Clean Your Windows

Hey! Here’s a tip that won’t require a new purchase. If you have windows in your dark space, give them a good scrub (inside AND outside!) Your windows will attract layers of grime overtime that filter the natural light coming into the space. Make sure you set aside time to deep clean them a few times each year.

21. Opt for Matte Walls – Not Glossy

Did you know that matte surfaces can reflect light really well? Matte walls will create a more even spread of light than glossy walls, which can create glares. It may seem counterintuitive, but matte paint is an excellent choice for a dark space. (And matte walls hide imperfections in your walls as well!)

22. Add Greenery

You may be hesitant to add live plants to a space that doesn’t get great natural light, but there are many options for greenery that can thrive with minimal light. Choose a white pot that will blend into your walls, and be afraid to go big with your plant choice.

23. Hang Beige or Light Grey Curtains

Similar to white walls, light colored window treatments will brighten up a space and add a lot of texture and warmth. Blackout curtains are fine, too, so long as the room-facing fabric is light. If your current window treatments are dark and drab, you’ll notice a huge change with this easy swap. 

home office

24. Pick Low-to-the-Ground Furniture

Each piece of furniture you place in your room will create shadows and contribute to the dark feeling. If it’s your jam, consider using furniture that sits low to the ground to counteract this effect. Leaving as much space as possible between furniture pieces will also help with how the light plays in the space. 

25. Opt for Light Wood Floors

This tip is not a quick or inexpensive option, but it’s worth mentioning. If you’re embarking on a renovation, choose light flooring to brighten up the room. Light wood flooring also hides scratches better than dark stains! 

Related: How To Refresh Your Kitchen Without A Renovation and On a Budget!

26. Aim Lights At Walls or Ceiling

Amplify the artificial light sources in your room by aiming fixtures at your walls or ceiling. This will wash the surfaces with light and help it to reach every corner of the room with a soft glow. With the right arrangement, you’ll be using your lamps and light fixtures to their fullest potential! 

27. Leave Space Beneath Your Furniture

When furniture extends straight to the floor, it can block a lot of light. Try choosing a sofa or chair with at least six to ten inches of open space underneath. In this way, more light will pass around the piece of furniture and better illuminate the room. 

28. Streamline Your Furniture 

You can create more visual space in your room by paying attention to the lines of your furniture. Overly ornate or bulky pieces can weigh down a space. If it fits your style, strive for modern minimalism in your furniture selections.

29. Consider Cool Blue Walls

Natural light has a cooler color temperature than incandescent bulbs, which are typically yellow in tone. Adding more blue in your space will be reminiscent of the light sky and is a great neutral alternative if you aren’t inclined to whiteout your room.

30. Update Light Bulbs

The light bulbs’ color temperature in your fixtures can make a huge difference in the light in your room. A yellow light will create a warmer atmosphere. For a fresh and bright look, try out a “true white” bulb. This is a low-risk option that could make all the difference your space needs. Read more about these tips here!

Related: How To Make Walls POP!


Needing to brighten up a room is a really common challenge. We face it often in our spaces! We hope that a few of these ideas will help brighten up your dark space. 

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