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How to Brighten a Dark Room: 5 Design Tips to Illuminate Your Space

Realising that only a few small décor changes are needed to breathe new life into your dreary interiors, you pick up your phone and start searching for tips on how to brighten a dark room. Spaces that don’t get much natural light can feel gloomy, but there are still plenty of ways to make a dark room more inviting.

Looking around at your room, you consider how various illuminating ideas could be incorporated into the space. Atmospheric lights and lamps brighten up even the darkest corners of the room, while carefully placed mirrors make the space feel larger than it really is. Even the colour scheme makes a huge difference, with bright colours filling the space with an uplifting energy.

Discover how to brighten up a dark room in your home with these simple design tips.

5 simple ways to brighten up a dark room

Take your interiors from dark and dreary to bright and beautiful with just a few minor changes.

1. Choose a light colour palette

One easy way to instantly brighten a room is by painting the walls and ceiling a light colour. Light colours make a space feel large and airy and beautifully reflect the light in a room, enhancing the cosy feel of warm colour-temperature light bulbs in the evening.

White or bright off-white tones are the best colours for reflecting light and brightening a dark space, but any light colour palette that suits your style will make the room feel more open and inviting.

Image courtesy of @renovationhq

“Adding bright colours to a dark room instantly makes it feel more radiant. The colours bring energy, which is often stagnant in dark spaces. Try adding a colour pop lamp to a side table and see the difference it makes.”

Ally Dowsing-Reynolds, lighting expert and co-founder of Dowsing & Reynolds
Image courtesy of @de_beauvoir_design

2. Place mirrors strategically

Add mirrors to your room to effortlessly brighten up the space. Mirrors make a room feel larger than it really is by creating the illusion of additional space and are powerful tools for reflecting light to all the right places.

For the best results, try placing mirrors close to light sources. Make the most of natural light by positioning a mirror close to the window if possible, but also consider placing some close to sources of light within your home, such as decorative table lamps or ceiling lights.

Even if you don’t have an abundance of light in your room, this will reflect what light you do have available and distribute it around the space as much as possible.

3. Choose the right lighting fixtures

It goes without saying that adding lighting fixtures to a space will make it brighter, but it’s important to make sure you consider what these fixtures look like.

Large, heavy fixtures that fail to cast light very far could have the opposite effect to what you want, making the space feel smaller and darker. Instead, opt for fixtures that span larger distances to make the room feel brighter and more open.

black modern chandelier with opal bulbs on grey ceiling

‘Before you rush to re-paint a dingy room brilliant white, try changing your ceiling light for a multi-arm version with numerous bulbs and adding table and floor lamps’, says Ally. ‘You’ll notice an immediate difference in how cosy it feels during the evening.’

Product pick: Ceiling fixtures with long arms and multiple bulbs like the Trikonasana black multi-arm light are an excellent choice for dark interiors.

“Use floor lamps and wall lights to throw light upwards into the room. It will make your space feel more spacious, and brightening up dull corners will help the room feel wider.”

Ally Dowsing-Reynolds, lighting expert and co-founder of Dowsing & Reynolds
Image courtesy of @cooks_and_company

4. Cast light on walls and ceilings

While aiming your lights at a particular area might be useful for carrying out tasks, it’s best to position your lights towards the walls or ceiling if your goal is to brighten the room and make it feel more open and inviting.

The light will reflect off these surfaces and spread across the space to make the whole room brighter, especially if your walls are painted white or another light colour.

‘Use floor lamps and wall lights to throw light upwards into the room’, says Ally. ‘It will make your space feel more spacious, and brightening up dull corners will help the room feel wider.’

Product pick: With its sleek modern design, the large porcelain wall light is ideal for casting warm light onto your walls.

5. Create a layered lighting scheme

Layering your lighting is another great way to brighten up a dark room. Having a range of different light sources at varying heights throughout your room will ensure every corner of the space is lit while also creating visual intrigue and ensuring you have the right lighting for every time of day.

Image courtesy of @studiofourinteriors

To create an effective layered lighting scheme:

  • Start by adding high-level lighting, such as an eye-catching ceiling light. Choose a fixture with multiple arms that cast light over a large distance to make sure even the darkest corners of your room are well-lit.
  • Add mid-level lighting, such as atmospheric wall lights. These will add additional depth to the room and cast light on the walls to make the room feel bigger and brighter.
  • Finish with low-level lighting, such as floor and table lamps. When placed strategically, such as close to walls or mirrors, these fixtures can also help to make your room much brighter and add decorative flair.

Design tip: Consider putting your ceiling and wall lights on dimmer switches to set the right mood for any time of day with ease.

Show us your bright interiors

We’d love to see how you’ve used these design tips to brighten up the dark rooms in your home. Tag us @dowsingandreynolds on Instagram – we can’t wait to see what you’ve come up with!

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