Tips to Lighten a Dark Room in a House
Every home has at least one room that is dark even during the daytime, so what can you do to lighten a dark room?
I have three rooms in my house that are fairly dark. They are on the east and south side of the house, but the house is positioned at such an angle that these three rooms receive only a small amount of natural light during the day. When you need to brighten a dark room, there are several designer tricks that you can put to good use.
1. Brighten up the walls
This first step is an obvious one and probably one that most of you have already done. Painting walls and trim in a light colour instantly brightens up a room. If the room in question feels colder than other rooms in the house, you will want to choose a paint colour for the walls that also adds a bit of warmth. This is easy to achieve by looking for paint swatches that are on the red spectrum rather than the blue spectrum. Painting the ceiling in the same paint colour or white will also aid in lightening a dark room.
Most dark rooms feel cold, so be sure to select light colours that have a hint of red or yellow colour in them. This will help to warm up the room while brightening the overall mood.
Even a room with plenty of windows might not receive a lot of natural light if the orientation of the house affects these rooms.
Areas in the home that receive little or no natural light need to be lit with artificial lighting that is both decorative and practical.
Another reason for a room appearing darker is a brick wall or wall panelling. Even wall panelling or tongue and groove finished in a light colour has a darkening effect and, while it is better to remove this completely, you might consider the alternative of painting over the panelling or brick wall to brighten the room.
2. Keep flooring in a light to mid shade
While dark flooring will add warmth to a room, it doesn't bring much in the way of lightening the space. A lighter flooring option, whether tiles, laminate flooring or carpeting, will lift the room and prevent it from appearing too dark. If you don't have the option of changing the existing floor which is dark, think large carpets or rugs to bring more light into the room.
Below is a prime example of how you can brighten up dark rooms. This hallway leading off to the bedrooms receives no natural light, but the wall colour, white trim, light flooring, and white furniture instantly brighten up the area.
Even a room with large windows can be dark if it is on the wrong side of a house. Lack of natural light makes any room feel uncomfortable and cold, but there are ways to offset this. Light coloured walls and light flooring, in addition to light coloured furniture and accessories, will make a room instantly lighter and brighter.
3. Furnish with light accessories
Having sorted the walls and flooring, next on the list is to look at furniture and accessories. You don't want to go to all the hard work of painting walls and then fill the room with dark furniture. If you cannot afford to replace what you already own, there are ways and means to give dark furniture a new look.
Sofa covers are an easy way to lighten up dark upholstered furniture or you can use large blankets to disguise a dark couch or sofa. Dark wood furniture can easily be painted in bright colours to complement the room, but you can still have a couple of dramatic colour pops to add interest.
Sometimes there is no avoiding the fact that you have dark furniture and are perhaps not inclined to paint this. You can still compromise around this by painting built-ins and fitted cupboards in light colours to cancel out the darker shade of furniture
Finish off the room with light coloured drapes, curtains or window treatment in lightweight fabrics and arrange this to keep as much open window space as possible. Use tie-backs to keep the curtains close to the sides of the window.
4. Install plenty of artificial lighting
With the advent of LED lighting, there are now even more ways to introduce artificial lighting to a room without raising the monthly electricity bill. LED lighting is very low wattage and does not heat up as much as other light sources. Plus, the fact that LED lighting is versatile and can be used in many different situations make it a popular choice.
LED light is a valuable resource if you are looking to brighten up a dark room. You can add LED strip lighting to cupboards, shelves and cabinets for ambient lighting as well as use LED lights or strips to highlight features in a room. In a very dark room, consider adding coving or soffit around the perimeter of the room and then installing LED strip lighting along the top. Alternatively, think about installing down lighters. These can make a huge impact on lightening up a dark room.
Where a dining space is situated away from direct light, the spaces tend to be dark. This can easily be remedied with the installation of LED strip lights or cove lighting.