7 tips on how to make dark rooms bright

Asha Bogenfuerst Asha Bogenfuerst
Meral Akçay Konsept ve Mimarlık Modern living room
Loading admin actions …

A dark room often looks oppressive and gloomy. However, with a lot of direct and indirect lighting bright furniture and decorations, it can appear friendly and light-flooded. Bright blue and sunny yellow on the wall and furniture can create a beach atmosphere even in dark rooms. Matte white combined with curved shapes and lines as well as delicate fabrics makes for easy romance. Smooth, glossy surfaces, bright colors, clear shapes and graphic patterns reflect modernity while bringing brightness into dark rooms. A bright room can be arranged in many different styles—it just depends on the optimal choice of colors and the right materials to turn a dark room into a bright room. Mirror, glass and crystals are also suitable for this purpose and for decorative purposes as well. 

1. Create contrasts on the walls

To make a dark room brighter, there are different possibilities. So that furniture in light tones do not disappear before uniform walls and to avoid monotony in color design, contrasts are required. For example, soft pastel colors can be contrasted with clear shapes and patterns such as a round or square mirror with a smooth frame. A white wall is broken up by images in bright orange or black-and-white photographs with a dark frame. Also a single colored wall offers a contrasting contrast with light furniture and walls, loosens the room and makes it more lively. However, to prevent the wall from becoming oppressive, it should not be the largest wall and not a dark color. Two different wall paints have the same effect. Also graphic patterns offer interesting possibilities to conjure contrasts to the walls. They are particularly suitable for alternating light and dark.

2. Bright furniture for every taste

Bright furniture reflect the light and make dark rooms look cheerful. With bright blue furniture in front of a dark grey wall, the darkest room suddenly appears to be radiantly friendly. Romantic red furniture made of wood with curved lines and ornaments add life to the space. Bright pastel shades are also outstanding. A delicate blue brings a fresh sea breeze into the room, while a bright rosé spreads summer freshness. In order that bright furniture cannot be too monotonous, they should be chosen in various color shades. For example, a single piece of furniture creates an exciting contrast between uniformly bright furniture. 

3. Light in all corners

Dark rooms especially want to be well-lit. If the right light shines in every dark corner, the room suddenly appears bright and friendly. If the room is not only dark, but also quite small, the floor space for many lamps is missing. This is why the right choice and the perfect use of the space is important. For a harmonious basic light, a general lighting is provided, for example, in the form of a beautiful ceiling or pendulum lamp. If you want to use it effectively for a lot of light, you can choose a pendulum lamp with several lamps or a chandelier with many crystals. If the ceiling is low, the room can be visually stretched with a long pendulum lamp. The general lighting should be suitable for both daylight illumination and for cozy evening hours.  

A spotlight as an additional light source next to the ceiling or pendulum light is required wherever direct light is needed. This can be the reading corner, the dining area, the desk, the favorite place to watch TV or the play corner. Flexible stand- or panel lights are particularly versatile. For example, a ceiling floodlight with an integrated screen lamp fulfills two tasks: it radiates a beautiful, indirect light upwards and thus brightens the dark room in a comfortable way, at the same time the lamp provides direct light where it is needed. Especially in dark rooms, accent lighting is indispensable. With it the dark room turns into a bright space.

4. Light ceilings

A dark room looks almost oppressive with a dark ceiling. If the ceiling is dark, the whole room is gloomy. A bright ceiling, on the other hand, makes the room not only more friendly, but also optically larger. This is the case with walls in cheerful tones. Halogen spots provide extra brightness. On delicate gray or cream these are particularly good. Another solution is offered by suspended ceilings. With the plasterboards, individual solutions can be created and even additional lighting can be installed, creating an inviting ambience.

5. Indoor windows for more light

Skylight above dining space Neil Dusheiko Architects Modern dining room
Neil Dusheiko Architects

Skylight above dining space

Neil Dusheiko Architects

Dark rooms, where few natural light sources are available, can benefit from an interior window. They loosen the room and act as additional lighting sources on the wall. They also offer the possibility to connect two rooms, thus providing a more open-plan living concept. Internal windows are recommended wherever they are not intrusive. For example, you can connect the small, dark kitchen to the light-flooded dining room or living room. 

6. The right curtains

Curtains do not just protect you from prying eyes, they adorn the room and make it feel homely and comfortable. In order to make dark rooms brighter, light curtains  are required. Transparent curtains allow light from outside and are available in a variety of colors. White curtains light up the room and form beautiful, bright contrasts to pastel-colored walls. Instead of thick curtains, which are heavy and oppressive, smooth, delicate fabrics are airier and lighter. Instead of curtains, blinds are also suitable, which can be pulled down to darken the room during the day when you don't want the sun glaring in your face. 

7. Shiny surfaces

Mirror and glossy surfaces reflect the light. Above all, they are perfectly suited to make the room brighter than the window or other light sources. Since glossy surfaces reflect not only light but also dark colors, they should be in front of bright colored walls and decorated with bright decorative objects. Particularly beautiful effects result when glossy surfaces are combined with accent lighting. This can be a lava lamp on the shiny sideboard or the light chain on the shiny shelf. In kitchens  with glossy fronts, LED strips multiply the desired effect. 

We hope this book of ideas has been helpful to you. For more inspiration, have a look at bright lighting design.

Do you have any other tips on how to make a dark room bright? Please share with us in the comments section below. 

Discover home inspiration!