Have A Dark Room?
Brightening up a room or space is a common challenge when designing a room. While a major renovation can certainly correct the issue, knocking down walls or adding windows are thankfully not the only options. In fact, there are foolproof tricks that the pros use to add light through design details. From painting the ceiling to layering in accessories, we rounded up our favorite tips to help you let the light in.
1) The Brighter the Art, the Better
While dark rooms are cozy, adding vibrant artwork will elevate the mood and look of the space. A bold painting in yellow and turquoise pops against travertine tiles in this Manhattan apartment.
2) Dazzle with a Crystal Chandelier
The many facets of a crystal chandelier will reflect other light sources, including the sun and lamps, throughout a space. In this Lebanese mountain home, a Turkish chandelier is centered in a room with oversize windows.
3) Bring In the Colors of the Sun
A tried-and-true trick to making a dark space feel brighter is to fill it with the colors of the sun, like reds, yellows, and oranges. ED A-List designer Jaques Grange covered the walls in this Venice apartment with custom Marmorino Venetian plaster.
4) Paint the Ceiling the Colors of the Sky
Blue skies brighten the world. By painting the ceiling a light blue, designer Rodney Lawrence created an optical illusion that opens up this Quogue, New York, living room.
5) Embrace Maximalism
If an all-neutral room is not your style, there’s no need to worry. Going for a bold accent wall and a palette of daring hues, like this design by Mary McDonald, can energize a room and make it appear brighter.
6) Try a High-Gloss Ceiling
One of the best ways to bring more light into a room is with a high-gloss paint color, and a ceiling is the perfect spot to experiment with this design choice. A glossy ceiling finish reflects light well, and it adds an unexpected element to a room.
7) Consider Light Wood Flooring
When a space is in need of additional light, it’s best to choose light wood flooring to brighten up the room. Light stains are also perfect for high-traffic areas, since they’re better at masking scratches.
8) Embrace the Power of a Colorful Rug
A large, colorful area rug is not just a solution for defining a specific area in a home. It can also be used to inject personality into a room and show off your aesthetic.
9) Hang Plenty of Mirrors
10) Nix the Heavy Curtains
11) Add Metallics
Incorporating shimmery gold or silver accessories is an easy way to transform a dark and dreary space. The simple addition of a metallic mirror, light fixture, piece of artwork, or even a decorative object has a way of reflecting light and making a design scheme feel more luxurious.
12) Trim the Trees by Your Windows
If light can’t reach your window, it certainly won’t be able to brighten your room. Make sure any bushes or trees near your windows are trimmed regularly, and avoid planting trees on the southern side of your home (as Scandinavian Home Staging explains, the sun will be too high for the trees to provide shade in the summer, and in the winter, the foliage will block your windows from solar warmth).
13) Opt for Matte, Not Glossy
14) Clean Your Windows
Yes, we know. This one seems a tad obvious, but simply cleaning your windows can have a major effect on how much sunlight streams into the room. The less dirt, dust, and splatters on your windows, the more sunshine can peek into your room. (Plus, cleaning a window is way easier than installing more windows.)
15) Supplement Your Daylight
16) Be Mindful of Paintings
You love your art, but do you love it more than a healthy dose of vitamin D? Save your large, dark artworks for rooms that aren’t short on light. If you cover a wall with paintings or posters, they will absorb the little sunlight streaming into your space rather than reflect it.
17) Place Bookshelves Perpendicular to Window Walls
Bookshelves or partitions should never be parallel to a window, or they’ll obstruct the light. Carefully consider the flow of daylight and how you want to promote it
18) Opt for a White or Neutral Color Scheme
19) Use Shiny Surfaces to Your Advantage
While you don’t want to go glossy on the walls (remember: glare), reflective surfaces can play to your advantage when it comes to bouncing light. For a room with limited sunlight, opt for glimmering items such as acrylic accents, translucent furniture, and mirrored surfaces like a reflective coffee table.