As a homeowner, you want to make good use of every room in your house. Yet what happens when some of those rooms look dark, cramped, and dreary? While your first instinct might be to use it as a storage space, it has much more potential when you use creative styling tips.

Even rooms without natural light can feel bright and beautiful when you implement these five tips.

1. Add a Mirror

Adding mirrors to your dark room can drastically brighten up the space. While they reflect your image, they also reflect light — making them practical and stylish decor. Some homeowners decorate by incorporating mirrors into gallery walls, adding even more visual interest to photo and art arrays. Others enjoy classic and ornate frames that coordinate with the rest of the room’s style.

To maximize your mirrors’ impact, strategically place them near your light sources. If you have windows in the room, the mirrors should hang on the opposite wall. This will keep light bouncing around to brighten up a dark room more effectively.

2. Swap Out the Lightbulbs

When you are evaluating a dark room, sometimes the lightbulbs are the main issue. Many outdated bulbs are dim and inefficient. Instead, you should choose LED bulbs because they are cool to the touch and come in various styles.

You’ll need to purchase well-made bulbs — look into quality and compatibility. For instance, some low-quality LEDs emit radio waves that can interfere with the frequency of automated garage door openers. However, many reliable and modern brands have overcome this issue.

While you are ordering the new bulbs, you should also consider adding more light sources. Why rely on a single overhead light when you can have accent lights, standing lamps, and recessed lighting? In dark rooms, having a wide variety of light sources can make the room feel bright and comfortable.

For more control, choose lightbulbs with dimmable features so you can adjust each bulb to fit your mood. Smart home devices also work with smart lightbulbs that let you adjust the lighting throughout the day with voice control.

3. Change the Wall Color

The color of your walls and ceilings has a massive effect on a room’s overall brightness. Here are some tips to brighten up a dark room with a quick paint job.

Light Colors

When deciding on colors, lean towards lighter shades. This will make the room feel bigger and brighter while giving the illusion of more space. While white may feel like an obvious choice, you should feel free to experiment with other color variations to give the space personality.

Sunny Colors

Some designers recommend painting dark rooms using sunny colors. It’s a simple way to bring sunshine into an area that lacks natural light. Be mindful of the other features in the room when deciding what bright color to choose.

Sky Ceilings

This is a quirkier tip, but could work well for the right space — be it a craft room or a kid’s nursery. When you paint the ceiling to look like the sky, you bring the outdoors’ brightness and freedom into your home. While it’s an apparent illusion, the sky design will make the room look larger and brighter than before. Plus — when done well — it can make the room height seem infinite.

4. Update the Textiles

The textiles you use in the room have a larger impact than you might imagine. Here’s how to optimize your materials and design choices to brighten up your space.


While heavy blackout curtains may keep the sun out while you sleep, they also block the light during the day. To make the space feel brighter, hang up sheer curtains that are a light color. The thin fabric will allow the light to pass freely into the room, while the light color will keep the space feeling airy and open.


Whether you’ve carpeted the entire floor or only have an area rug, your choice of color and pattern impacts the feel of the room. Light and bright colors can help make a room larger, while darker colors absorb the light.

For many people, stark white rugs are impractical and will look dingy over time. Instead, choose an off-white, cream, or grey color that’s also machine-washable.


Some accent material — like metallics — can reflect light. However, too much decor can make a room feel cluttered. Try to limit the amount of furniture, textiles, and decorative items you keep in small rooms.

When the space is naturally dark, less is always better.

5. Perform Basic Maintenance

One of the easiest tips to complete is basic maintenance, and it often has the greatest impact. Start by trimming any trees or bushes that may be blocking the sunlight. Your landscaping and orientation has a big impact on how much light actually makes it through your windows.

Next, clean the inside and outside of the window itself. A dirty window will limit the amount of sun entering an area and cause it to look dark. Once the window is crystal clear, you can accurately gauge how much natural light the room receives each day.

If you are still unhappy with the room’s brightness, it might be an opportunity for renovation. Consider adding additional windows or a skylight. The money you invest in gain more sunlight will be offset by the electricity you save when you no longer need as much artificial light.

Use These Tips to Brighten Up a Dark Room

Are you suffering from a lack of natural light or a lack of available light sources? Nobody wants to live in a gloomy interior. Natural light helps us feel happier and our spaces look brighter and more inviting.

Try and implement these tips to brighten up a dark room. They can help you look forward to brighter days in your future. By making these design changes, the room will feel much lighter, which will give the illusion of a bigger space.

Remember, swapping out furniture, lights, or accent materials doesn’t take long, which means you can remake the area in a single weekend. With such a simple makeover plan, maximizing your square footage will be easier than ever

Evelyn Long is the editor-in-chief of Renovated, a home improvement publisher with advice on gardening, decor and DIY projects.