Ask anyone on a dreary day: light (especially the lack of it) can transform the entire mood of a room — and everyone in it. Not every home is blessed with great natural light, but you don’t have to settle for a dreary studio or a shadowy hallway. While knocking more windows in the wall isn’t always possible, there are less drastic ways to enhance what light you do get. Try these easy tips to brighten a dark space with natural light, no hard hat needed.
A well-placed mirror can transform a small, dark space into an open, airy room. Prop a full-length mirror between two windows or hang one across from a window to create the illusion of an extra opening. Experiment with different locations — behind dressers or lamps, on top of mantels, tucked into shelves, or as a kitchen backsplash — to flood rooms with sunlight. [Mounting Help]
White paint is the best way to increase reflectiveness of a room, but steer towards off-white or light gray over pure white to keep it from feeling too jarring. Use darker colors like black or navy sparingly to create a sense of depth and contrast. [Painting Help]
Rule of thumb: if a room has a window, let it shine. Move tall or bulky items that cast shadows (lamps, sofas, plants) away from natural light sources. If you have curtains, hang them from a longer rod slightly above the window frame to keep them from swallowing natural light. [Handyman Help]
A thorough scrub once a month will keep dust and dirt from blocking light. For an easy, streak-free clean, spray the panes with a mixture of vinegar and water and wipe them with a microfiber cloth. [Cleaning Help]
Little touches can go a long way in brightening up a room. Use airy fabrics like linen curtains or bamboo shutters to accentuate natural light, and choose reflective details like metallic finishes, brass knick knacks, glass door knobs, or shiny tile to scatter light. [Organization Help]
Natural light should be the star of the room, so choose light bulbs that boost rather than mask it. Supplement sunlight with light fixtures aimed at the ceiling. For a cozy, inviting atmosphere, pick bulbs with a warmer yellow light. If you want a crisper, brighter feel, use cooler “daylight” bulbs. [Lighting Help]
Decorate with rugs. White or light wood floors are ideal for reflecting light, while dark hardwood or laminate floors — though stylish — can make a room feel heavy. If you can’t paint or change the flooring though, use light patterned rugs to break up the darkness and set a light tone for the room. [Organization Help]