• 11 Ways to Get More Natural Light to Dark Rooms


    The level of natural light in your rooms can really affect your mood. Those blessed rays, filled with sunlight and vitamin D make you feel positive. So, its natural that bright rooms make us feel happier, more alive and vibrant.

    get natural light in dark rooms

    Getting light into dark rooms is important; making the most of what natural light you have is what this post is all about.

    light walls

    Source: Pinterest – Add color to the ceiling

    By adding a light color to the ceiling and a glass pendant light, the room above is left feeling light. Glass doors allow natural light to travel across the room and reflect off polished floor boards. Leaving the walls white helps keep the daylight in tact, but there is still enough dark, warm wood pieces to add character and contrast. Without these details, this room could feel quite dark.

    mirror sconce

    Mirrored Wall Sconce work well to reflect daylight and candlelight.

    Start by thinking differently about your rooms; how much extra light do you need, can you use mirrors, glass tables or mirrored wall panels to reflect more light through the rooms, what can you remove that may be absorbing your natural light? What about your paint colors?

    Use these one by one to test what is right for your rooms…

    How to Decorate Dark Rooms

    What can you do about dark rooms without throwing down walls? Here are 11 ways to get more light into your dark rooms; your living room, kitchen or bedroom, how to decorate your dark rooms even when your heart is set on choosing dark paint colors. Just one thing, like this large mirrored wall hanging over a couch, might be all you need to get compliments and more natural light.

    mirrored wall hanging

    This statement piece could work anywhere – Deco 79 Metal Mirror Wall Panel (39″ by 39″) found here.

    Work Out How Much Natural Light You Need

    Walk from room to room. Do a quick assessment of where your natural light is coming from and work out where your problems lie. Do you have a dark living room that needs attention, or do all your rooms need more natural light? Are dark wood floors in small spaces absorbing all your natural light or do you have small windows?

    Let’s see what you can do to get more light into your dark rooms.

    natural light

    Source: Pinterest – Large hallway mirror trim

    1. Decorate Using a Mirror Effect

    The more shiny surfaces you can add to your rooms, the lighter they will appear. That means chandeliers or brass lighting, gold door knobs or silver photo frames, brass candlesticks, mirrors or acrylic clear furniture.

    The entry and hallway above has light walls and a large entry mirror to reflect every piece of available light. The bigger the mirror, the more light you capture in your room. Large wall mirrors are perfect. There are so many styles to choose: antique mirror, beveled mirror, sunburst or Venetian mirrors.

    There are perfect as dining room mirrors, living room, entryway or mantel mirrors. And the thicker the glass, the more reflective light your capture. I chose the three large mirrors below starting from $53 (at the time of writing this post) but there are hundreds of others to choose if they are not to your taste – just click here to discover more.

    Mirrors give you more light

    Use the filter to see those mirrors in your price range. Or make your own. You can make your own sunburst mirror here, but they tend to be smaller and won’t give you the effect you want. You can also age your mirror using glass. They look great but again, you won’t maximize the amount of light.

    Tricks for dark rooms:

    1. Use the same size mirrors directly opposite one another. The seemingly infinite set of reflections creates a sense of endless depth, making the room feel bigger and lighter.

    2. Add a large mirror to the end of a short hallway to make it look longer.

    3. To create the look of one larger window, for a corner window, place a mirror on the wall, as close to and the same size as the window. This will look like one larger window and bring in more light.

    If you are looking for larger decorative mirrors you can find a selection here.

    Create a mirror effect using as many things as possible to amplify each item!


    Source: House to Home

    Brass lettering give light to a dark wall. These can be found inexpensively but the look is dramatic and stylish.

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    Of course anything shiny will work; wall sconces, frames, a street sign or glass tiles.

    2. Window Treatments

    Window treatments often absorb your precious natural light. Removing heavy or dark curtains will instantly give your more light and transform your dark rooms. Light colors and light weight fabrics all help to keep your natural light in tact.


    Source: Design Of Furniture

    Window curtains and window treatments can reduce the natural light in your room. Ask yourself; do you need larger windows or more appropriate window treatments for your rooms?

    For small windows, use sheer or light fabrics to let some light in. Darker colored fabrics absorb light. If privacy is an issue – shutters could be the answer. They control the amount of natural light into your room and protect your privacy.

    shutters - click link below for more information

    Source: Amazon EuroVue Shutter 16″x20″ Wood Shutters

    3. Be Transparent

    Using glass in your doors is a great way to get more natural light; externally and internally. Here are front doors with glass. There are lots of different styles. Use frosted or tinted glass for privacy.

    glass front doors more natural light

    Your choice will depend on the style of your home, budget and security preferences.

    add glass doors to dining room glass doors

    Source: pinterest

    Inside your home, use clear glass, frosted glass or mirrored doors that separate areas, but let in light.

    frosted door for more light

    Source: Dream Book Design

    There is a tutorial at Dream Book Design on how to hang a new door in an existing frame. Use a barn door or sliding door if space is an issue.

    Use glass tabletops or acrylic chairs to reduce the amount of light absorbed by furniture. They can be used anywhere and look great.

    Here are three; different heights for different spaces, but they reflect light not absorb it. The first is great as an end table, the second glass table has removable white trays and the third is a cocktail table. There are so many more styles to choose from but you get the idea.

    glass lamp end table

    Click Image for More Information.

    glass table

    Click Image for More Information.

    glass cocktail table

    Click Image for More Information

    4. Paint Colors for Dark Rooms

    Paint ideas for dark rooms are neutral colors; like mushroom, gray and white walls to improve light in dark rooms. Choose wall colors from a range of lighter paint colors to lighten your room; add warmth with rich neutrals such as espresso brown, mushroom gray, warm rust colors and camel tan. Add splashes color to your room by painting your ceiling or trim a different color; black trim, sky blue ceiling or warm floors.

    neutral colors

    Neutrals, whites and tan paint colors are versatile decorating color schemes. They can boost your home decor if you have dark wood floors, doors or heavy wood furniture.

    What if you have a bedroom with little or no natural light? This video goes through some wall color options.

    Don’t forget to make your floors lighter. You can do this with paint, rugs or tiles. It will instantly give your room a lift. The room below would look a lot darker without the light painted floorboards.

    white floorboards

    Source: Tooth Fairy Fashion Tale

    5. Open up a dark ceiling with recessed lighting fixtures

    Wood paneled ceilings or darkly painted ceilings absorb a lot of light. They also add style and drama. So, they are a keeper – but this is about getting more light .If you have dark ceilings, avoid having dark walls and dark wood floors too. You can probably get away with one, but not both if your ceilings are dark.

    panelled ceiling with recessed lights

    Paint your ceilings white or light colors. Add recessed lighting fixtures if you can. They add light to dark ceilings without destroying the great mood wood paneled ceilings or dark painted ceilings create. Add dimmer switches for control over our light source.

    6. Contrast dark kitchen cabinetry with lighter finishes

    If you love dark kitchen cabinetry and dark wood floors in a small space, lighter, shiny finishes on your counter tops can help break up the solid blocks of color and make your kitchen feel lighter, larger and more open.

    dark kitchen cabinetry

    Glossy splashbacks, pendant lighting and shiny metal that reflect light can increase light, balancing your dark kitchen cabinetry.

    glossy splash backglossy splashback2

    Click on Images for More Information

    7. Use kitchen pendant lighting 

    Even if your kitchen window gives you good quality light during the day, the kitchen is used so many hours of the day that you should consider good quality additional task lighting.


    Source: House to Home

    Copper pendant lighting fixtures can add light and brighten dark corners. They look great over breakfast bars where light often feels a little low.

    copper pendant light

    If your kitchen or eating areas are on the dark side and need better task lighting, kitchen pendant lighting is the perfect remedy. Adding brass fixtures gives something shiny for light to reflect off – making your room feel lighter.

    These days you can find an amazing selection of accent kitchen pendant lights. Glass pendant lighting is always a good choice. Make sure your kitchen window treatments are sheer to none.

    recessed kitchen lights

    8. Adding light to your dramatic dark bedroom

    If you love a dark bedroom, then this is for you. Dramatic dark bedrooms are wonderful to rest and sleep in.  Dark walls, bedding, heavy dark wood floors and dark accents create a sort of womb effect which is wonderful to come home to after a long day.

    Add light colored bedlinen, cushions and rugs to balance out your look.

    dark bedroom concealed lights

    The careful addition of soft lighting in strategic areas will help you keep the mood without having you walk in the dark. Lighting concealed in display built-in shelves such as “puck” or under cabinet lighting, pendant lights and side table lamps can help you adjust your lighting needs without destroying the mood.

    dark bedroom light window treatments

    Lighter finishes in your window treatments, mirrors and soft furnishings are great for solid dark walls and dark ceilings. Keep your curtains, light or sheer if possible.

    Use shiny hardware where ever possible – brass doorknobs or furniture pulls, mirrors, lamps and lighting all with shiny finishes.

    9. Decorating a dark bedroom

    Dark walls in a dramatic bedroom can easily be offset with contrasted light colored throw pillows, sheeting and bedding in soft ecru, butter yellow or off white to add to the relaxing atmosphere. Balance out the large areas of dark space with equally large areas of lighter finishes and accessories.

    dark bedroom

    You can stick with neutral and white accents against your dark walls or add pops of color to make your home decor really stand out.

    Soft bed linen colors give a feeling of space and light. Add pops of color with your pillows, throws or other accents.

    light bed linen colors - details in link below

    Source: AmazonLamont Home Diamante King Coverlet, White

    If you have dark wood floors consider painting or stenciling them or use a light colored rug that covers most of the floor. The dark floor will create a border around the room, making it feel and look bigger.

    10. How to choose dark colors

    Dark colors are rich, dramatic and a great resource if you want to add character to a featureless room. If you want to experiment with dark colors, first, consider the amount and source of natural light in your room. The more windows and doors in your room, the darker the wall color can be. Use this as your guide.


    Source: Tumblr

    If your room has very little natural light, but you still want dark walls, use light paint colors on your ceiling, floors or base boards and trims to lighten your room.

    11. Adding more light to dark wardrobe closets

    Most closets are very dark small rooms. Most have no windows and poor, if any, lighting. Dark closets are difficult to use. You can’t find clothes, see how they really look and there is no point talking about makeup.


    Source: Nicety Live Journal

    Depending on the size of your closet, there are ways to add light to it using lighting fixtures such as pendant lights and recessed lighting. Add lots of mirrors, like the doors above, to reflect more light.

    dark closet

    You can also use LED closet rod lighting like the one below.

    apartment therapy

    Source: Apartment Therapy

    These are high end products but you can find similar products that cost much less like this fluorescent light rod.

    Signstek 10 LED Wireless Light-operated... (Read Reviews)
    Click here $27.99
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    Here is another alternative for as little as $10 using LED closet lights but you may need more of them to do the job properly.

    wardrobe lights - details below

    Source: AmazonBattery Powered 4led Cabinet Closet Wardrobe Light Magnetic Base

    This adds extra lighting to your dressing and hanging areas.

    add mirrors to dark closets

    If you have an exterior wall to play with, you can add more light to a dark closet, add a window or clerestory (top of the wall) windows that allow light in without losing storage space or privacy.

    windows in dressing closet

    In that case use a solar tube that brings light from your roof down into your closet. Because they don’t use electricity, they are energy efficient and for make up they give you the best light of all – natural light.

    What do you use to add more light to your rooms? Is it more lamps, mirrors, adding windows or changing your paint color?Can you do something about dark window treatments or curtains, dark walls or closets or is your style or home decor or color scheme?The first thing to do is remove things that are absorbing too much light. Dark curtains, dark furniture and dark floors all absorb a lot of natural light – so that is the first place to start.

    Let me know in the comments below.

    Photos: Pinterest



7 Responsesso far.

  1. Julie says:

    This is such a great list! I’ll be using some of them that is for sure! Thanks for sharing

  2. Mary Lee says:

    This will help me with my small office – that’s for sure.. I might paint the floors creamy white – that will definitely help. Thanks – love these ideas

  3. I got a lot of new ideas and techniques to try from this article. Those inspirational photos you’ve used are really magnificent. For me, dark wall paints are dramatic and give a lot of accents in a room. Matching it with a good lighting fixture would be a real score.

  4. […] the room has, stay tuned to see how I do with it. For darker rooms, I found some handy tips here {11 ways to get more natural light to dark rooms} and here {how to increase your homes natural […]

  5. Elena Valladares says:

    I’m looking for advice. My new room is really small and it only has one tiny, square-shaped window. The ceiling is really high, tough. It is a really dark room, even at noon. I can’t paint the walls or make big changes. Any advice?

    • Christine says:

      Hi Elena – thanks for writing in. Go light with whatever you can.. since you can’t paint the walls, try lighter colors in fabrics, chairs and sofas. Mirrors, or other reflective surfaces like glass, will also help to make the room feel a little bigger. Lighting is important – floor lamps and table lamps can help. Add one thing at a time. Layer your effects until you get what you like. Add something to the walls for a focus; something stronger in color, shape or texture that will anchor the room and keep the focus away from your very high ceiling. Good luck!!

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