How to Brighten a Dark Room or Home, Part III

12 Apr

Photo: Courtesy of bialasiewicz 

How to Brighten a Dark Room or Home, Part III 

Optical illusions are powerful tools that can make a dark room or home appear brighter. Making a couple changes to your furniture and décor as well as employing a few tricks will transform a dim, gloomy atmosphere into a bright, cheerful space. 


Lighten up your furniture. Choose lighter colors like white, beige, or ivory for your couch, chairs, and bedding ( Solid, lighter colors instead of bold, dark prints keep the room feeling light ( "Selecting light furniture is a sneaky way to bring more light into a room because you're creating the illusion of brightness with the lighter fabrics and finishes by letting the natural light bounce off of them" (  

Go transparent. Avoid walnut wood tables, bed frames, or TV stands ( Instead, consider something like a transparent acrylic coffee table or Lucite side table ( and  

Avoid bulky furniture. Stick with streamlined, lighter pieces with smooth, sleek lines and not many frills ( and Avoid large, overstuffed, heavily carved, ornate furniture, as it will cast more shadows, leading to an even dimmer feeling room ( Think Scandinavian-chic or modern minimalism ( Look especially to thin, linear elements ( 

Set a maximum height for your furniture. Pick minimalist, low-to-the-ground furniture. "Make sure that each piece falls below the set height. That means omitting that bookcase, no matter how nice it looks" (  

Leave ample space between furniture pieces. The empty areas will offer themselves up to lighting opportunities (  

Leave space beneath your furniture. According to Brooklyn-based interior designer Marissa Bero, choose a sofa with six to ten inches of open space underneath ( "It will allow light to pass and therefore illuminate more of the room" (  


Embrace metallic accents. Gold, brass, and silver accents all reflect light and brighten up a room. You can employ these metals in picture frames, clocks, table legs, bed frames, light fixtures, lamps, decorative objects, etc. "Shiny objects will always reflect light and make a space feel a little happier...Just don't go overboard unless you want to go full speed into the glam world" ( 

Less is more when it comes to décor. Do not overload your shelves. "Too much junk crowds a room and makes it feel dark and small" ( Choose bright and light decorative pieces with clean lines ( Add style and pizzazz, but leave plenty of breathing room between objects. This will allow the light to both reflect off the objects and stream between them.  


Lighten up your floors. "Flooring can set the tone for the whole room. A dark floor can make a room feel heavy; however, a light floor can brighten it" ( If possible, go for light-colored wood, tile, or carpet. If you are stuck with dark floors, choose light, bright area rugs. "When selecting a color for your rug, you can opt for white/ivory, yellow, or some warmer hue combinations. To help expand visual space, make sure the rug is of larger size" ( Patterned rugs are okay, too, as long as they have light and bright color schemes ( If you prefer a bare floor, consider painting it. This may not be the right option for everyone, but it can be decorative (  

Hallways can be brightened with runner rugs. Select a lighter tone to break up dark flooring and add a mix of richness and airiness (  


Create an illusion. Do you have a small window? Install a curtain rod that extends from one wall of the room to the other. Hang white curtains so that they frame the edge of the window on one side and touch the wall on the other side. The curtains spread out corner to corner "will create the illusion of windows where there aren't any at all," and the whole wall will appear to be lined with windows (  

Window trim can create the same effect. Frame your windows with wide white trim. Doing so will create the illusion of larger windows and brighter rooms ( 


Focusing on your furniture and décor and using a few tricks will brighten up your room or home in no time.  



Michelle Warner

Michelle Warner is an award-winning writer and editor. She is a published poet and has worked in the book publishing industry. She has an MFA in creative writing from The University of Arizona.