15 Designer Tricks for Brightening Up a Dark Room

No major renovations necessary.

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Thomas Loof

Just because a room lacks an abundance of natural light (hello, apartment dwellers), doesn't mean you have to settle for living in a dark space around the clock. Believe it or not, this is a fairly common dilemma that top interior designers solve for all the time. While a major renovation can certainly correct the issue, thankfully, it's not the only option you have. There are tried-and-true decorating tricks that designers rely on to brighten up a dark room.

A well-lit space isn't just more inviting—it can also improve your overall wellbeing. A bright, airy home can help boost your mood and lower your stress level. To get you started on transforming your home into a light-filled oasis, we rounded up some of our favorite decorating tricks. From adding simple accessories to considering upgrades to your ceiling or wood flooring, there are a variety of options you can consider to make your home feel sunnier and more inviting.

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1 Embrace Maximalism
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Douglas Friedman

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.

2 Try a High-Gloss Ceiling
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Thomas Loof

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.

3 Consider Light Wood Flooring
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Thomas Loof

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.

4 Embrace the Power of a Colorful Rug
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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.

5 Hang Plenty Of Mirrors
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Double the amount of sunlight in your room by allowing it to bounce off reflective surfaces. Hang a large mirror directly across from the largest window in your room, or arrange an array of smaller mirrors to help brighten a dark staircase, suggests .

6 Nix The Heavy Curtains
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There are plenty of window treatment options on the market that provide privacy without turning your abode into a vampire's lair. that absorb light, and instead opt for translucent shades that allow sunshine to spread throughout the room.

7 Add Metallics
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William Abranowicz

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.

8 Trim The Trees By Your Windows
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If light can't reach your window, it certainly won't brighten your room. Make sure any bushes or trees cushioning your windows are trimmed regularly, and avoid planting trees on the southern side of your home (as 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).

9 Opt For Matte, Not Glossy
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It may seem counterintuitive, but (rather than reflect light equally). Matte surfaces, on the other hand, reflect light in every direction.

10 Clean Your Windows
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Yes, we know. This one seems a tad obvious, but simply 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.)

11 Supplement Your Daylight
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Carefully think about where you place light fixtures throughout your space. reports that indirect lighting aimed upward (say, a torchiere floor lamp at the back of the room) can make up for lack of light on the ceiling as daylight dwindles.

12 Be Mindful Of Paintings
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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 streaming into your space rather than reflect it.

13 Place Bookshelves Perpendicular To Window Walls
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Bookshelves or partitions to a window, or they'll obstruct the light. Carefully consider the flow of daylight and how you want to promote it.

14 Opt For A White Or Neutral Color Scheme
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This isn't the place to try out a moody, dark color palette. Think back to 6th-grade science: The lighter the color of your walls, . If your walls are neutral, paint the ceiling a shade lighter to help light bounce around the room.

15 Use Shiny Surfaces To Your Advantage
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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, like acrylic accents, translucent furniture, and mirrored surfaces such as reflective coffee tables.

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