How to make a room brighter

Is there a room in your home that feels a little on the dark side? Read my article for practical advice on making the space feel lighter and brighter in a matter of seconds.

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There’s always one room you wish was a little bit brighter, isn’t there?

It could be a spare bedroom or your living room or office, which just feels more cramped and dark than you’d like it to be. This can potentially make you feel less inclined to use the space or not enjoy it as much as you’d like to. 

Now you could: 

  1. Continue to put up with how it is or;
  2. Make some changes to your interior and layout here and there that will actually make a massive difference.

What makes a room look brighter?

As surprising as this may sound, there are actually several things we can all do that can transform a dark and dingy room into a lighter and brighter place in an instant.

You don’t have to be an interior designer to make these changes either, they’re something we can all embrace.

How to make your room brighter

Implementing just one of these tips can help lift your room(s) in so many different ways:

1. Get rid of any clutter

Piles of belongings, especially if you’ve got lots of them and they’re piled up particularly high, can immediately make spaces feel dark and cramped.

This is particularly the case if any of it happens to be on your windowsills or partially or fully blocking your windows.

If the room in question is harbouring any clutter, have a clear out. You’ll be amazed at how much space you’ll reclaim and how much clearer and brighter everything will feel.

2. Review your windows

Now this is a really crucial tip.

If your dark room has one or more windows in it, they’re the key to brightening things up.

Perhaps you’ve got thick, heavy curtains on them that may be great for keeping draughts out in the winter, but are blocking out way too much light?

Or maybe they’ve been fitted with a roman or roller blind that instantly shuts out at least a quarter of the natural daylight that would usually come through?

Where possible, select sheer fabrics that make your window more of a feature while also letting the light in.

Give your windows a good clean inside and out too; it’s such a simple thing that will undoubtedly enable the light to shine in some more!

3. Have a cull of your furniture

Just in the same way clutter works, having too much furniture in one room or pieces that are too big and bulky for that space, can make it feel darker than it actually is. So while you’re sorting through your clutter, factor in your furniture too.

What works? What doesn’t work and what do you really need to stay in that room? Be ruthless, it doesn’t mean you have to get rid of your furniture. You can if you want, but you could always just move it to another room.

4. Make sure you’ve got a single focal point

Having multiple things to look at it in one room means there’s too much going on, which can make it feel too busy, cramped and dark.

But creating a single focal point means there’s less to take in, which naturally draws your attention to just one place (and then everywhere else).

As for the focal points, it could be the bed in your bedroom, the sofa in your living room or the dining set in your kitchen.

Decide on what that main focus point is and then keep everything around it to a minimum (from a colour and numbers perspective).

5. Choose bright flooring

This could be large, vibrant rug in front of the sofa in your living room, light brown laminate in your dining room, geometric-patterned LVT in your kitchen or striped carpet in your bedroom. 

Bold and bright flooring is capable of instantly lifting any room of any size. Just be mindful of the fact that if your room is on the smaller side, make the room all about your flooring and make everything else less obvious, design and colour-wise.

Otherwise, you’ll end up with too much happening, which will make things look too busy which, as you now know, can make things feel more cramped and dark.

What colours make a room feel larger?

You can’t go wrong with following a neutral colour scheme, for example, white, cream, magnolia and beige.

If you do want a splash of colour, consider off-white shades with a subtle undertone, for instance, light blue, grey or green. The lighter the shade, the better.

Sticking to just one colour makes room instantly appear brighter and larger. However, if you’d like to use more than one shade, make sure they are similar to each other, e.g. off-white and beige. 

How can I lighten a room with no windows?

With the help of some clever lighting and mirror magic!

Lighting is the perfect solution for brightening up dark rooms that don’t have the benefit of featuring a window. Having plenty of lighting (ceiling, wall, table and floor lighting) is something that’s really easy to do and fits all budgets too.

Meanwhile, mirrors are the master of giving the illusion of space. They immediately bounce light around rooms, making everything feel more open and spacious.

What’s more, you put them almost anywhere – on the walls, on the floor, on top of cabinets and console tables.

Try this: place an oversized mirror next to a floor lamp, the light will reflect off the mirror and around the rest of the room. 

Dark rooms can be easily resolved in more ways than one.

A light colour palette, minimal furniture, zero clutter, bright flooring and plenty of strategically-positioned mirrors and lighting can really work wonders.

For more on decorating with neutrals, take a look at this article, ‘Neutral living rooms: how to achieve the look.’

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Victoria Foster

Written by:

Stylist & Visual Merchandiser

at ScS

15th February 2023

Victoria is a stylist and merchandiser based at our in-house photo studio. Having been part of the ScS family since 2012, Victoria styles stunning home sets with the latest trends to showcase newly launched ScS products. With over 25 years of experience in styling and merchandising, she loves to keep an eye on the latest trends in the interior landscape. Victoria's favourite interior scheme is the Boho trend and loves to layer a mixture of different textures in her home. Her styling top tip is to always create a focal point in a room. Whether it’s a feature wall, a piece of artwork, or a bright patterned rug, having a focal point can help to drive the decisions on the rest of the rooms layout.