How to Make a Dark Room Feel Lighter
10/25 Design Tips

How to Make a Dark Room Feel Lighter

7 ideas to expand your space

Chances are, you have a room in your house that you want to feel lighter.

Whether it’s a window-less bathroom, a small home office, a bedroom, or even your great room, giving a space the illusion of more light can be tricky.

However, sometimes rooms with design “challenges” result in the most interesting creative solutions. After years of designing projects for our clients and for our Dream Home Makeover projects on Netflix, we’ve learned a few things about how to make a dark space feel lighter and brighter.

Here are 7 ideas to expand the feeling of your space:

No. 1: Add life to your space with greenery 

A little greenery can go a long way in bringing any space to life. Whether it’s a windowless bathroom or a small home office, adding real or faux greenery trees, potted plants, or even florals can shift the mood.   

No. 2: Bring in mirrors and reflective materials 

It’s no secret that mirrors and other reflective materials make your space look bigger, but they can also make a space feel brighter. Even metal accessories can bounce any light you might have in the room to expand it.  

Pro tip: If you have a window in your room with an adjacent blank wall, placing a mirror there can almost double the feeling of the window in your space.   

From our Swan Lake House

Mirror, mirror

Add a mirror to your space expand the feeling of the room.
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No. 3: Incorporate light furniture and natural materials 

If you have a dark space that you want to feel brighter, consider brightening your materials. In a dark bedroom, you may want to go with a bed frame in a light or muted material, but even switching out dark bedding for a lightweight fabric in a lighter color can make a big difference. 

In a bathroom, you can brighten everything from your shower curtain to your hand towel to infuse a sense of lightness.  

From our Mountainside Retreat Project

No. 4: Layer your lighting  

Lighting can make or break a room, especially one that you want to feel lighter. Lighting design isn’t just about a fancy chandelier, and sometimes a floor lamp or a lamp at eye level can make all the difference.  

We light to think about lighting in levels and bring in as many as possible with the surfaces we have to work with. Plus, there’s nothing that sets the mood like lamplight, you just can’t beat it!  

Pro tip: opt for fabric lampshades if you want to multiply your lamp light. Metallic shades can dim light! 

From our PC Contemporary Project

How to Make a Dark Room Feel Lighter
How to Make a Dark Room Feel Lighter

From our Beckham Project

Lamps for every level

Add lighting at every level to brighten the room and set the mood.
Lamps worth splurging on
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No. 5: Consider your window treatments  

If we have a window in a space that we want to make feel brighter, we’ll typically go with a privacy lining instead of blackout to take as much advantage of the light as possible. Choosing a material in a lighter, brighter material can also go a long way in brightening any room. 

From our AZ Homestead Project

No. 6: Incorporate furniture with legs 

Although you don’t want your space to feel too “leggy,” with too much legged furniture, balancing the profiles of your pieces can create the illusion of more space, and therefore lighter. For example, if you have a small entryway, a console table on legs will open up your space a lot more verses one that is solid all the way to the ground.  

From our Beckham Project

Legged furniture favorites

Open up your space by mixing in legged furniture pieces.
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No. 7: Lean into the dark mood 

Sometimes, the best design results come from leaning into what we have to work with and letting the space speak for itself. We love a dark moody space, especially when it’s something that you can add a bit of personality to like a powder room, office, or even bedroom! Don’t be afraid to experiment with paint, or even wallpaper to enhance a dark and moody area and make it feel intentional.  

From our Swan Lake House

From our Mountainside Retreat Project

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