8 Creative Tips on How to Brighten a Dark Room

Updated January 23, 2023
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While Minnesota winters bring beautiful landscapes of snow-covered trees, the days get darker earlier in the day. During the long winter months you may be asking yourself how to brighten a dark room in your home. Try these tips to bring more light into your apartment or home.

modern living room with a neutral color scheme

Brighten a Dark Room with Color scheme

When choosing a color scheme for your home, look for neutral colors like white, off-white or gray tones in both furniture and decor pieces. Give the room character by adding strong patterns, texture and variations of the same hue. 

Throw blankets and pillows are the easiest thing to add to a room to add texture and patterns. It’s also something you can continue to change to make the space feel new again. 

Create bright focal points by including pops of color, plants or a few items of contrast throughout the room to really make the neutrals stand out.

Larger furniture pieces like coffee tables, end tables, bookcases, benches, tables and chairs can also be a factor when considering how to brighten a dark room. Choose lighter woods and smaller, thinner pieces when setting up your home.

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There are many beautiful options for transparent furniture especially for coffee and side tables. This design will let light flow throughout the room.

living room with many plants and neutral colored furniture

Choose a bright rug

Not only will adding a rug brighten the room, it will add to the style of the room. Rugs generally are placed on hardwood floors, but there are no rules to say that you cannot add a rug to tile or carpet, especially when they are dark. 

Rugs come in all shapes and sizes along with a wide range of cost. There are even rugs that can be put in the washing machine; a nice option for pet owners. 

Use retailers like Wayfair, Amazon, Overstock, or rugs.com if you are trying to be more budget conscious. If you are willing to hunt a little for the perfect rug, thrifting will provide you with both an adventure and a good deal.

modern desk in a living room with green painted walls

Brighten a Dark Room with Curtains

While curtains are great for privacy, they also prohibit light from coming in. Hang your curtains high and wide to make your windows look bigger, and more light will find its way in. 

Remove heavy curtains and choose a lighter and airier style. This is especially important for rooms that are used for entertaining or have large windows. If your window treatments include valances, this can also be removed for another easy step of how to brighten a dark room.

local art hanging on the walls of a living room with a blue couch

Choose bright art

Art is an easy way to add a pop of color into your home. It’s also a great option if you are renting as it leaves minimal damage to a wall and will be able to move with you in the future. Find pieces that speak to you, inspire you, or that you just enjoy displaying.

While there is art available at Wayfair, Hobby Lobby, or Target for low cost, find one-of-a-kind pieces by supporting local artists in your community. 

a mirror hanging in a sitting space

Hang a mirror 

Adding a mirror to a room will reflect sunlight and make the room feel bigger. The mirror doesn’t have to be fastened to the wall. An easy and renter-friendly option is to set the mirror on a table or low bookcase then style around it with coffee table books, baskets, vases, or plants.

light blubs can be used as a simple solution on how to brighten a dark room

Change your lightbulbs

Changing your lightbulbs to the maximum wattage is a simple way to brighten a dark room. It is relatively inexpensive with the only cost being new light bulbs. Consider using LED lights as well for more energy-efficient lighting.

an apartment living room with a blue couch

Brighten a Dark Room with White lamp shades

Another low-cost project is updating your lamp shades to white. It will allow more light into the room. Find deals on lamp shades and TJ Maxx, Walmart, or Target

a window that is showing the sunset

Clean Windows and Surfaces

As silly as it may sound, washing your windows and other surfaces regularly will help light move into your home. Overtime as the dirt/dust on windows and other glass surfaces builds up, a barrier is created allowing less light to pass through the glass. 

Loving the vibe of your apartment or house is important. It’s the place where you relax and live life. How to brighten a dark room should not be a struggle for anyone. Adding additional lighting or updating furniture to bring more light into your space may just be what you need. 

If you are moving in 2023, consider finding an apartment that has many windows and has lighter colored finishings. Bigos Management has many apartments for rent that let in a lot of light and a dark room will never be an issue during the winter months!


*If you are renting, check in your apartment handbook or with the leasing office on the rules of hanging anything in your apartment.


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