Install a skylight to add natural light in a dark room.

How to Lighten a Dark Room With No Natural Light

by Mary Cockrill

Add good vibes and bright energy to a dark room that’s lacking natural light. The right colors, furnishings and an artificial lighting plan can transform your cavelike room into a cheery, sweet space. Develop a budget for your brightening revamp to establish spending parameters that you feel comfortable with.

1. Artificial Light

Integrate a variety of artificial lighting fixtures into a dark room to create a brighter, more welcoming environment. Install overhead track or recessed lighting to supply a dark room with brilliant illumination. You can adjust individual track lights to target specific areas in a room, such as a fireplace, wall shelves or a seating area. Suspend a sparkling chandelier over a dining table or center it above a bed for dazzling lighting effects. Place table lamps atop accent tables, buffets, dressers and chests of drawers to offer much-needed task lighting. Brighten a dark corner with a decorative floor lamp, torchiere or adjustable can light. Equip your light fixtures with energy-efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs for light-rendering qualities that mimic natural daylight.

2. Natural Light

A room without any natural light can feel dark and depressing. You can add the warm glow of natural light to a dark room by installing windows, solar tubes or a skylight. Expect to pay a hefty price tag for new windows, depending on their size, location and quantity. Mount a skylight through the roof to allow natural light to cheer up a dark space. Solar tubes deliver illumination to a first floor room in a two-story home, as well as the top floor spaces. These sheet-metal tubes are lined with polished interiors that work like mirrors to channel natural light along their length to brighten interior rooms.

3. Walls and Floors

Because light colors tend to reflect light, while dark hues absorb light, choose a light-colored paint for your walls and ceiling. Walls with a hint of color, such as creamy ivory, off-white or a soft pastel, offer a warm, inviting ambiance while keeping a room feeling light and airy. Choose a satin or eggshell paint finish to provide a more reflective surface for light to bounce off of. Similar decorating principles apply to flooring. Select a light-colored hardwood, such as oak or maple, with a glossy topcoat to help brighten a room. Laminate flooring that resembles natural hardwood is durable and attractive for a fraction of the cost of real wood floors. If you prefer wall-to-wall carpeting, pick a light beige or soft white to maintain an upbeat feel.

4. Furniture and Accessories

Light-colored furniture in natural pine or light oak plays a role in creating a light and airy room atmosphere. White-painted pieces with a glossy finish, mirrored surfaces and glass-top tables also contribute to a brighter feel. Opt for upholstery fabrics with light hues and vivid prints to brighten the mood in a dark space. Too many accessories can make a dark room seem even darker and claustrophobic. Settle on decorative accents with reflective surfaces, such as wall mirrors, metal lamp bases and glossy vases to create a more radiant room.

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