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How To Light Up A Dark Closet: 11 Best Closet Lighting Ideas

These ideas work! Here’s 11 great ways to light up a dark closet. From QUICK & EASY updates without wiring to bigger closet lighting ideas.

How To Light Up A Dark Closet

The closets in this house were so dark and dreary when we moved in. Builder’s are always installing cheap, 1 bulb light fixtures whenever they can get away with it.

But, no worries, I know some great tricks when it comes to making a closet feel brighter and full of light. And, most of these are easy, budget-friendly changes that anyone can do.

Image of an organized closet with built ins for a post with 11 ways to make a dark closet feel brighter or how to brighten a closet.
This closet is light and bright after a few of these quick ways to add light to a closet.

Some links on this post are affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases at no additional cost to you. 

If you need tips for other rooms in your house, check out 16 Ways To Make A Dark Room Feel Brighter. There are a few things you can do in other rooms that you can’t do in a closet!

OK, let’s get started with how to light up a dark closet.

11 Ways To Brighten A Closet

No one likes a dark and dingy closet. Here’s 11 easy ways to add more light in a closet.

Image of a messy, dark closet without much organization.
Here’s a look at this dark closet before I remodeled it. Adding a 3-bulb light fixture, brighter light bulbs, decluttering, and using light paint made this closet feel light and bright.

1. Install A Bigger Ceiling Light

Let’s start with 3 big-impact closet lighting ideas everyone should try! Whenever I update a closet, I always switch out the builders grade, single-bulb light with a bigger fixture that has 3-light bulbs.

Using 3 light bulbs with the highest watts that the fixture allows always makes a closet brighter. And, you don’t have to do any new wiring or hire a contractor (if your handy) when you’re just switching fixtures.

A 3-bulb light fixture can brighten a dark closet.
A 3-bulb light fixture can brighten a dark closet. I also painted the walls and ceiling with fresh white paint with an Eggshell Sheen that reflects light.

2. Pick The Right Light Bulbs

On top of installing a light fixture with more bulbs, you can also add more light to a closet by using brighter lightbulbs. I am a HUGE FAN of a “Daylight” light bulb.

The color you get with a Daylight LED bulb isn’t yellow or blue, it’s that perfect white that actually feels like natural daylight in your closet.

Check out the 3-Bulb Drum Light I installed in our closets on Amazon.

3. Install Battery-powered LED Lights

They make SO MANY great LED lights these days. You can get LED strip lights for shelves and puck lights for targeted lighting.

You can also find motion-detecting LED lights that come on as soon as you open the closet door.

And, most of these types of LED lights are available as a battery-operated, no wiring required version. I LOVE this trick for adding light in a closet on the cheap OR in a rental.

See a GREAT, Budget-Friendly Motion Sensor LED Battery-Operated Strip Light On Amazon.

Image of wood trim covering a plywood edge for a post with 8 GREAT ways to finish plywood edges with trim. I LOVE this easy, beautiful way to cover plywood edges.
After installing a 3-bulb fixture and daylight light bulbs in this closet, it is light and bright! Check out 8 Best Ways To Finish Plywood Edges With Trim to see more DIY updates in this closet.

4. Use Mirrors To Bounce Light Around The Room

Another easy trick to add light to a closet is to add a large mirror. If you have room for a full length mirror, even better.

A large mirror helps by reflecting more light around the closet. And, BONUS, it’s always nice to have a mirror nearby when you’re getting dressed.

5. Are Your Lamp Shades Light Enough

Here’s one last tip for picking a new light for a closet, avoid lights with dark glass or dark shades. They will block some of the light or change the color of the light.

So, go for clear or nearly clear white glass or white shades on any light fixtures in closets.

Image of an organized closet with built ins for a post with 11 ways to make a dark closet feel brighter or how to brighten a closet.
Among other things, this closet has a white lamp shade, 3 “daylight” light bulbs in the light fixture, and an organized closet that makes seeing everything EASY. See 10 BEST TIPS for Building Beautiful DIY Small Walk In Closet Built Ins in a previous post.

6. Declutter Your Closet

I know my bedroom closet often turns into a dumping ground for EVERYTHING. But, whenever I take the time to organize and declutter my closet, it really does make it feel brighter and easier to see in there.

Decluttering a closet also helps direct light reach more areas inside the closet.

So, take a day to really give that closet a deep clean, donate anything you won’t use, throw out junk, and organize everything that’s left.

7. Try White Walls

White paint is the BEST when it comes to reflecting light around any room, and that includes closets. So, even if a closet already is white, maybe it needs a fresh clean coat to help brighten a closet.

Check out how switching to white paint has been brightening rooms around my house in this Easy DIY Space Themed Bedroom Makeover or this Home Office Makeover with Green Built-Ins post.

Wall to Wall cabinets and bookshelves in a home office with tons of storage and great home office decorating ideas.
Using white paint with an Eggshell paint sheen in our office made this room feel so bright, light and open!

8. Switch From Flat To Eggshell Paint Sheen On The Ceiling

Picking white paint with a sheen can reflect EVEN MORE light. So, I always use a white paint with an Eggshell sheen. That sheen is shiny enough to reflect light, but not shiny enough to accent uneven walls.

9. Lighten Up The Floors

On top of lightening and brightening closets with white paint, switching to a light flooring can also help to light up a dark closet.

Light floors also make a good background for being able to see anything piled on a closet floor.

White 2 story foyer makeover after picture.
The original flooring in our house was black and dark orange and the walls were all painted with dark colors. Switching to white walls and light floors makes the home feel bright, welcoming, and airy.

10. Skylights and Skylight Tube Lights

Now, here’s 2 ways to add light to a closet without wiring that will probably still require hiring a contractor.

If your closet has the roof above it, you might have the option to actually bring daylight into a closet. Look into installing Skylight Tube Lights or a Skylight into a dark closet.

Skylight Tube lights are kind of like a porthole version of a skylight. But, they are “tiny but mighty” because the tube is actually lined with reflective material that increases the daylight it brings into a room.

See Affordable Skylight Tubes on Amazon here.

Image of a DIY Framed Wallpaper Mural for a post about how to frame wallpaper with trim on a wall.
Windows can lighten a dark closet, instantly. If it’s in your budget AND it won’t mess up the look of the exterior of your home, try to add a small window or two. Check out this Easy Peel And Stick Framed Wallpaper Mural and more of my bedroom in a previous post.

11. Add A Window

And, last but not least, if your dark closet is on an exterior wall, you can look into installing a window in that closet. Even a small window can make a HUGE difference in a dark closet.

I’ve been in a few walk-in closets that had 1 foot high by 2 foot wide windows along the top of a wall. Those closets looked beautiful and those windows added tons of light to the closets.

How to light up a dark closet. Closet lighting ideas that add light to a closet without wiring and with wiring.
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That’s it for how to add light to a closet without wiring and with wiring. Now, here’s a few more posts that will help you DECORATE your home.

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Feeling inspired? Now you’ve seen this list for how to light up a dark closet, get to work. And, good luck!