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How To Make A Dark Room Brighter: 16 Best Ways To Brighten A Dark Room!

These ideas work! Here’s 16 great ways to make a dark room brighter. From QUICK & EASY updates to remodeling tips to make a room brighter.

How To Make A Dark Room Feel Brighter

I know some people love a dark and cozy feeling room. BUT, I LOVE a room filled with bright, natural daylight. Luckily, almost every room in my house gets tons of natural light.

But, my kitchen always feels just a bit darker than I’d like. That’s mainly because there’s a pergola outside the windows blocking too much light.

And, I think the lighting and paint color in that room have also added to that darker feel. So, I made a few updates in there that definitely made that dark room look brighter.

Image of a light and bright room for a post with 16 ways to make a dark room feel brighter or to brighten a dark room.
16 Easy Ways To Brighten A Dark Room!

In this list, I’ll share the changes I made and other great ways to brighten a dark room. Let’s get to it!

16 Ways To Brighten A Dark Room

1. Are Blinds And Curtains Blocking Your Light?

Even when the slats are open, blinds can block some natural light. So, try to raise the blinds during the day, to see if that helps.

During dark and gray winter days, I always raise the blinds in our house. It really helps!

And, if your curtains block some of your window, even when fully open, it’s blocking some natural light. You can hang the curtain brackets wider so that the curtains won’t block the window when open.

Wall to Wall cabinets and bookshelves in a home office with tons of storage and great home office decorating ideas.
I always raise the blinds all the way up during darker, winter months. It really helps to make a dark room brighter and lighter.

2. Give Your Windows A Deep Clean, Inside and Outside

Every Spring, I head outside to scrub Live Oak pollen & built up dirt and gunk off my windows. I can’t believe the huge improvement clean windows makes when it comes to letting light into your home.

Outside the home, I use a little Dawn dish soap in warm water to clean the windows, before drying with a clean, dry towel to prevent streaks.

If you have white water spots on your windows, vinegar is great for breaking down hard water spots on windows.

Inside the home, I use one slightly wet rag and one dry rag to clean my windows. I scrub the window clean with the wet rag, then dry it with a clean rag to prevent streaks.

You can quickly and safely clean a shower glass door with marble or stone tile using vinegar & backing soda. But, be careful doing it! Vinegar can etch, stain, and pit your marble and stone tile. Here's a step by step guide to how to clean your glass shower door without damaging your tile.
See how I use vinegar to remove waters stains on glass shower doors in a previous post.

3. Remove The Screen, If Possible

After moving to hot, hot Texas, I almost never have a chance to open any windows in my house. It’s too humid most of the year. Or, the bugs, lizards, and pollen just make it impossible.

So, since I never opened my windows, I realized I could remove a few of my window screens to get a better view of our backyard.

Image of a kitchen with white inset cabinets, Lusso Quartz, undermount sink, with a gas grill stove.
Years ago, I took the screen out of this window so that I could get a nice, clear view of my backyard. But, it also let’s more light into this dark room.

Once those screens were out, I also noticed I was getting A LOT more light through those windows. Now, taking window screens out is one of my favorite, easy ways to make a dark room look brighter.

Just be sure to store the screens somewhere safe, in case you want to put them back in later. AND, for safety reasons, you’ll have to remember to keep that window closed if you have pets or little kids.

4. Use Mirrors To Bounce Light Around The Room

Here’s another great trick that REALLY HELPS. Try adding 1 large mirror or multiple smaller mirrors, grouped together, to brighten a dark room. Mirrors are great at bouncing light around a room.

This trick to make a room brighter can be budget-friendly and rental-friendly too.

This DIY Napoleonic Blue Bathroom Vanity Makeover has completely transformed my bathroom. The color is beautiful and chalk paint is a great low budget diy project that anyone can do. #AbbottsAtHome #ChalkPaintMakeover #BathroomCabinets #BathroomVanity #BathroomRemodel
Using extra large mirrors in dark rooms can help the room feel brighter. See my steps for that Blue DIY Chalk Paint Bathroom Vanity Makeover in a previous post.

5. Add An Extra Lamp Or A Bigger Ceiling Light

Don’t forget, you can always add another lamp or a larger ceiling light. I have been putting up with a dark bedroom at night for years and years.

So, when I recently added picture frame trim and a peel and stick wallpaper mural, I added in a third lamp too. It’s been a HUGE improvement at night. The “dark corner” has completely disappeared.

Image of a Framed Wallpaper Mural DIY for a post about how to frame a wallpaper mural with picture frame trim on a wall.
Adding that little lamp next to the chair has completed gotten rid of the dark feeling this room had at night. See the steps for that Super Easy Peel And Stick Framed Wallpaper Mural in a previous post.

I also changed the ceiling lights in all of our walk-in closets and smaller bathrooms from a 1 or 2 light bulb fixture to a 3 light bulb fixture. I LOVE how much brighter the lighting is in those rooms now!!

6. Pick The Right Light Bulbs

LED light bulbs come in so many varieties. And, everyone seems to have a favorite. Last year, I switched all of the bulbs in our house to “Daylight” bulbs. Those bulbs have a clean bright white light.

Daylight bulbs actually look like real daylight, in my opinion, and they don’t feel artificial at all. I also try to pick the highest lumens and wattage that the light fixture can handle. The brighter the better, for me.

Covering ceiling texture with shiplap in a white traditional kitchen.
The best light bulbs for dark rooms are Daylight LED bulbs, in my opinion. I replaced all of the “yellow-light” cans in our kitchen with these bright Daylight bulbs. It was a HUGE improvement.

7. Are Your Lamp Shades Light Enough

Years ago I bought a really cool-looking, houndstooth lamp shade that I LOVED. But, that thick, dark fabric blocked SO MUCH light from my lamp. I eventually had to switch back to a white shade.

Make sure you pick white or light lamp shades for dark rooms. You want those lamps giving out as much light as possible to make a room brighter.

Image of a DIY Framed Wallpaper Mural for a post about how to frame wallpaper with trim on a wall.
Those white lamp shades help white light from my Daylight Bulbs spread further around the room. Check out 23 Beautiful & Shocking Before And After Room Makeover Photos to see what this room looked like before it’s recent makeover.

8. Clear Anything Blocking Sunlight Outside The Windows

Porch overhangs, pergolas, sun sails, trees, and tons of other things can block natural light from entering a room. When possible, try to remove things that are blocking sunlight.

We removed a half-dead palm tree outside our kitchen. That helped to let more light in. I also painted the porch ceiling outside the room white.

Modern Farmhouse DIY Pine Tongue and Groove Ceiling Tutorial that will turn your porch into that beautiful, charming spot you've always wanted. For most porches, you can have these wood planks installed in a weekend, guys! #AbbottsAtHome #PlankCeiling #PorchCeiling #TongueAndGroove
When I installed this DIY Tongue and Groove Porch Ceiling, I painted it white to help brighten the room behind the porch.

Soon, I hope to modify the pergola attached to the porch so that even more sunlight can reach our kitchen. I’ll probably paint that pergola a light color too.

9. Can You Open Up The Room To Other Rooms?

OK, most of the options above are relatively easy, budget-friendly options to make a dark room brighter. This option is more for anyone that’s open to home remodeling ideas.

If your dark room is next to a bright and light room, you could try to figure out how to open up the 2 rooms to each other.

You could remove a wall, install a half wall to let more light in, install a larger cased or arched doorway, or just merge the rooms into a larger room.

View through an archway of a white foyer with board and batten walls.
Large archways throughout my open plan home really help daylight reach all of the rooms. See more of my two story foyer remodel in a previous post.

10. Switch To A French Door

If removing a wall or installing large openings won’t work for you, how about switching to interior doors with windows? I’m a big fan of our extra tall, French Doors.

They’re a big reason why most of our house feels light and bright, year round.

French doors in a hallway.
If possible, replacing solid doors with French Doors is a great way to brighten a dark room.

I wouldn’t use them for bedrooms, But, switching to French Doors or other interior doors with windows works great for Laundry Rooms, Kitchens, Offices, and Home Gyms.

11. Try White Walls

In the last few years, I’ve been repainting a lot of rooms in our home WHITE. Switching to white paint ALWAYS makes these rooms feel lighter, brighter, and more open.

White paint reflects more light. So, it really does brighten a dark room. In fact, I just painted our kitchen walls and ceiling white too. Our whole kitchen feels bigger and brighter with these clean, crisp white walls.

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

I’ve been using Eggshell paint sheen on our walls for years! But, in the last few years, I started using Eggshell sheen on our ceilings too.

I used Eggshell sheen on the kitchen ceiling too. You can see it in the photo above.

I’m not exaggerating, using Eggshell sheen on ceilings reflects light in a beautiful, subtle way. Which makes those ceilings feel HIGHER and the whole room feels brighter.

Image of Flat and Eggshell Ceiling Paint Finish. Text Says "Eggshell vs Flat".
You can see more before and after examples of Flat vs Eggshell on ceilings in a previous post.

13. Remove Any Furniture That Blocks Light

I’ve often been in so many rooms that are packed with too much furniture There will even be pieces like large armoires or bookcases right next to a window.

Having large furniture next to windows will block sunlight from reaching the whole room. Try to remove 1 or 2 large pieces from crowded rooms.

Or, just rearrange the furniture so that sunlight won’t be blocked. This simple change can make a dark room look brighter.

14. Lighten Up The Floors

Lighter tile, wood, or carpet can also make a dark room feel lighter. This update can get expensive, but if you’re already planning on updating the flooring in a dark room, pick a light flooring.

When we bought this house, the floors were dark orange and black slate tiles. Those dark floors made the whole house look darker. Switching to lighter floors has been a game changer!

Image of a Dining Room seen through a large white kitchen.
You can see in our Kitchen Makeover Photos the before and after on switching to light flooring.

15. Skylights, Dormers, and Skylight Tubes

If the dark room in your home has an attic or roof above it, you can always add in skylights, a dormer, or skylight tubes to let more light in.

See Affordable Skylight Tubes on Amazon here.

When I was a kid, we had a skylight in our hall bathroom. Having that natural light in there made the whole room feel lighter and more welcoming. And, it brought a lot of light into the hallway too!

I’ve thought about adding skylights in our dark home gym, but I think I’ll add a large dormer in there instead. Dormers are those vertical windows you see on sloped roofs.

Dormer windows can be opened and used as an exit, so while it brings more light into our gym, it will also mean that our gym can be counted as an extra bedroom too.

Tour our cozy Modern Farmhouse, Traditional Living Room with this look at our fun & colorful Living Room Christmas Decorations, this year. Full of pops of Red, Blue, and Green! #AbbottsAtHome #ChristmasIdeas #ChristmasDecorations #ChristmasDecor #ChristmasLivingRoom
My favorite part of our Living Room is the 10 LARGE windows that let in so much light! Check out 15 Free or Cheap Ways To Update A Living Room for affordable decorating ideas.

16. Go For Bigger Windows

Last but not least, if your budget allows, have LARGER windows installed in dark rooms. Many older homes were built with smaller windows than people like these days.

But, you don’t have to keep those windows small. Switching those out for larger windows not only lets more light into a home, it can also modernize the exterior look on a dated house.

After image of a 2-story brick house painted white with Sherwin Williams Loxon XP.
Luckily, this house was built with extra large windows. Check out 18 BIG Pros & Cons: Should You Paint a Brick House White to see what my house looked like before I painted the brick white.

That’s it for this list of ways to make a dark room brighter. I hope this helped you figure out how to brighten a dark room in your house.

You might also like 15 BEST Ways To Make A Dark Basement Feel Brighter.

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Feeling inspired? Now you’ve seen this list of ways to make a dark room feel brighter, get to work. And, good luck!