We all believe that just because a room may lack the luxury of natural light (more commonly a complaint found from apartment residents), that this does not mean that you have to settle for living in your home and submitting to some of its dark spaces. Creating brighter rooms in residences is a common problem now a days, and can sometimes cause quite the dilemma for top London interior designer. Major renovations and obviously adding in skylights where possible can address the issue, thankfully our interior designers have compiled a few tried-and-true decorating tips and tricks that we use on certain projects in order to brighten up dark rooms. Creating a bright space not only makes it appear more inviting but can also improve your overall well being by boosting your mood and lowering stress levels.

From adding some simple accessories to considering changes to your ceilings or flooring's, there are many options to consider to make your dark rooms feel brighter, lighter and more inviting.

Consider Your Curtains

Thick and heavy window treatments and curtains are often the main culprits of absorbing natural light in dark rooms. Try to keep fabrics lighter in both colour and weight and this will help to add and preserve more light into your dark spaces – fussy heavy curtains will always partially block out natural light, so choose instead for curtains made from lighter fabrics and ensure the curtains are hung and installed so that they can be pulled right back against the wall and do not obstruct the window when open. At Kensington Design we have many curtain tie-back designs, colours and options – feel free to have a look at some options of tiebacks curtains online or pop in-store where one of our world renowned interior designers can assist you. If you need curtains and blinds for privacy try to lean towards using sheer, light fabrics as darker coloured drapes and blinds will absorb the light. In a north facing room vertical blinds, roman blinds and venetian blinds all work well at retaining natural light (so long as the fabric is light and sheer).

A Wash of White

Many interior designers will look first to mirrors or reflective surfaces as a beginning to try and create a brighter room through reflecting light around the space – however, the best way we have found to lighten and brighten a dark room is to scatter the light using lots of white – this is due to the non-hue not absorbing any colour. White walls and furnishings send as much light as possible bouncing indirectly back to other surfaces. Another great way to keep a room feeling light and airy is to paint your ceiling in a shade of white that is one or two shades lighter than the white paint you have chosen for your walls as the eye is drawn upwards to the lightest point of the room. For furnishings white lampshades or lighting fixtures are also good options to brighten up a room whilst providing a soothing and warming glow. Think of adding sconces with shades that are adjustable to move upwards and downwards as these will then wash the walls with a warm glow. Lastly, consider adding or staining your flooring to a lighter wood colour. Light stains are great for high traffic areas as they are more forgiving at hiding scuffs and scratches.

Bonus: How to choose right white for your walls

white interior design tips

Roll out a Rug

If you have dark hardwood/carpet or laminate floors – as beautiful and popular as they are in contemporary homes – they tend to drain out and absorb a great deal of natural light, especially so in corridors in the home that are without windows. Runner rights in bright and lighter colours will break up this dark flooring and create a mix of texture and airiness.

Explore 5 colour trends for interior design in 2019

A large and colourful area rug is not only a great solution for defining a specific area in a home, but can also be used to inject some bright design into a dark space whilst also showing off your aesthetic. If a bold colour isn’t to your taste consider adding in a large neutral coloured rug in materials such as jute or rattan – these natural materials have a similar brightening effect as a cream rug but are much more hard wearing and far easier to clean and maintain.

buy indoor rugs online

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall…

Mirrors are brilliant tools that can create the illusion of space and light and are often used by interior designers in small spaces but also in dark spaces. Placing a mirror on the adjacent wall to your biggest window will reflect the largest amount of light – the larger the mirror the more effective this is, so go as large as your size of space can aesthetically handle.

Don't now how to use mirror on walls? check this post

If you are brightening up a north facing dark room that is small in size it is ideal to choose a mirror with a thin frame as this allows you to be generous with the mirror size without overwhelming the space. When tackling dark hallways consider using a large mirror at the end in order to create the sense of a longer and brighter hallway. Mirrors have a large impact on reflecting light in a room, but many often forget that any reflective materials in the room will also help brighten a room. Objects such as chandeliers, brass lighting fixtures or even acrylic furniture are also great alternatives to help brighten a dark room. Explore our mirror collection for brightening up your dark room.

mirror for home decor

Choosing your Furniture

In dark rooms we try to design and consider avoiding heavy or bulky furniture and instead opt for slimline or low hung pieces that will then allow for much more light to flow around the space. Choosing furniture that will reflect light around the room is perfect for lightening a dark room; think marbled sideboards, mirrored or glass coffee tables or contemporary chairs featuring stainless steel frames. The design and materials are not the only thing to consider with your furniture in a dark room; it is also important to consider the layout of this furniture. In your room notice where most of the natural light falls. Then begin to think about how and when you use each piece of furniture – your comfy sofa that is perfect for relaxing on after work or watching TV in the evenings is in less need of natural day light than a reading chair or desk unit.

buy furniture online

At Kensington Design we have been assisting designers and clients in helping them overcome design dilemmas - from working on tight budgets to assisting in helping create more inviting small or dark spaces. Our talented designers are on hand to assist you through every step of your design journey no matter how big or small your project is. Please feel free to contact us here or pop in-store where one of our designers would be delighted to assist you.