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6 tricks that will make a dark room appear instantly brighter

Step into the light with these ideas for illuminating a darker space within your home
   Matthew Currington  |  written on: 11-03-2019 17:00pm

Matthew Currington, Technical Director at The Lighting Superstore, shares his tips...

Browse 1,000s of inspiring ideas for your kitchen, bathroom or bedroom redesign

1. Mirror, mirror

The oldest trick in the book to make a dark space feel lighter and larger is using the art of reflection. Reflective surfaces and materials such as glass and polished metals will encourage both natural or artificial light to bounce around the room, reaching even the darkest of corners.

Image courtesy of The Lighting Superstore.

To truly see the light, hang a large mirror on a wall directly opposite a large window to reflect natural sunlight back into the room. For those struggling with a dark, small hallway, place two mirrors of the same size opposite each other to create the illusion that your hallway is wider.

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2. Light it up
If you’re struggling to lighten up a room which doesn’t have a natural light source of its own, the quickest and most cost-effective way to substitute this is with artificial lighting. While it may seem like a good idea, ceiling lights will only accentuate a room’s darkness. That’s because light will only travel downwards and won’t disperse.

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Instead, strategically place floor and table lamps with neutral shades at varying heights across the room to encourage the flow of light upwards and keep it evenly distributed across the space. For dark kitchens, dimmable LED under cabinet lighting is a must-have, giving you a burst of bright light when you need it.

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3. Play with colour
When it comes to brightening up a space, picking the right colour palette is essential. The paint you choose can help even more light to bounce from surface to surface. Opt for white or light neutral coloured paint in a glossy finish to achieve this. Some paint brands even offer ranges which have light-reflective particles allowing natural light to reflect off walls.

Image courtesy of The Lighting Superstore.

Paint your ceiling in the same or similar shade to create the illusion of a larger, more airy space. If the room feels uninspired, consider hanging photos in mirrored photo frames or light artwork to make it feel more personal.

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4. Windows are your Holy Grail
Just as you can’t enter a house without a door, light can’t enter a room without a window. When it comes to dressing them, stick to light coloured curtains and blinds. You may think they’re old fashioned but voile and net curtains are sheer so they’ll let more light through without compromising your privacy.

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Inspiration by Plus Rooms

Crittall-style windows, synonymous with New York loft apartments, are perfect for making a statement while improving light flow. It may sound simple but keeping your windows clean also makes a big difference, as does making sure the layout of your furniture doesn’t block incoming daylight.

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5. The root cause
If large, overgrown trees and hedges are blocking natural sunlight from reaching your home, it may be time to consider getting your hands dirty…or calling in an expert.

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Inspiration by TEMZA

By cutting these back you’ll exploit available daylight all year around and improve your view. If you’re worried about privacy, you could consider frosted glass or shutters.

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6. Keep your options open
If you have a larger budget to spend on lightening up your home, consider installing skylights or daylighting systems, which funnel daylight through pipes from your rooftop without requiring structural modifications.

Image courtesy of The Lighting Superstore.

Changing the structural layout of your floorplan can also be a worthwhile investment to create more open-plan spaces. It may be an internal door or wall can be removed to combine two rooms into one or an external wall removed to allow for a light-rich conservatory or “sun room”.

Top image via BioGraphy Kitchens.

NEXT! Keen to nail the shelving in your home? Get inspired with our moodboard of the most creative ideas - click any image below to start.

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Matthew Currington

With twenty years’ experience in the lighting industry and over seventeen years’ experience in the role of Technical Director at The Lighting Superstore, Matthew is solely responsible for designing, building and managing internal systems at the one-stop-shop lighting store. With a keen interest in the technical side of lighting, such as lighting control and LED technology, Matthew’s main responsibilities include focusing on the network of machines, remote and local server management as well as bespoke desktop and mobile applications for EPOS, CRM, inventory management and processing sales orders.

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