How to Brighten Up a Room

Five Methods:Painting WallsReplacing FlooringAdding LightingPicking FurnitureChoosing Decorations

Rooms that have few windows or light fixtures can feel small and dark. Home improvements that light up a room range from slight cosmetic changes to significant remodeling. Learn how to brighten up a room according to your budget.

Method 1
Painting Walls

  1. Image titled Brighten Up a Room Step 1
    1
    Refresh your paint job. Old white walls and dark colored walls can make any space feel small. Spend plenty of time on the prep work, such as cleaning, patching cracks and bordering the space with painter’s tape.
  2. Image titled Brighten Up a Room Step 2
    2
    Choose light colored paint. Eggshell, cream and other nearly white colors reflect light and make the space feel larger. If you are painting over a darker color, take extra time to prime or buy a paint that includes primer.
    • Use matte paint or satin finish on the walls. Glossy finishes will create glare. You want the appearance of a light canvas to brighten up the room. [1]
      Image titled Brighten Up a Room Step 2Bullet1
  3. Image titled Brighten Up a Room Step 3
    3
    Consider eggshell blue or other light colors for trim or a single wall. If you want to draw attention to a fireplace or one area of the room, consider painting it a light color that compliments your decor. Always use the lightest pastels, since it may look darker covering a large space.
  4. Image titled Brighten Up a Room Step 4
    4
    Hang reflective wallpaper on a single wall. Wallpaper adds style to a room, although it can be difficult to hang properly. Place it on a wall opposite a window to reflect the light. [2]

Method 2
Replacing Flooring

  1. Image titled Brighten Up a Room Step 5
    1
    Pull up old or dark carpet. Unless you have light, stain repellent carpet already, it may look dingy or dark. Consider replacing the carpet with light colored laminate flooring.
    • Laminate flooring looks like hardwood flooring but is much less expensive. Many people even install it themselves.
      Image titled Brighten Up a Room Step 5Bullet1
  2. Image titled Brighten Up a Room Step 6
    2
    Cover dark carpets with area rugs. If you can’t replace dark hard wood or carpet, find some cheap indoor-outdoor or artificial turf floor covering, a large jute or sea grass rug. You can also opt for other textures or a light stain repellant rug.

Method 3
Adding Lighting

  1. Image titled Brighten Up a Room Step 7
    1
    Consider a window remodel. If you are working with a room with no windows or small windows, price up a small remodeling project to increase the size of the windows. An egress window in a basement runs between $3,000 and $6,000 and can turn a small room into a cheery bedroom.
    • Although this is an investment, putting an egress window and built-in closet in a basement room could increase the value of a home. Talk to a local realtor and contractor to see if this bright change is also a good financial decision.
      Image titled Brighten Up a Room Step 7Bullet1
  2. Image titled Brighten Up a Room Step 8
    2
    Don’t rely on overhead lighting. If you do, it may be bright during the day, but dark in the evening. Aim the light at the ceiling to make the room feel larger and brighter. [3]
  3. Image titled Brighten Up a Room Step 9
    3
    Add ambient or indirect lighting. Lights above cabinets or around a focal point will give the room an extra layer of light. Point ambient lights up, not down, if possible.
  4. Image titled Brighten Up a Room Step 10
    4
    Hang a chandelier in the center of the room. Choose a glass or crystal-looking chandelier to reflect more light from the windows.

Method 4
Picking Furniture

  1. Image titled Brighten Up a Room Step 11
    1
    Upholster furniture or buy furniture that is light-colored. Cream, tan and light blue can add a beachy brightness to any room. Dark furniture, such as black, dark grey and brown leather will draw the eye away from your light walls and décor.
  2. Image titled Brighten Up a Room Step 12
    2
    Place large pieces of furniture, such as chests and bookshelves on walls that are perpendicular to your windows. Use the parallel walls for mirrors, light-colored upholstered furniture and wallpaper. This will promote daylight to flow into the room. [4]

Method 5
Choosing Decorations

  1. Image titled Brighten Up a Room Step 13
    1
    Add mirrors. Here are some creative ways to make a room feel larger, brighter and more stylish with mirrors.
    • Find antique mirrors and hang them close together. It will look like an art installation and reflect light around the room.
      Image titled Brighten Up a Room Step 13Bullet1
    • Use a long and skinny mirror on a large wall to make a room look wider. Place it across from a large window to reflect more light from the outside into your room.
      Image titled Brighten Up a Room Step 13Bullet2
    • Take small square mirrors and tile a wall where you wish there was a window. It will give the illusion that you have an extra window. [5]
      Image titled Brighten Up a Room Step 13Bullet3
    • Set up floor length mirrors in hallways or nooks.
      Image titled Brighten Up a Room Step 13Bullet4
  2. Image titled Brighten Up a Room Step 14
    2
    Include glass décor. A glass or mirrored coffee table, wall hanging or vase may increase the open feeling of the room while attracting more light. Opt to replace knobs on your furniture with glass knobs.[6]
  3. Image titled Brighten Up a Room Step 15
    3
    Remove excess décor. Take the minimalist approach toward decorating, in any room you want to feel airy and light. Remove knick-knacks, bookshelves and collections in favor of 1 or 2 vases and statement pieces.
    • Consider removing end tables, file cabinets, TV stands and ottomans, if they just end up collecting clutter. You can hang electronics directly on the walls. [7]
      Image titled Brighten Up a Room Step 15Bullet1
  4. Image titled Brighten Up a Room Step 16
    4
    Pick sheer curtains, rather than heavy ones. If you need extra privacy, put in light cellular blinds behind the curtains. Sheer materials that drape down will allow more light into the room than thick or dark panels.
    • If you have very few windows in the room, consider keeping them unfurnished to let in more light.

Tips

  • Try washing your windows. Films on the inside and outside of windows can make the room look darker. You may not notice it right away, because the effect is gradual. [8]
  • Try paint your room in pastel colors like light pink, light blue, etc. Think 90's style.

Things You'll Need

  • White/off-white paint
  • Pastel paint
  • Reflective wallpaper
  • Jute/sea grass area rug
  • Light laminate flooring
  • Tan/off-white upholstery
  • Mirrors
  • Glass furniture
  • Sheer curtains
  • Glass/plastic chandelier
  • Floor lamps
  • Accent lamps
  • Egress window
  • Glass cleaner
  • Area rugs or Carpets

Article Info

Categories: Home Decorating