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How Can I Brighten A Dark Room? 

February 19, 2020

At Jerry Enos Painting we are asked this question quite often. Older homes often have smaller rooms that may have fewer windows, darker ceilings, or outdated wall coverings that can add to the darkness of the room. Paint can go a long way to brighten a dull or dark room.

Traditional wall coverings like busy wallpaper or dark wood paneling can cause a room to look smaller and even dreary if enough light is not allowed into the space. Opening up the space and making it seem brighter may mean starting from scratch.  Here are a few of our suggestions to get you started in bringing your room into the light.  

Clear the Room 

One thing that all darker rooms seem to have in common is that they are filled with too much stuff. Start your brightening project by clearing the room of all furnishings, keepsakes, rugs, and shelving. Now that you have a clean slate to work from you can begin the brightening of the room. 

Choose a Light Color 

Many rooms that once looked dark had a deeper or darker color painted on the walls, ceiling, or both. Some may even have dark wood paneling as many homes have used in the past. Choose a color, possibly using one in the neutral palette like: tan, beige, taupe, or white. Paint the ceiling and the wall surfaces the same color to unify the room. Painting wall paneling can be tricky if that is the case in your house. You may need special primer so that you are not applying coat after coat to the walls only to have it quickly absorbed. 

Be Minimalist with Window Coverings 

If you are hoping to add light to a room then your mantra should be, “Less or more,” when it comes to window coverings. Curtains should be light and flowy rather than dark and heavy. Shades should be the light diffusing kind rather than the blocking kind. This will allow for as much natural light to enter and brighten the room as possible. 

Add Artificial Lights 

Natural light from windows will help brighten the space but so will lamps, overhead lights, and area lights. Get creative when picking the shades and style as these too can help brighten the room. 

mirrors create light

Install Mirrors 

A trick used by designers to brighten a space is to add a wall mirror that not only opens up the space but also reflects whatever natural or artificial light is in the room. This magnification of light can help bring any space out of the darkness. 


Need help brightening up a room? Talk to our color specialists who can recommend a color palette and suggest some techniques that will let the light into any space. 

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