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6 Ways to Brighten Up a Dark Room

Bring a little light into your space with these designer tips.

We aren’t all lucky enough to live in a home with south-facing, floor-to-ceiling windows. Sometimes, natural light just needs a boost…especially this time of year as the days get darker. These design tips, though, will help brighten up your home in a flash.

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6 Ways to Brighten Up Your Space 

mirrored dining area vancouver
(Photo by Tracey Ayton.)

1. Use mirrors to reflect light

Double the sunlight that’s streaming in with a strategically placed mirror or two. We love this wall of mirrors in the dining nook in this townhouse by Fox Design. Sprinkling in furniture or accessories with mirrored or reflective surfaces is a great idea, too.

whistler living room falken reynolds
(Photo by Chad Falkenberg.)

2. Lose the drapes

Even when they’re open, they’ll be blocking at least some of the window. Trade them in for sleek blinds instead—like the windows in this airy Falken Reynolds Whistler chalet—or if you’re set on drapes, stick with lightweight or sheer fabrics.

screens-kyla bidgood

3. Divide spaces with screens, not walls 

Using a room divider or a screen instead of a solid wall can still help segregate rooms and spaces, while allowing light to filter through. This perforated stairwell wall, designed by Kyla Bidgood, is a great example of dividing a space without blocking the sunshine.

Photo of Janis Nicolay
(Photo of Janis Nicolay.)

4. Embrace white paint 

Light colours make a space feel bigger and can help reflect light around a room. And white doesn’t have to be boring…think of it as a blank canvas for some fantastic accessories. Adding in cheery colours via throw pillows and artwork (think yellow, or tropical blues, like designer Angela Robinson did in this beachy-cool dining room) will help make the space feel brighter as well.

kitchen_west_coast_ennis_westernliving
(Photo by Merle Prosofsky.)

5. And don’t forget your ceiling

A coat of high-gloss paint on your ceiling can work wonders. It’ll help reflect both natural light and the light from ceiling lights to instantly brighten your space, like this kitchen from Edmonton designer Melissa Ennis. High-gloss paint is also a good trick for walls across from the window. (And if you’ve got the budget, recessed lighting is a great choice for brightening up a space without obstructing the room’s visual flow.)  

ami mckay interior design
(Photo by Janis Nicolay.)

6. Check off your three lighting points 

Every room should ideally have three illumination points for maximum brightness…and maximum flexibility. Ambinet lighting (general illuimation, think recessed lighting, chandeliers or ceiling fixtures) brighten the whole room, while task lighting (like for reading or writing or cooking) adds focus and interest. And accent lighting (candelight, sconces) brings intimacy and atmospherics. This Ami McKay-designed space features all three, creating a perfect trifecta of illumination.

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