Sometimes it's a basement apartment, sometimes it's an older house with no central lighting in the room, other times you might just need more light for your plants. Whatever it is, it can be a puzzle trying to figure out how to get more light into a room without adding so many lamps it looks like you're growing them. Let's go over some quick ideas!
When trying to add light to a room, you can take the screens out of your windows, add mirrors to your walls, paint the walls a light color with a satin sheen, decorate with glass or metallic fixtures, and clean. Sometimes all you need to do to add light to a room is to simply declutter it.
With so many ideas, how do you pick the right ones? Are there certain choices that work better with others? What about natural light vs. artificial light? Let's go over your options in more detail, and dive deep into your options so you can make the best choice for you and your home!
Sometimes you don't need to actually add more light to make a room brighter. Occasionally you can change things about the room itself to make it utilize the light it's already getting, kind of like tuning a piano instead of buying a new one when the sound starts to sound out of pitch.
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There are a couple of things you can do with windows to bring in more light and to enhance the light already coming in.
First, if you're able, take the screens out. They block a surprising amount of light from entering the room, and they make the outside look darker than it actually is, delivering a swift one-two punch to the light that enters the room and the light you see outside the window.
Second, use curtains instead of blinds. Install the curtain rod several inches higher than the actual top of the window, which will give the illusion of height and a taller window. Make sure the curtain rod extends at least six inches to each side, which will make the window seem wider. Use curtains in light shades, when they're open, push them all the way to the sides.
Third, window frames and ledges! Some windows have them, some windows don't. If you do have them, use light-colored wood, or a light, neutral shade of paint. It will soften the edges of the room, make it seem bigger, and help the light enter the room, instead of stopping it at the edges, which is what a dark frame does.
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When it comes to decor and bringing light into the room, it can either be a huge hindrance or a help. Too much, and you're just going to clutter the room, which will make it seem small and dark. Too little, and of the wrong thing, and you're just putting knick-knacks in a room, and that doesn't help you with your goal. Let's go over some specific items you can use to enhance the light you have coming into your room.
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Mirrors are a perfect way to magnify the light you have coming into a room. If you buy the right mirrors and put them in the right places, you can enhance the natural light in the room, which is perfect is you aren't a fan of artificial light. Use mirrors that have thin, metallic, or light-colored frames.
This mirror is a great example of what you could be looking for. The frame is dark, but it is thin and metallic, which means it won't be an attention grabber, which isn't what you need. It will, however, do a great job of reflecting natural light, which is exactly what you need. Check this mirror out on Amazon by clicking here.
If you have a different look in mind, this one might work better for you.
With light, thin, metallic framing, it's a perfect mirror for enhancing the natural light in the room, without adding a bulky, dark piece that may have an adverse effect on the light in the room. Mirrors can do a lot, but like anything else, you can definitely overdo it, or do it wrong. Buy it on Amazon by clicking here.
It will hopefully as no surprise to you that the furniture you put in a room will have a huge effect on your perception of the room when it comes to size and lighting. A light grey couch, chair, or loveseat will serve you much better than a brown or black one will when it comes to making a room appear lighter.
Utilize light wood, glass, and lighter metals like silver, brass, and rose gold when it comes to shelves, fixtures, and tables. Avoid dark fabrics and materials that will swallow light instead of reflecting it.
Do you have a dark floor, but replacing it would either be too difficult, or too expensive? Try a rug.
This rug is a great example of what a lighter color can do to a darker floor. Not only does it provide a beautiful contrast, but it softens and brightens up the room as a whole. Click here to check it out on Amazon.
Bookshelves, while generally necessary and often adding a needed element to a room, are also often one of the biggest culprits of dark spots in a room. Their depth swallows up the light and creates shadows that you can't really do much about, unless you pack them so full of things that there isn't room for shadow. However, that will generally just end up looking cluttered and tacky. The solution? Floating shelves!
WIth floating shelves, each shelf is independently attached to the wall, instead of relying on a base that stands on the floor. Not only does this give you more options when it comes to placement, but it opens up your wall, and gets rid of dark corners that traditional bookshelves often cause.
While there are very many options and styles, this is an example of floating shelves at their most basic. Simple and elegant, they serve their purpose without taking up unnecessary space or blocking light. And they're easy to install! Much easier than assembling a bookshelf. Check them out here on Amazon.
How Do You Add Natural Light to a Room?
Adding natural light to a room that doesn't have it is one of the most common plights of people who want a brighter room without the pain of remodeling their house, or compromising with harsh, artificial light. So let's talk about your options if you already have some light, and what your options are if you don't already have any to work with.
If you already have some natural light, but it isn't enough, there are some ways that you can enhance what you already have. Some of those ways I discussed above, such as using mirrors, adding a lighter colored rug to the floor, and ways you can use curtains to make your windows seem bigger.
Do you still need some more ideas? Paint your ceiling white. While it may seem a bit too simple, your ceiling is a very large, often completely unutilized space when it comes to decorating, and has a huge effect on the lighting in the room. A dark ceiling can darken up a room quite a bit, as can dark walls, which are more common since accent walls are becoming more common in the average household. If you do have a dark accent wall, this can be the perfect wall for a mirror, as it will capture the light coming in from any of the windows on the other walls.
If you don't have any natural light in your room, and you have no windows, your options are limited, but they do exist. For example, you can install a solar tube.
Essentially a miniature skylight, and easy to install, they allow you to bring in natural light from the sky into rooms that would otherwise be closed off from the sun. Check it out here on Amazon.
However, if you're in a windowless basement apartment, and your ceiling is somebody else's floor, you're in a bit of a pickle. If there is no way to install a window, then your best bet is going to be artificial light that has been tuned to be on the same spectrum of natural light.
This lamp, for instance, works on the same spectrum of light and with the same number of lumens as the sun. While it's obviously not actual sunlight, it is the best you're going to get if you have absolutely no way to open your room up to the outside. Click here to buy it from Amazon.
How Can I Add Light to a Room Without a Ceiling Light?
Mirrors and lamps are the best way to go! Many homes, especially older ones, won't have ceiling lights, which leaves you to figure out how to best utilize your outlets, what kind of lamps to use, and where to put them.
- Limit yourself to one "statement" lamp. Lamps with interesting shapes or shades are fun, but too many of them make the room look busy.
- Try to put lamps in your corners to make sure that there are no unnecessary dark spaces. Keeping corners lit will make the room open up.
- If you have any big pieces of furniture in the room, put matching lamps on either side, if you're able. Doing this will help maintain a sense of wholeness and balance in the room in addition to providing even lighting.
While it won't be right for every person or every room, lamps like these can be incredibly useful. Creating multiple sources of light, and only using one electric socket, these are great lamps for corners. Point at least one of the bulbs at the ceiling to brighten up the corner, and then direct the others as you see fit. It will make a noticeable difference! Check it out here on Amazon.
How Many Can Lights Should I Put in a Room?
This answer will depend on the room that you are trying to light up. Do you have any natural light in the room? How big is the room? With such a wide variety of ways to light a room ranging from lamps to fairy lights you can string along the corners of the ceiling, there's really no right or wrong answer.
Do what you need to in order to eliminate dark corners, and create a nice balance of light and decor. What that looks like will depend on the lighting fixtures you use, the natural light available to you, and the furniture in the room.
How Do You Reflect Light Into a Room?
Using mirrors! Keep these things in mind when using mirrors to reflect light in a room.
- If you have an accent wall in a dark color, make sure to place a mirror on that wall. It will create a bright spot on that wall that it wouldn't otherwise have, while still maintaining the accent color that you wanted.
- When you're able, place the mirror on the wall opposite the window. This will maximize the light the mirror is able to collect and reflect back.
- Use mirrors with beveled edges, especially with mirrors placed opposite windows. They'll collect the natural light from the window, but because the edges are beveled, they'll reflect the light in directions other than right back outside.
We hope you found this guide helpful! If you have more suggestions on adding light to a room, please leave us a comment to let us know.