Your living room is where you relax, entertain guests, and interact with your family. It should be a comfortable room, but if it doesn't have windows, you might feel like you're spending time in a dreary dungeon. What can you do to brighten up this space? We've researched the answer and have come up with some great options.
To brighten your windowless living room, consider:
- Paint walls white, shades of white, or pale blue
- Install bright lights
- Add lightly-colored furniture
- Hang a mirror or two
- Consider interior windows
- Decorate with a large painting
- Hang full wall draperies
We can't wait to help you figure out the best option for your windowless living room! Please read on for an explanation of each of these methods, plus illustrations and examples for inspiration. Let's get started!
Does a living room have to have a window?
A living room does not have to have a window. The term living room isn't an official term in building codes or real estate. Thus, there are no requirements that must be met like other rooms, such as bedrooms or bathrooms. In fact, the term living room can be used interchangeably with titles such as a family room or TV room.
Though it doesn't need to have a window, natural light can help brighten up your living room. The problem with a windowless living room is that the room can feel dark and dingy, even during the daytime. To brighten this space without using natural light, try some of our styling ideas.
Paint walls white, shades of white, or pale blue
If you're looking for a way to brighten up the room and are willing to put some time into a project, paint the walls white, off-white, or pale blue. These colors mimic daylight colors. They also reflect light and help the whole space feel more open and spacious. An added benefit is that they are easy to pair with light-colored furniture, which we'll discuss later.
Install bright lights
The right kind of lighting can generate a bright and natural feeling. A whiter light, of course, is brighter than yellow light. If possible, consider changing all lampshades and light fixture coverings to white or clear. For instance, this bright white lampshade will be a lot more effective than a yellow or off-white shade.
To give the impression that the light is natural instead of coming from an electrical fixture, find ways to hide the light around the room. Place floor lights behind a sofa or other furniture, on the opposite side of a beam, or under a bookshelf.
What lighting is closest to natural light?
In the same vein, there are types of lights that mimic the light of the sun. You can also purchase lamps that mimic the sunlight, which is an option used by many people who suffer from seasonal affective disorder.
If you'd rather put a sun-like bulb in a light fixture you already have, look for one that is at least 1,100 lumens. Or find one that is advertised as "natural light" or "sunlight." Halogen lights are the type of bulb that is most likely to fit your needs. These bulbs below would realistically mimic the sunlight.
Add lightly-colored furniture
Yes, white or lightly-colored furniture can be a risky purchase, especially if you have children or pets. However, it's well worth the risk in a living room without windows. Black or dark gray furniture can seem to suck up all the light in the room, while white, off-white, or light gray furniture seems to reflect it.
See how the lightly-toned chair in this room makes it feel airy and spacious? That should be your goal when picking out furniture.
If you pick out a white couch, you'll want a nice area rug to pair with it. This article has some great options: "What Color Rug Goes With White Couch In The Living Room?"
Hang a mirror or two
Once you've set up the right kind of lighting, you can multiply its effects by hanging mirrors in your living room. Mirrors will reflect the light that's in the room and help it feel brighter. They also help break up the seemingly endless wall space, providing a natural break. An additional benefit is that it can help the room feel larger and more open.
Consider interior windows
Even if your living room doesn't have window access to the outside of the building, you can still add an interior window. An interior window is one that opens up a display to an adjoining room. This is especially useful if the adjoining room has some natural light of its own.
Another type of interior window is a transom window. The transom is the technical term for the part of the wall between the top of the doorway and the ceiling. Put some windows in the transom if the adjoining room has some natural light. Most living rooms don't have doors in the doorway. But if yours does, a good way to allow some extra light in is to change the door to a French door or another type of windowed door.
What is a faux window?
A faux window is a fake window. It looks like a window but doesn't actually display an outside view. One way that faux windows give the appearance of real windows is with panes and shutters. Oftentimes, faux windows are actually mirrors, nature murals, or photos. This mirrored faux window, for instance, would be perfect for a living room without windows.
Like mirrors, interior windows also break up the wall space and help it feel more open.
Decorate with a large painting
Art can brighten up any room and help it feel more cheerful, especially a room that lacks an exterior window. It breaks up the wall and allows you to add a splash of color to the room. Pick out a painting that includes a lot of white or a bright background for extra brightness.
This artwork, for instance, depicts a nature scene and is lightly-colored. It would be perfect for a room without a window since it has three panels.
See how colorful this canvas is? Color helps a room liven up a dark, windowless room.
Want more ideas for how to break up that long wall in your living room? Here's an article that can help: "How To Decorate A Large Wall In The Living Room [12 Actionable Ideas]"
Hang wall draperies
You don't need a window to hang curtains! Hang a long pair that spans almost from floor to ceiling to create a window-like feeling. In fact, this would be a great place to hide natural lights, as we discussed above. This is also a place to add some color if you have white walls but need a way to soften the atmosphere.
This room is a fantastic example of this. The mauve and black curtains offset the white walls and flooring. The room still feels bright because the colored curtains don't overwhelm the walls.
If you're ready to brighten up your windowless living room, try one of the options we've discussed. Keep in mind that white or lightly-colored decor will reflect the light that's in your living room, while dark items suck it up. Whatever you choose, we hope your living room will feel welcoming and comforting for years!