How to Lighten a Dark Room With No Natural Light

Updated February 21, 2017

A room without natural light can feel cavelike and present an initial design challenge. Lightening up a room without natural light, which usually means there are no windows, involves strategic lighting choices, colour choices and furniture selection. With these elements correctly addressed, a homeowner can easily create a bright, inviting room even in the absence of natural sunlight.

Install track or can lighting in the room. These lights illuminate the room from the top of the walls down, creating the illusion of sunshine from above. Remove fluorescent lights, table lamps and wall light fixtures that throw light horizontally

Paint the walls and ceiling a light colour, or install a light-coloured wallpaper. The darker the colours on the walls, the more light the walls will absorb and the more cavelike the room will feel. Consider light greys or shades of white or cream for the walls.

Cover dark hardwood floors with a light-coloured area rug, or replace the floors with a white or pickled hardwood. If your floors are dark tile or dark stone, remove and replace them with something lighter in colour.

Remove any bulky dark wood furniture. Select furniture pieces that are simple and have clean lines. If your upholstered furniture is dark, slipcover the pieces in a lighter colour. Use glass where appropriate, such as on the coffee table or end tables.

Replace dark paintings with an arrangement of framed mirrors. Mirrors reflect light and will make the space seem lighter and airier. Remove dark home accessories, such as darkly coloured candles or knick-knacks, and replace them with light-coloured floral arrangements or shade-loving potted plants.

Things You'll Need

  • Track or can lighting
  • Paint or wallpaper
  • Flooring material
  • Throw rugs
  • Slipcovers
  • Framed mirrors
  • Potted plants
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About the Author

Based in Richmond, Va., Dawn Gibbs writes about topics such as history, fashion, literature, crafts, alternative medicine and healthy living. Her work has appeared on and several style websites. Gibbs holds a Bachelor of Arts in history from Virginia Commonwealth University.