The Best Colors to Brighten Up a Low-Light Room

Colour is an essential part of a room design. It is the primary factor that determines the feel of the space, and may have psychological and physical effects. When a room has lowlight, colour selection may become especially important. A lowlight room will benefit greatly from a light shade of paint. These tones make rooms feel larger and reflect light better than dark colours, making them ideal for lowlight spaces.


Tones of white, including pure white, cream and eggshell, are among the most widely used in modern style decor. They promote a clean, open feel and will work with just about any furnishings, flooring and accents in the home. These tones, particularly when used in an eggshell or satin finish, reflect even small amounts of light, which creates a brighter, more open feel. These colours, if used on all four walls, may become overwhelming. Too much white may cause headaches, so an alternative cream or beige may be preferable.

Warm Colors

Warm colours -- shades of red, orange and yellow -- are excellent at spicing up a room. When opting for a colour from this family, tone is going to be especially important. Deeper tones are going to be more difficult to pull off in a lowlight room, so instead opt for something a bit brighter. Not only will these colours add visual interest, but they are also more cheerful than plain white. Red is a bright, cheerful option that may be complemented with green, beige, brown or white. Orange provides a number of shades; some are pleasant and visually appealing, while others may be overwhelming. Pumpkin orange may be too much for a whole room; alternatives are copper for a sophisticated feel, or peach for better light reflection. Yellow should be selected carefully. Though most shades reflect light well, a too-bright shade may be overwhelming and hard on the eyes. Pastel yellow, according to colour psychology, promotes a sunny atmosphere that encourages energy and enthusiasm. Gold tones are also suitable for lowlight rooms, and often create a mature, sophisticated feel.

Cool Colors

Cool colours encompass all shades of blue, green and often purple. They are ideal backdrops for lowlight rooms because they are subtle. Though they don't reflect light like white or warm colours, they offer diverse shades and may be decorated to create a comfortable lowlight space. Cool colours are soothing, and promote a feeling of calm and relaxation. They are widely used in spa-style bathrooms and bedrooms because of this effect. If a more exciting feel is desired, mixing and matching a cool tone with a warm one is ideal. Accent greens with bold white, yellow or red, and blues with yellow, lime green or white. Because it has a warm red base, purple may be considered either warm or cool. Mixing purple with pink or red accents will lighten a space and create visual interest.

Neutral Colors

Neutral tones are interior design favourites because they are classic, clean and diverse. They may be used as the main colour of a room, to quiet bold colours or to punch up cool colours. These colours include black, white, grey and all shades of brown. In lowlight rooms, mixing these colours will be the most ideal option. Combining neutrals with each other -- chocolate brown and beige -- or mixing and matching them with warm or cool colours create visual interest and depth. Neutral tones tend to create sophisticated, yet comfortable settings.

Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Sara John is a professional writer and copy editor living in Des Moines, IA. She has worked professionally for seven years, and written articles for the Long Beach Press-Telegram, as well as other local publications. She is a graduate of Grand View University and holds a B.A. in journalism.