7 Smart Secrets for How to Lighten & Brighten a Dark Room

7 Smart Secrets for How to Lighten & Brighten a Dark Room

While home decor trends come and go, there’s one desire among homebuyers that remains consistent: getting all the space they need. So what if I told you there was a way to visually enlarge any room to make it seem even more spacious to a potential homebuyer? Have I got your attention?

The secret is in the lighting.

Wait…Can Light Really Make a Space Seem Bigger?

So How Do I Add Light to a Room?

1. Lighten the walls.

Don’t worry – you don’t have to completely abandon color when staging your home for sale or to lighten a dark room. Just avoid using dark colors as the background. Instead, incorporate bright and vibrant colors through accent pillows and artwork throughout the space. This way, you can add visual interest without making the room feel gloomy.

2. Use mirrors.

It’s an old, familiar design trick, but it works. If you want to instantly brighten up a room, mirrors are your best friend. They’re super quick and easy to use. Choose a big mirror and hang it on the wall opposite a window. It will reflect all that lovely natural light flooding in and make the room feel brighter without needing extra lamps. When choosing a mirror, go for one with a thin frame (nothing too heavy or ornate). This way, it lets in more light and doesn’t take up too much visual space in the room.

And here’s another cool thing about mirrors—they create the illusion of a larger and more open space. So not only do they make the room brighter, but they also make it seem bigger and more spacious. It’s a win-win situation!

7 Smart Home Staging Secrets for How to Lighten & Brighten a Dark Room; mirror

PexFix Full-Length Mirror

3. Let the sun shine in!

One of the easiest solutions for how to add a light to a room is to simply push back the curtains. Heavy, dark curtains absorb light. Remove thick draperies and opt for Roman shades, sheers, blinds, or go curtain-less to allow the natural light to flood in.

7 Smart Home Staging Secrets for How to Lighten & Brighten a Dark Room

NICETOWN White Sheer Curtains & Drapes, 96” long

4. Add artificial lighting.

Trying to figure out how to lighten a dark room with no natural light? It’s time to consider adding some light fixtures. They can be a game-changer both in terms of style and functionality. When you add lighting to a room, be sure to position strong light sources towards corners, ceilings, or walls so that they can bounce around and create softer lighting in the room. Opt for indirect lighting that points upward, as it helps maintain a bright and airy atmosphere as daylight diminishes.

Pankuri Metal Novelty Lamp, 7 Smart Home Staging Secrets for How to Lighten & Brighten a Dark Room

Pankuri Metal Novelty Lamp

Wondering how to add light to a room without wiring? There are lots of ways to add lighting without wiring that can easily change the look and vibe of your room. Plug-in pendant lights and plug-in wall sconces add decorative interest and are easy to install without cutting holes in your drywall.

KOONTING® Plug in Wall Sconce Set of 2, 7 Smart Home Staging Secrets for How to Lighten & Brighten a Dark Room

KOONTING® Plug in Wall Sconce Set of 2

When it comes to light bulbs, go for the brighter options. Look for bulbs with a higher number of lumens rather than focusing on wattage. This will give you a more intense lighting experience. It’s also a good idea to swap out your old bulbs with energy-efficient LED bulbs. They not only provide brighter light but also consume less energy and last longer. It’s a win-win situation for both your room’s brightness and your energy bill!

5. Reduce and simplify.

Let’s talk about clutter and how it affects the brightness of a room. Did you know that every little object in the room has the power to soak up the limited light you have? This can make the space feel darker than it actually is. So, when you’re staging a home for sale, it’s a good idea to simplify and reduce.

Start by removing some of the accessories and keepsakes that might be crowding the room. Put them away in baskets or storage bins or pack them in boxes for the move and put them in storage. Not only does this help you stay organized, but it also keeps those items out of sight, giving your room a cleaner and more open look. Plus, baskets themselves can be great decorative pieces, adding a touch of style while keeping things neat and tidy.

INDRESSME XXXLarge Cotton Rope Basket 21.7" x 21.7" x 13.8", 7 Smart Home Staging Secrets for How to Lighten & Brighten a Dark Room

INDRESSME XXXLarge Cotton Rope Basket 21.7″ x 21.7″ x 13.8″

6. Select furniture strategically. 

When it comes to furnishing your room, the right furniture can make a big difference. Instead of opting for big, cumbersome cabinets, go for open shelving. They not only provide storage space but also add depth to the room without visually overwhelming it. If you’ve got a dark sofa and chairs, try using a light-colored slipcover or brighten it up with some light-toned plush, down throw pillows and a textured throw blanket. If the flooring under your furniture is dark, place a light-colored area rug there. It instantly adds a soft touch and brightens up the space under your feet. 

Off White Chunky Jute Tasseled 7' 6" x 9' 6" Area Rug, 7 Smart Home Staging Secrets for How to Lighten & Brighten a Dark Room

Off White Chunky Jute Tasseled 7′ 6″ x 9′ 6″ Area Rug

7. Clean.

Ok, so while this may seem obvious, you’d be surprised how many home sellers skip this step. 

Keeping windows, glass doors, light fixtures, mirrors, and other reflective surfaces clean is essential. When you remove dust, dirt, and smudges from these surfaces, it lets more light enter the room, making it appear brighter and more cheerful. Cleaning these areas helps maximize the amount of light and maintain a bright and cheery atmosphere in the room. Sprayway is one of our favorite streak-free window cleaners.

sprayway glass cleaner

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Published by Vannessa Rhoades, Three Bears Home Staging

Vannessa Rhoades is the author of "Just Right! Easy DIY Home Staging" and the founder of the award-winning firm, Three Bears Home Staging®. She specializes in providing positive and empowering consultations to help homeowners sell more quickly and for more money. Vannessa has staged and consulted on hundreds of properties, both in person throughout the Houston metro area and virtually across the country.

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