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6 Tips for Brightening Up a Dark Room

Have you ever noticed how positive and energetic a brightly lit room makes you feel? Whether it’s working remotely, entertaining friends or preparing a family meal, most home activities are improved by good lighting. Thankfully, there are many options for improving the lighting in your home.

The perfect time to introduce more natural or artificial light into your living space is while planning a home remodel, since you’ll have the ability to wire for new lighting or build in additional windows. Even if you don’t have a remodel planned, you can make some impactful updates any time and on any budget. Here are six creative ways to brighten up your home:

1. Fresh Coat of Paint

The lighter the color of your walls, the more they will reflect light. To introduce brightness, give your walls a fresh coat of paint in a light, neutral color. Shiny walls create glare rather than reflecting light uniformly, so choose a matte paint finish over a glossy one.

Painting your ceiling a shade lighter than the walls is also a clever trick. This helps by directing light more uniformly around the room. For added reflectivity use a slightly glossy paint—just on the ceiling—for a high impact focal point that will impress your guests.

2. Skylights & Solar Tubes

Bring in natural light from above. Skylights and solar tubes are wonderful additions to an attic space, living area or stairwell. Surprisingly, we’ve been designing skylights into many of our bathroom remodels lately, too! Operable skylights in bathrooms are a great way to let light in and steam out—a win-win. So what’s the difference between a skylight and a solar tube?

Skylights: Light-transmitting windows which are integrated into the roof of a home to provide additional daylighting. Skylights provide a substantial amount of light, as well as a view of the sky or trees above. Many skylights today are operable, meaning they can be opened and closed to provide fresh air and ventilation. Since skylights are located on the roof, they can sometimes result in summertime heat gain and wintertime heat loss. It’s important to select a skylight with the right glazing, tinting and quality to ensure home comfort all year long.

Solar tubes: Metal cylinders with a mirrored/polished interior which are integrated into a roof in order for light to reflect downwards into a home. Because solar tubes requires no or little framing alterations, and are typically smaller than a skylight, they are the more economical option. Keep in mind, you won’t be able to see up. A solar tube looks like a standard ceiling-mounted can light from the inside. But don’t be deterred, these little alterations can pack a powerful punch and eliminate your need to turn the lights on during the day!

3. Mirrors & Reflective Surfaces

Hanging a big wall mirror across from the largest window or arranging several smaller mirrors along a darker wall or staircase can double the amount of sunlight that filters in. It can also make a space feel larger!

Another way to brighten a room is with reflective surfaces like acrylic accents, stainless steel appliances or a mirrored coffee table top. A crystal chandelier centered in the room can powerfully reflect light coming from the sun and other light fixtures, if a chandelier fits with your home décor. Gold and silver accents such as decorative art pieces, hardware or furniture will also reflect natural light well.

4. Internal Windows & Glass Doors

For an easy fix, replace heavy, dark curtains with translucent shades will invite more sunlight into your space. Give your windows and glass doors a good cleaning and trim away any tree and shrub branches that may be blocking the sun’s rays from the outside.

If you’re ready for a bigger change, look for opportunities to add internal windows and glass doors throughout your home. For example, while doing a master bath remodel replace a solid door with a frosted glass door that will allow natural light to filter into the hallway without compromising privacy.

5. Clerestory Windows & Transom Windows

Specialty clerestory or transom windows can also be used to introduce more natural light into your living space.

Clerestory windows: A common feature in sports arenas and old churches, a clerestory is a large window, or series of windows, positioned along the top of a structure’s walls near the ceiling. Clerestory windows are also an impactful way to illuminate otherwise central spaces that normally wouldn’t receive much natural light, like in this bright backyard cottage.

Transom windows: A transom is the horizontal beam located above a window or door. Any window placed above that beam is referred to as a “transom window”, and sometimes interior designers use transom windows to introduce more natural light into a room. Using the width of the transom beam as a reference there are a wide variety of transom window styles and sizes now available that can be installed to creatively add light and character to a living space.

Ways to incorporate transom windows into your home’s design include:

  • Above interior doors
  • Above the front entry door
  • Between two adjacent rooms
  • On exterior walls

6. Decorative Light Fixtures

In addition to natural light, artificial illumination can also be a very impactful way to brighten a space. Decorative light fixtures come in every shape and size imaginable, and are an excellent way to add style to a space. Depending upon your taste, décor and budget here are some transformative light fixture ideas:

  • Wall sconces
  • Pendant lights
  • Valance lighting
  • Chandeliers
  • Track lighting
  • Recessed lighting
  • Wall grazers
  • Undercabinet lighting (great for kitchen cabinets!)
  • Spot lighting
  • Fairy lights

Your Local Design-Build Contractors in Seattle

We’re experts in bringing light to dark spaces—think basements and attics. Our designers plan for every lighting detail. They create comprehensive design and electrical plans to be reviewed by the city as part of the permitting process. If you’re ready to improve your lighting and start your next home improvement project, tell us more about your objectives today! At Model Remodel we are experienced design-build contractors with a solid reputation in the Seattle area for transforming outdated homes into functional, elegant living spaces. We have a proven conception-to-completion home remodeling process that will guide you through each step.

Written by Model Remodel

Model Remodel is a design-build, remodeling contractor located in Seattle, WA. For over 20 years we’ve been building with purpose, craftsmanship and sustainability in mind. We are proud to continually make the list of top Seattle contractors for our beautiful interior designs and homeowner-focused remodeling process.

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