7 Tips To Fight Off Dark Rooms

Apr 12 2022
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Honestly I feel like our whole house is a north facing room lol Of course that’s not true or even possible but with our incredible amount of beautiful towering trees around us it does mean much of our house is dark. I adore our trees. I hate that we don’t get a lot of light in our home. One thing that has helped me besides paint, light etc. is also changing up my thinking about it too. Dark can mean cramped and cave-like but it can also mean snug and cozy!

Continuing with our basement by upgrading the bathroom lighting! We're getting pretty close to finishing up this room
(This is a contributed post, for more information about my compensation please read my disclosure policy)

Room orientation significantly affects how natural light penetrates your home. Everybody has a room that feels darker than the rest of the house, even during the middle of the day. Welcome to your north-facing rooms! 

North-facing rooms only receive indirect and soft natural light during the day, so they tend to be the darkest spots at home. While it doesn’t mean the room will be pitch black, it can be gloomy compared to the rest of your interior. Thankfully, there are plenty of helpful tips to transform your north-facing space into a bright and happy room. 

Yet, it’s worth mentioning that rooms facing east and west can also struggle during the day when it comes to natural lighting. East-facing rooms are bathed in light in the morning, but they get darker and duller as the sun is overhead in the afternoon. It is the opposite phenomenon for west-facing rooms, which have plenty of sunlight in the afternoon but tend to be less lit in the morning. 

So how can you distribute natural light fairly inside your home and avoid creating a chessboard of bright vs. dark rooms as the day progresses? We’ve got you covered with these smart solutions! 

#1. Maximize garden-facing rooms

If you have a window overlooking your backyard, you may want to consider replacing it with a full patio opening, such as energy efficient French doors, which can be opened wide when the weather allows it. Using a glassed door instead of a window will instantly bring more light into the room. It is also a complete change of environment when you have a garden. When you add a new path to the garden through the patio door, you are more likely to spend more time outdoors. How does it affect the room? It changes your perception of the room. Indeed, just like light therapy gives you plenty of natural light exposure and a feel-good sensation, being able to walk easily to your garden will have the same effect!

#2. Focus on your blinds

Blinds are important in all rooms, but especially in south-facing rooms. Indeed, rooms facing the south are bathed in light all day long, making them the brightest rooms inside your home. While it might be enjoyable in winter, these rooms can feel too hot and bright in summer. The addition of blinds will help tame the direct light exposure throughout the year. 

More importantly, it can also erase gaping disparities between south-facing and other orientation rooms. By using the blind to reduce the level of brightness, you can make all rooms appear the same. The trick itself doesn’t reduce darkness, but it makes it less noticeable, which is a win! 

#3. Your choice of light fixture matters

It might sound like a silly thing to say when discussing light exposure. But ultimately, there is no denying that rooms that do not face directly south will require more electric lighting. And that’s entirely okay. Yet, if you pick the same light fixture for all your rooms, you may be missing out on the opportunity to brighten up some of your darkest areas. 

Simple choices such as the shape of the light or the color of the fixture could transform the atmosphere in the room. If you are worried about a darker room, you may want to opt for a light facing downward. Upward-facing fixtures cast the light to the ceiling, which means there’s a shadow underneath them, which is why the room appears dark. 

Similarly, another consideration you might want to add to the list is the color of both your light model and your bulbs. To bring brightness to the room, it’s best to avoid fixtures in darker shades such as brown, black, and gray. Stay away from yellow or colored light bulbs, which will have a similar effect. 

#4. Mirror, mirror on the wall

Mirrors are made of a reflective material that can be used to drive the light into your home. You are probably familiar with small decorative mirror sets, which you can find in places such as IKEA. These sets can be a life-changer for north-facing rooms! You will need to observe where light comes into your house and where it hits the walls. Placing a mirror at strategic locations can help the light travel further. 

It’s worth experimenting first before you decide on the best placement. A word of warning: Make sure to test positions at different times of the day so you can avoid uncomfortable brightness! How to use mirrors:

  • Take the light out of south-facing rooms and into neighboring rooms or a long corridor with a long chain of small mirrors.
  • Capture the light as it comes into a north-, east-, or west-facing room with mirrors by the windows and reflect it into the room.
  • Maximize light travel into an open-plan layout.

#5. Use your paint as a reflective surface

Is white the best color choice for a darker room? The answer is no. On the contrary, you can be playful with your color choice and create a sunny, bright, and warm décor. A sunny yellow is a fantastic option for a room that has tiny windows or a northern orientation. Indeed, yellow packs a ton of brightness and immediately injects a sense of warmth into the room. It’s not an ideal choice for south-facing areas, though, as they may feel too heated in summer. 

A light pink adds a modern sensibility to your space. Additionally, pink is a warm tone that brings the décor together and infuses it with light. You may want to opt for a powder or blush pink for best effects. If you prefer something more gender-neutral, lavender or gray are great choices for a room with limited light exposure. They have a grown-up vibe that conveys light. 

#6. Add a skylight

It may not be an option for all homes, but if you can add a window through your ceiling, a skylight opening, you can transform the light exposure inside your home. The skylight changes the room orientation, ensuring that even north-facing parts receive light from above. 

Depending on your situation, you may want to add an electric blind to your skylight so you can keep the light out when you need it. In southern climates, for instance, skylight openings can elevate the temperature indoors during the summer, and blinds will help keep the sun heat out of your home. Additionally, if the skylight is in a room with a screen, such as a home office, or your bedroom, there are times when direct light exposure may be less desirable. 

#7. Reconsider your décor and furniture

You may not realize how much light your furniture absorbs. Dark finishing, such as dark wood polish, could dull the brightness of the room. While it could be a fabulous décor statement in a bright room, in a north-facing spot, the effect could be reversed. 

Opt for white or light wood furniture in darker rooms so they can transport the natural light further. Similarly, art pieces and photos on the wall could also reduce the reflective surface for the light to travel inside your home. Make sure to use south-facing areas for wall accents. 

Finally, something as simple as moving the furniture inside the room could free up the light passage. It is worth experimenting with different furniture placements to make sure you keep a path free for the light to circulate. 

Can you transform a dark room into a bright and joyful space? Of course, you can! As soon as you observe the light, you can notice times and places where it becomes modulable. Reflective surfaces, such as wall paints and mirrors, can do a great job of physically transporting the light from one room to another. Bringing more openings to your home through patio doors or skylights also transforms the indoor light ratio. Finally, sometimes, you need to be smart with your furniture and blinds to control the light perception. 

is also changing up my thinking about it too. Dark can mean cramped and cave-like but it can also mean snug and cozy!
(This is a contributed post, for more information about my compensation please read my disclosure policy)

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