How to brighten a dark house

Don’t let a lack of light in your home hinder your enjoyment of it. Whether it’s that certain corners are too dark or a room’s window isn’t large enough, there’s no need for a limited amount of natural light to affect the mood of your property. Our simple design tips will help you brighten up a gloomy interior and imbue it with a sense of warmth.

How to brighten a dark house

1. Make use of mirrors

The best-known solution to shadowy nooks and crannies is to reflect light with clever use of mirrors. A frameless design is particular effective, especially when strategically placed to reflect sunshine where it streams into your room. With this trick, bigger isn't necessarily always better. Make your window appear larger by placing a mirror in a similar size right next to it.

2. Choose the ideal curtains

Whatever the size of your window, amplify its benefits with a pair of lightweight curtains.
Dark and heavy materials or blinds tend to block out natural light. Enhance your room’s airiness with curtains in pastel hues and gauzy fabrics.

3. Change your lampshades

Ensure your lamps add to your space rather than exacerbate your lighting issues. Avoid fixtures with bulky shapes and opt for streamlined, contemporary designs to accentuate the glow. Choose a white or off-white lampshade to allow additional light to shine through.

4. Light your room smarter

A room with dark ceilings or low beams can be very atmospheric, but this can also mean compromising on light. Brighten up your space by installing recessed fittings in timber beams, on a sloped ceiling or high up on walls. Bring extra sparkle to your room by choosing bulbs that emit a white glow rather than an orangey or lemony hue.

5. Reassess your furniture

Furniture changes the mood of a space. Replace dark wood, imposing lamps and overstuffed upholstery with sleek modern textiles and items featuring clean lines in neutral tones. Swap heavy items, such as chairs or a coffee table, with minimalist pieces to create additional space for light to fill. In a dark bedroom, opt for bright, fresh linen.

6. Spruce up the exterior

Make sure to assess your outdoor space for issues that could be affecting your home’s natural lighting. Is there a large hedge or tree blocking the way? Do you have a plant box obscuring half a window?

7. Create a contrast

Painting your room in neutral colours has an instant lightening effect, but an all-white palette can look clinical. A modern take on this technique is to use contrasting shades or materials, such as classic black and white or metallics and wood. Alternatively, opt for soft cream-hued wallpaper with a marbled effect.

Browse Engel & Völkers’s website for sunny and spacious interiors as design inspiration or potential investments. If you're searching for a new home, our real-estate agents across 37 nations can assist you in finding a light and airy property to suit your needs.

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