The living room is often seen as the central hub of the home, the ultimate haven for relaxation. It is the number one location for all family members to get together each evening to sit back, relax and enjoy each others company. While, of course, the living room must have a homely, welcoming atmosphere, it can often prove somewhat tricky to achieve a balance between cosy and frankly, an enclosed darkened cave – particularly if you have a lack of natural light sources streaming in.
While, unfortunately, there are no alternatives to increase natural light other than major renovations to install additional windows or doors, there are a number of smart ways in which you can create the illusion of a brighter space. Why not take a look at our top 7 ideas on how to brighten up a dark living room for some inspiration?
A Guide On How To Brighten Up A Dark Living Room
Not only is a well-lit living room increasingly more inviting, but a bright space is also proven to improve your overall wellbeing. According to research by Net Doctor, light is imperative in enhancing many aspects of our physiology from enhancing productivity to improving alertness. While there is nothing wrong with enjoying time in a dimmer space, it is vital to ensure that you have the choice between both light and dark, particularly in rooms that are used frequently on a daily basis.
If you’re lacking an abundance of light in your living room and hoping to create a brighter, airier and more attractive space without making any structural changes, then we have your back. Our seven trialled and tested methods of enhancing the light in your living room can be tailored to both a modern and contemporary theme, at both ends of the price scale.
1. Light Wood Flooring
The floor and ceiling of a room make just as much as an impact on the overall appearance as the four main walls do, which means it is imperative to ensure that your flooring is not the culprit of darkening your living room. It is unlikely that you would opt for painting your walls a dark colour if you were hoping to brighten a space so maintain the same concept when considering flooring.
Particularly when designing a smaller floorplan, dark flooring will create a warmer tone which although looks stylish, will work against you. Light wood flooring, on the other hand, will automatically lend a more spacious appeal and all natural lighting, even when limited, will reflect against the surface. Not only is a lighter shade of wood ideal for maximising light, but they are considerably better at camouflaging scratches, scrapes or signs of damage, making them ideal for those who have a large family.
2. Hang Mirrors
Even in the smallest of living rooms, mirrors are capable of dramatically brightening and elongating the space. Walls, artwork and furniture all absorb light, meaning that it will not continue to circulate the room, whereas mirrors reflect light and trick the eye into creating a more spacious surrounding.
When determining the placement of mirrors, it is essential to ensure that they are installed in a location that does not blind those sitting in the living room. Mirrors placed directly in front of a window or light source will reflect the bulb or sun, creating a glare. Due to this, it is vital to opt for a position that is exposed to the transmission of light rather than the direct source. Ideal locations for a large mirror include adjacent or directly across from the window and beneath a light fixture.
It is entirely your choice the size and style of mirror you opt for; all will be equally as effective in brightening your living room. Maisons De Monde stock a wide variety of decorative mirrors including both affordable and more premium collections.
3. Neutral Colour Scheme
One of the most popular interior design hacks for creating a lighter atmosphere in the home is to use pale, neutral colours throughout. Particularly when working with a key element of the property such as the living room, creating a neutral canvas will enable you to be as creative with decor as you please. It also makes redecorating a straightforward project as instead of having to repaint walls, replace flooring and reinvest in statement furniture; it will be as simple as merely updating accessories to suit your latest colour scheme.
When it comes to neutral colour schemes, do not feel as if you are limited to bright white shades, as for many, this creates more of a clinical feel instead of the homely atmosphere a room should have. Pastel shades of blue, warmer antique whites and truffle hues are just some of the many possibilities when considering schemes. We love the collection of neutral living room ideas featured on Ideal Home!
4. Simple Light Fixtures
Light fixtures are excellent at creating a focal point in a minimalist room, ideal to use as a statement piece to inject personality. However, when aiming to add as much light as possible to a darker room, your choice in fixture style will play a significant role in how effective your artificial lighting will prove to be.
While there is no reason to shy away from large, eye-catching lampshades, they must be made with a light material such as linen. Opaque materials, regardless of their colour, trap light in and only allow the light to shine in one direction. In contrast, light materials allow light to be diffused around the room, reflecting against any mirror or shiny surface. Chandelier-style fixtures are perfect for achieving this concept; we suggest taking a look at the chandelier range on Iconic Lights!
If you are yet to make the transition to LED lightbulbs, then this would most definitely benefit your home during the process of updating your light fixtures. Although LED lightbulbs require significantly less energy to power, they are so much brighter than their traditional alternatives due to their increased lumen score. The lumen score relates to how much light is outputted from the bulb; when opting for LED bulbs, you will receive a 3,500 increase in your score.
5. Clean Windows
Although it may seem rather obvious, ensuring that windows remain clean will help towards maximising the amount of natural light able to stream in. Regardless of where windows are located in your living room, it is more than likely that the glass will become filled with dust, dirt and mucky fingerprints so can quickly begin to dampen the overall aesthetics. A clean window creates a sparkling entrance for sunlight to beam in.
With years of experience installing windows in Milton Keynes for an array of clients, we have picked up several handy tips to achieve seamless window cleaning, without the need for professional help. First and foremost, as strange as it may sound, opt for cleaning windows on a dry, yet cloudy day. While sunshine may make the tedious task a little more appealing, the sun will work against you. The more heat and light on your window, the quicker the water will dry causing stubborn streaks. When it comes to the cleaning job itself, investing in a good quality glass cleaner, squeegee and microfibre cloth will make your life considerably easier. Glass cleaner combined with water can be sprayed into the window, squeegeed off and then the surface can be perfected using your microfibre cloth.
6. Use Dark Colours Sparingly
While it is crucial to steer clear from dark colours when choosing your main pieces of furniture, there are no rules against adding deeper shades sparingly around the living room. Smaller accessories that feature dark shades are ideal for creating an interesting contrast, breaking up each component of the room.
If you are unsure of how to incorporate deeper shades when designing a living room, we suggest adopting the 60-30-10 approach. The 60-30-10 colour formula is a long-running interior design hack that relates to how you can achieve the perfect balance between colours. When striving to brighten your living room, any accessories that are of a darker shade would be used in the 10% ratio; this is called the ‘accent colour’. For a full guide on how to use the 60-30-10 ratio, take a look at The Spruce!
7. Avoid Heavy Curtains
Heavy curtains are often seen as a ‘must have’ to allow full privacy in the living room; however, this most definitely is not your only option. There are an array of alternatives that provide privacy without creating the ‘blackout’ effect in your room – a huge no-no when aiming to brighten a space.
To maximise the amount of natural light in your living room, opt for either blinds or curtains in a translucent effect. One of the most popular window treatment options when aiming to avoid darkening your living room are Roman shades. Roman shades differ from both blinds and curtains as they essentially, combine elements of both. The shade itself is made using a solid stretch of fabric similar to a curtain but can be manoeuvred up and down using a blind-like mechanism. To maintain the neutral aesthetics suggested in tip three, we recommend opting for a plain shade in either a beige, ivory or taupe. If you’re interested in installing Roman shades, we suggest taking a look at Blinds 2 Go.
Let There Be Light!
Regardless of the size, shape or style of your living room, each of our top tips are ideal for enhancing light. Spend time determining the leading causes of darkening in the room and begin building a plan of action. You would be surprised how even the smallest of changes can make a significant impact on how spacious, yet homely, your living room can be. Play around with mirror positioning and incorporate statement pieces of decor that are perfect to not only brighten the room but also help towards creating a customised haven for relaxation that fulfils all of your requirements.
We hope that you found our article helpful in giving interior design inspiration, if so, why not share with your loved ones on social media?