How to make a dark room look brighter

Maximise light in your home with these expert tips.

Getting started

A colour in a sunny room looks quite different in a dark one. So it’s best to avoid cool colours in dark rooms and instead balance the weak, natural light with warm, pale shades. If you want to be sure how a colour will look, use a tester to and try out your chosen hues in the room under different light conditions.

Living room

If there’s not much light in your living room, it’s best to use warm, pale shades such as primrose yellow or honey gold. You might also like to try painting the inside of the window a fresh white to reflect as much light as possible in the room.


Dark kitchens will look instantly brighter when painted cool, light reflecting colours, like warm greens, marine blues and light, smoky purples. You could also fit directional LED spotlights to help focus more light on food preparation areas.


For a sunny vibe in a dark bedroom, try painting the walls a warm hue, such as apricot or soft peach. This is because warm hues help to throw light around the space, tricking the eye into thinking the room is brighter than it actually is. Another clever trick to reflect light around the room is to lean a large mirror against a wall.


To make a dark bathroom feel lighter and airier, choose crisp hues from the cooler end of the colour spectrum, such as mint or rich teal. Use the deepest tone of colour near to the floor and the lightest shade on the ceiling – this will help give the illusion of space. To reflect light around the room, you might also like to install glass or mirrored cabinets.


Create a welcoming atmosphere in your hallway by using bright golden, hues, such as primrose yellow or soft peach, or if you’d prefer a subtler look, you could try a warm neutral like fawn, oatmeal or soft truffle. To anchor the look, add a mirror with a ornate frame or a luminous copper table light.