ask the experts3 min read

How to brighten up a dark room

Dark desk with table light and computer
Dark & Moody office space via Unsplash

WordsMaha Elley


Decorating a darker, smaller space can be a challenge that all British city-dwellers face at some point in their lives. The good news? There are plenty of decorating hacks that can help open up a room that suffers from a lack of windows. 

One of the easiest ways to brighten up a dark room? Choosing the right paint color by knowing the best paint for dark or north facing rooms.

How to brighten up a dark room with paint color

Don’t immediately turn to white 

Contrary to what most people believe, white shouldn’t be the go-to color to brighten up a dark room. Some white paints can actually highlight shadows in a room, making the walls feel flat and drab. 

If you do decide to opt for white, choose a white with warm undertones (e.g. pink, yellow, green undertones). Steer clear of cool greys and stark whites when dealing with a room without windows. 

Reach for more muted colors

Fact: earthy colors work really well in darker rooms. Browse through our range of Lick paints or read more about the best neutral paint colors for a dark & north-facing room.

Don’t be afraid to go dark 

Yes, we know - you’ve been told to avoid dark colors in dark rooms. But, hear us out here! Dark colors absorb the light, which can actually give the illusion of more space by blurring the edges of the walls. When working with a dark room, choose a dark shade with a cool undertone. 

Tip: Interested in joining the dark side? Our Lick color consultant recommends the following colors for sumptuous, rich walls: Green 06, Teal 01 green paint, Teal 02 blue paint, Teal 03 paint or Blue 07

How to brighten up a dark room with decor 

While your choice of paint color plays a big part in brightening up a dark room, there are other clever decor tricks that can help. Here are our favourite tried-and-tested decor tips to brighten a room without windows (or with very few windows): 

Mirror, mirror on the wall

This is the number one design tip to brighten up a dark room without adding artificial lighting. Add mirrors to the mix and you’ll find that they reflect any trickle of light that makes its way in, instantly making the room look more spacious.

Scandi inspired fireplace
Scandi inspired fireplace via Unsplash
Neutral bedroom with mirror
Minimal bedroom design via Unsplash