34 Brilliant Furniture and Design Ideas to Make Dark Rooms Feel Brighter


by Vicki Nemeth


Round hanging light bulbs


There is no light quite like outdoor light. But the limits of space mean most homes will have a room without access to an outside window. While it’s important to add enough lighting to elevate the mood of every room, you can also brighten up a room using the right furniture, design and decor. Here are 34 bright ideas.





    1. Light color scheme  This one’s easy. Light colors reflect light, and dark colors absorb it. Try choosing a light color for your walls. A white ceiling is nearly prescribed for creating a sense of brightness. But an all-white room can look a bit scary, so be sure to balance your lightest colors with slightly less light ones as you move down to your furniture and flooring.
    2. Choose open furniture design  This is especially true of accent tables. An open occasional table has no door covering the bottom shelf, and many open tables don’t have panels around, either. This means open tables let the light shine through. A closed table has side and back panels and a door, creating a block of shadow.Amish offers 34 great furniture and design ideas to make dark rooms feel brighter
    3. Gloss paint  It’s a daring move to use gloss on your walls, as every imperfection in your drywall will shine. However, gloss is great in areas that you need to clean often, such as bathrooms. If you have kids, you might want to use gloss in a wider range of rooms than you normally would. The dirt slides off of high-gloss paint more easily. In softer rooms, flatter paints can make a room feel more relaxing.
    4. Arrange furniture strategically to minimize shadows and reflect light  Pay attention to where your light sources are, and work with them. If you can, arrange furniture lengthwise to your light source to create as few shadows as possible. Avoid tall furniture, like canopy beds, or keep tall pieces against the wall. Reconsider using large pieces to split a room up, or do it lengthwise to a window or light source.If you have a reflective item such as a mirror or hutch, place it at a right angle to your window, if you have one. If you place it on the same wall as your window, the light will go right past it. If you place it opposite the window, you may accidentally reflect light back outside. A shining table top is especially effective in the middle of a room.34 Brilliant Furniture and Design Ideas to Make Dark Rooms Feel Brighter

      You can also use this strategy to create shadows where you do need them, such as just above the chair at a computer desk.


    5. Doors  Your hands touch doors more than walls, so they’re an opportunity to use higher gloss paint, even in a room where the walls are better suited to flatter paint.
    6. Trim  If you don’t think your room can handle higher-gloss walls, you could still apply glossy paint on windowsills, doorframes, and molding.
    7. Shiny fabrics  Your upholstery and drapery add welcome color but if you get the right weave, they can also add sheen. A Jaquard weave is a popular style of fabric mixing softness, shine and colors.
    8. Leather and faux leather upholstery  Leather can make a sofa look bright and luxurious.This eclectic living room set mixes cherry wood and Tawny stain with Pecan leather and Terry upholstery (link to the Cubic Slat Sofa) — Amish Furniture Factory
    9. Wood finish  A light-colored stain makes your wood furniture look contemporary and natural. A lacquer can help it reflect more light.
    10. Wood floors  A light-colored wood floor adds an airy effect, yet balances walls with its contrast.
    11. An easy-to-clean rug  Worried about keeping a light rug light? Try using a patterned rug that obscures the worst stains. Or stick to very small rugs that are easy to put in the laundry.
    12. Glass lets the light through  Not only is a glass surface reflective, it also doesn’t stop light from passing further into the room. Glass furniture and glass cabinet doors can make a room feel lighter and bigger. Glass cupboard doors provide an advantage over doorless cupboards by helping keep more dust off your dishes.
    13. Countertops  Are your countertops shiny or mat? Are they light or dark? If you’re worried about stains, try using a tiled surface that’s easier to clean, or a speckled surface that colors blend into.
    14. Tile  Tile is an obvious choice for adding sheen to your wall or floor, and it’s even easier to clean than high-gloss paint.An almost all-white bathroom with floor-to-ceiling tiles and wall-to-wall, counter-to-ceiling mirrors
    15. Metallics  Your kitchen and bathroom provide special opportunities. Are your taps brushed or chromed? Are your appliances light-colored and shiny? What about your door knobs and window latches?Your cabinet and furniture hardware is another opportunity to add metallic touches. 
    16. Mirrors  Mirrors reflect light, so they can really help a room shine. You can mount mirrors on your walls or even get them as part of your furniture. But there are more choices for shiny objects than that.
    17. Clocks  Clocks are usually light-colored and covered in glass. Bonus if you can get a shiny or metal frame.
    18. ArtFramed pictures that are covered in glass add that shine. Like paintings? Try hanging a plasticky acrylic painting to add shine and texture. These days, you might even find a sparkling or metallic original.
    19. Your decor itemsVases, figurines, China, crystal… there is no limit to the sorts of treasures you might be collecting.
    20. Ambient lighting  In addition to your regular utility lighting, ambient lighting can add a warm mood to a corner of a room. Some pieces of furniture have pot lights built in, or you can get creative like this person:Amish Victorian 3 Piece TV Wall Unit with Bookcases from Amish Furniture Factory 




  1. Glass-top tableAmish Antler End Table with 24" Round Glass TopA glass table doesn’t stop light from reaching through, and even reflects some upward. These tables can look modern or contemporary, but also artistic.
  2. Floor mirror  A mirror reflects light and can nearly double its effect if you place it in the right spot. A floor mirror’s size makes it a great way to make more space reflective without mounting several mirrors all over the room.Amish McCoy Wine Rack Clock
  3. Grandfather clock  On their own, clock faces tend to be light colored with glass over them. Grandfather clocks add even more shine when they have a glass case displaying a metal pendulum.
  4. Curio cabinet  A curio cabinet is a display cabinet for trinkets like china. Usually, three sides are glass to display items. It is often as tall as a bookcase and displays items on shelving from the base to the 6” top. Inside a curio cabinet is often lighting and glass shelves, as well as a mirror back so you can see all around your little beauties.
  5. Gun cabinet  A gun cabinet keeps guns locked away safely while displaying them behind glass doors. Both hunters and historians will find gun cabinets helpful for enjoying their guns between use and keeping away from small children.
  6. Hutch  Also known as a china cabinet, a hutch houses dishes and porcelain collectibles. It differs from a curio cabinet by having more function than just display. Most hutches are wide with two or three glass doors that both display dishes and make them easy to access.While a few hutches are floor-to-ceiling glass, most rest on waist-high bases called buffets which store silverware and heavier tableware.While both the display doors and contents make hutches reflective, many hutches also have interior lighting, glass shelving, and mirror backs, so they’re great for adding ambient lighting to your dining room. 
  7. Bookcase with glass doors  Did you know that you can get doors on your bookcase? Now you know. Doors help protect your things from dust and pets, and add a luxurious sheen to your bookcase.Amish Craftsman 4 Door Barrister Bookcase
  8. Barrister bookcase  The original bookcase with a glass covering, barrister bookcases were created to protect old records that a lawyer might only need to access every few years. Unlike regular bookcase doors, which are tall and open like hutch doors, a barrister bookcase has a door for each shelf that opens up and over the contents. The glass doors are often stained or leaded glass for a shiny but traditional look.
  9. Coat tree  Metal coat hooks can add shining details to a mudroom or anywhere you hang things. Every little bit of shine counts in an underlit room.
  10. Dresser or chest of drawers with mirror  A dresser is an easy way to add a mirror to a room, creating a practical way to use vertical space.
  11. Vanity dresser  Want to feel like a star while making your room feel brighter? Now you know the name for those desks that people use to do their hair and makeup. A vanity dresser has a spot for a chair, a few drawers on the right, and a mirror to help you get your face done. A bonus function is it helps free up the bathroom.
  12. Wash stand  If you’re remodeling or building your bathroom, a wash stand is a great opportunity to add a light colored or reflective countertop. A wash stand is a piece of furniture that comes free-standing until you contain your sink and plumbing in it. It has the same kind of storage as the cupboard under your traditional bathroom counter.Amish Regal 59" Wash Stand
  13. Wall unit bed  A master bedroom lives up to its name when the head of the bed has this massive wall unit, with armoires on the sides and a full-width mirror in the middle. This is a luxury unit for committed owners to brighten their reading time before bed. Most of these units have lights inside the top, and the mirror helps augment that light.
  14. Captain’s bed or bookcase bed
    Amish Traditional Captains BedInstead of a whole wall unit, sometimes you just need a couple of small lights, a little storage, and a mirror. You might find that turning off a recessed light above you is more relaxing than reaching for a lamp before falling asleep.



A bright room is a mood booster, but not every room can have all the windows we would like. In addition to good lighting, the right design and furniture can help brighten a room up. Have you ever used a piece of furniture to augment the light you have in a room? Let us know in the comments below.

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