6 Kinds of Rooms That Get Dark Easily, and Design Tips to Brighten Them Up

by Vicki Nemeth

 

Is it time to brighten up your home? With the winter months closing in, the shorter days can be a bit depressing. A lack of sunlight affects the human body in adverse ways, and it also makes each room in your home darker and plainer.
 
In the winter, every room’s design benefits less from the depth and color that bright, direct window light offers. But rooms that have limited windows in the first place are hit especially hard. Here are 6 rooms that are notorious for getting too dark, with some tips on how to brighten them up.

  1. The Basement Apartment

    Brighten up a basement apartment by adding light colors and arranging furniture to use the natural light.You’re lucky if it’s a walk-out basement with one wall that can have full-sized windows, but even then, at least one wall will be underground. Most basements are buried all around and can only have foot-high windows right up against the ceiling. Brightening up a basement is vital to creating a living space that supports healthy moods.
     

    Light colors help avoid making a basement feel even darker. Reflective touches make the most of light. Remember to arrange furniture so it only creates shadows where you need them. Since it’s a whole apartment we’re talking about, nearly all bright design tricks are useful somewhere in a basement apartment. 

  2. The Apartment Kitchen

    An apartment kitchen is a great spot to add shiny reflective features.Many apartments and condos are against one or two outside walls in the building, which means two or even three walls are going to be inside. At least some of the rooms have to be windowless.The most common windowless room in an apartment is the kitchen.
     
    The kitchen is a functional room, where occupants may be too busy for a lack of outdoor light to bother them. An apartment kitchen occupies substantial footage against an inner wall, and leaves the windowed walls free for the rooms where people go to relax, such as the family room, dining room and bedrooms.

     

    Luckily, kitchens are a great place for tiles, white or metal appliances, and marble countertops. Glass cupboard doors are another contemporary alternative.

  3. The Old Bathroom

    Brighten up a windowless bathroom by adding enough lighting in addition to reflective decor.Clearly, people have not always known about mold. In modern times, most municipalities require that bathrooms have ventilation either in the form of an outdoor window or a ventilation fan. But for privacy’s sake, that window is going to be small, frosted or covered, and not open very wide.
     
    The bathroom also serves as a functional room: when you have limited outdoor walls, why not use them for the rooms where people relax or socialize? In climate-controlled homes, many people would rather use a fan for ventilation than a window.

     

    You can update your old bathroom, but chances are, it stays in the dark spot where it was originally built. Whatever your reason for having a bathroom with no outside window, brightness improves its functionality. So try adding chromed taps and glass shower doors or a clear curtain. Use shiny tile or high gloss paint, and make that mirror as big as possible. And don’t shy away from bright bathroom lighting if you plan on shaving or doing your makeup there.

  4. Garages, Vaults, and Storage Basements

    If you don't want to do much with your basement, you can still brighten it and improve your home's comfort by sealing the concrete.Most households keep these rooms neither bright nor well-organized, but they certainly don’t have a lot of windows, if any. Maybe you don’t spend a lot of time in your unfinished basement, and you’re not enthused about making it brighter or more pleasant. But there is one thing you can do to make these concrete holes more functional:
     
    Seal your floors! Sealing your floors and walls will help protect your concrete, your belongings, and even the rest of the house from cold and moisture. The finish will be more shiny than concrete, even if you choose a basic grey. Depending on the function of the room you can also choose storage units and hooks with metallic touches.

  5. The Attic Bedroom 

     
    Only so much of a roof can be a skylight, and that’s if your climate makes them practical at all. Many attics have a small window whose size is limited by the triangle of the roof above. It’s a cozy little nook reminiscent of the hole in a tree that cartoon owls live in, except that humans don’t see in the dark as well.To brighten an attic bedroom, avoid blocking light sources, and carefully plan to place a mirror somewhere it fits.If your attic bedroom is shaped like the roof and its ceiling tilts down on one or two sides, then you have to think carefully about where to put tall and short items. Use vertical space at the tallest part of the ceiling to mount lighting, and save floor space for furniture. Avoid creating shadows with a canopy bed, if one even fits.
     
    The ceiling may be too low on the sides of the room fit a dresser mirror, so you may need a dresser and a separate full-length wall mirror or floor mirror. Plush touches like a handmade mat can help make your bedroom more cozy while being easy to throw in the wash and keep light-colored. 

  6. The Tiny House

    Tiny wooden cabin with pointed roof covered in snow in winterEverything has to go somewhere in a tiny space, so where do the windows go? Tiny homes need to use all their vertical space, and tiny home designers put a lot of their focus into making a space as bright as possible despite very little wall space.
     
    Light colors do more than brighten up a tiny space. They can also make it feel bigger. Stain or paint wood in a light color. As for what furniture to use, try to keep moving parts to a minimum so you won’t have to get out of the way every time you want to open something. Use details like hardware and trim to add shine.

     

A dark room can be a hassle to get things done in, and can kill your mood. Luckily, there are design tricks you can use in addition to lighting to make a room feel brighter and more functional. For more bright design ideas, head on over to “34 Brilliant Furniture and Design Ideas to Make Dark Rooms Feel Brighter“.


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