A room with few windows or limited natural light can be an interior design nightmare, since many of your favorite colors and styles can make the space feel overly dark or oppressive. Fortunately, there are ways to make even the darkest of spaces seem brighter and more open. The following tips will help.
Tip #1: Choose a light palette
It should come as no surprise that lighter colors are the order of the day if you want to brighten a dark space. White-on-white décor is popular in this situation, but it's not the only option. Another option is to combine white with an ivory or rich cream color—think cream on the walls and white for the trim and furnishings. You can then accent with a cream rug and the accent colors of your choice. These accent colors should also be light and bright—yellows, spring pink, or robin's-egg blue work well in adding color without darkening the space.
Tip #2: Reflect your light
Mirrors are another trick for increasing the light in a room. If you have any natural light sources, mimic them by placing a mirror opposite them. The mirror surface should roughly equal the size of the window it is reflecting, but you can get creative in its design. For instance, you could use a series of multi-sized round mirrors or three narrow but tall rectangular mirrors hung in a row. Even if you don't have a natural light source, mirrors can be placed opposite each other to help increase the light and give the illusion of window openings.
Tip #3: Avoid heavy drapes
Lighter window shades are necessary to maximize what light you do have. Skip the drapes and opt for window coverings that still allow diffused light in. From a décor standpoint, these coverings should allow light while providing privacy and texture. Blending the color into the wall or trim will help open up the room, as well. Sheers, honeycomb blinds, and thin fabric shades are all good choices.
Tip #4: Get creative with lighting
Low furniture combined with high lights helps make a room feel more spacious. Opt for clean lines in the furniture and avoid large or imposing pieces. Modern furniture styles work well in this situation. Recessed ceiling accent lights will provide a warm glow and help visually lift the ceiling, which can alleviate the loss of natural light.
For more help in decorating a difficult space, contact an interior design firm like Gillian Segal Design in your area.