7 Ways to Add Light to a Room

LAST UPDATED: Sep 03, 2020 | PUBLISHED: May 09, 2020 | By: Julie Blanner

There are seven easy-to-implement secrets to add light in a dark room. Get the INEXPENSIVE tips and tricks to make your home feel instantly brighter!

breakfast nook table

One reason I didn’t immediately love our home is because it felt dark. I’m a girl who thrives on light, preferably natural.

I knew there would be simple ways to make changes, and some were so inexpensive!

I love sharing ideas for improving your home! We’ve renovated many homes during the last 15+ years, and I am always thrilled to pass along the knowledge we’ve gained along the way.

green and maroon plaid builders bath
BEFORE
nautical bathroom with blue vanity brass faucet round rattan mirror flowers and hand towel

Be sure to check out these posts while you’re here:

Adding light doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive!

By mid-winter, I seem to crave light and bright rooms with my whole heart. Without going to the expense of adding windows, there are seven ways to add light in a dark room!

A white kitchen with big windows for adding light to the room, brass lanterns over the island.

How to Add Light to Rooms

1) Remove Screens

Do you use your screens? If you’re allergy intolerant or just don’t mind a few flies if you open the windows, remove your screens!

Test just one and you will see the light! The same applies to storm windows.

Example: Screens and interior blinds were removed to add light (and provide a better view). Photos were taken with the same camera settings – you can see how overexposed the second photograph is!

Don’t mind Ani enjoying her breakfast 🙂 We utilize little moments like this to complete small home projects!

Dark windows with screens and interior blinds.
Wood windows with a little girl eating breakfast at the table in a dining room.

2) Rethink Your Curtains

Make the curtain rod extend well past the width of the window, so just an inch or so of the curtain hits the window.

white living room with wood coffee table and art

This will work two-fold! First, the window will appear larger and it’s also not blocking any light. There are some incredible tips for hanging curtains in this: How to Make Curtains hang like Drapes.

3) Choose the Right Paint

If you follow my blog, you know that I love soft neutral paint colors, especially cream paint colors. Just one of the many reasons why they’re a favorite of mine is because they reflect light.

Use an eggshell or satin sheen (never ever flat) and you won’t believe the difference it makes – immediately! Get the details for all of my favorite paint colors and their LRV (light reflective value) here.

A mudroom with cream walls and light paint to add light to a room, brick floors.

4) Add or Replace Light Fixtures

Not all light fixtures are created equal. Take into consideration how shades, glass covers and pendants shield the light when purchasing.

Some light fixtures will offer exponentially more output than others.

Another tip! You’ll find that many light fixtures have a bulb requirement in the product specifications. This can vary wildly, so if you’re looking for a lot of light, be sure to choose a fixture that can hold a higher wattage bulb!

You can find my favorite light fixtures in my shop!

A bright glamorous silver chandelier inside a closet.

Example: This walk-in closet originally had just one 60 watt bulb. I added a chandelier that really brightened up a small, dark space!

5) Replace Light Bulbs

Are you using the maximum wattage? Are you using soft or bright white? All of these factors could add up to additional light.

In each home we’ve purchased, I’ve gone though the house to make all of the light bulbs cohesive. I cringe at yellow lights – give me a soft, warm white any day of the week!

A little girl's white bedroom with pink curtain panels and a vintage brass chandelier.

6) Clean

The few lights we didn’t replace in our last house were removed and cleaned.

It’s unbelievable how much the years of dust on bulbs and shades can reduce the amount of light that filters through.

A white living room with a dutch door adding light in the room
In our lake cottage, we added a dutch door which allows light to stream inside! It’s one of my favorite upgrades to date!

7) Replace your Front Door

We replaced an etched glass and wood front door with a traditional nine light front door.

While the wood to glass ratio was higher, it allowed significantly more light, filtering to the foyer, dining room, living room and hearth room. It may have been the best $1,000 we spent at that house!

A dark and dated wood door with oval glass in an older home.

We replaced the front door of the colonial and also at the lake cottage. Now it’s time for a new door in St. Louis!

What kind of door would you add to our tudor-style home? I’d love to hear your thoughts! The indecision (and expensive) have kept me from pulling the trigger for the last few years.

A white entry with a front door with window panes to add light to a room.

It’s amazing how much light we added with that simple change. I can see clearly now, the dark is gone! 

A bright white kitchen with a wood table and a brass chandelier.

Do you have any additional tips I missed? What have you done in your home to add lights to rooms? I’d love to hear from you!

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mini loaves of bread gift wrapped