How to Make a Dark Room Look Bigger

Making a dark room appear bigger is a common interior design challenge, so we’ve created this handy guide full of tips and tricks to help you transform your home.

Whether you’re moving somewhere new or just looking to redecorate, we’ll show you how to make the most of the space you have.

Maybe the room doesn’t get much natural light because of its small windows, or it seems smaller because of its low ceiling. Or perhaps you want to find the perfect shade of paint that balances out your space.

Our simple home design tips will help you make any dark room in your home look bigger — be it your living room, bedroom, home office or even a hallway.


Start From the Ground Up

The floor is a great place to start and opting for a light wooden floor or neutral tiles will help to give any room an open and airy feel. We have a handy flooring guide to help you choose what belongs underfoot.

A large area rug is a great option for adding an extra dimension to your room, too. This works best when you leave an equal amount of floor showing around each edge of the rug (ideally between 8 and 24 inches). Light, neutral pastel tones work well for this and may even help show off your personal style!

Next, focus on the walls and ceiling. In certain small spaces, dark shades can be your friend. Colours like this dark plum (Adventurer 7) create depth perception, which is an excellent trick for making a narrow hallway or small entryway seem bigger.

However, for living areas it’s usually best to opt for light paint colours because they’re a surefire way to make a room seem brighter and more spacious. It’s important to choose the correct shade for your space, though.

Pure white works best when lots of natural light is available (otherwise it can look dull). If your room tends to be darker, you’re better opting for a neutral shade. Choose a lighter shade for your ceiling, trim and mouldings too as they will stand out better and give the illusion of space.

Simply put, Minimalism is the desire to live with fewer material possessions. We’re not suggesting a total lifestyle overhaul here (unless that’s what you want!), but the approach will work to brighten up your dark space. Start with a big declutter and only keep what feels important for the room.

Opt for minimally designed furniture where possible and keep any larger items against the walls to maximise the open space in the room. Minimalism usually embraces light too, so look for light wood and soft coloured fabrics for your furniture to make your room feel bright and spacious.

Mirrors are a tried and tested trick to brighten up any room, but be sure to place them in the right spot. When you place large mirrors opposite windows, they reflect natural light which makes the room seem bigger than it is. Avoid putting bookcases or shelving on the walls opposite the windows though as they absorb the light and can actually make the room darker.

The same rule applies to large pieces of colourful art. It may seem like they’ll brighten up the room, but unlike mirrors, they absorb the light and will make the room look smaller.

Last but not least, ditch any heavy curtains and opt for translucent shades. They’re stylish and a great way to make the most out of the natural light.

There are so many ways you can brighten up a dark room and make it look bigger. You can follow all of these tips and tricks or just incorporate what you need into your home design — we guarantee you’ll end up with a bigger and brighter looking room when you’re done!