Pretty Handy Girl Living Room Reveal | Pretty Handy Girl

5 Easy Ways to Lighten Up a Dark Room

5 Ways to Lighten Up a Dark Room | Pretty Handy Girl

I get a lot of questions from readers. Recently Joyce, emailed me with some questions about her new apartment in a basement. She asked, “How do I increase the amount of light in my dark basement apartment?”

Have no fear Joyce, I’m here to help and hopefully create a home that is dreamy and less hobbit-like. With a little TLC and intentional changes it will be dreamy! Here are 5 Ways to Lighten Up a Dark Room:

1. Curtains:

Easy and Inexpensive Romantic Curtains | Pretty Handy Girl

Hang curtains outside your windows. You won’t want to block even one inch of glass. Let the edge of the curtain overlap the casing. White curtains and sheers will help keep the room feeling light and airy. Be forewarned that heavy and dark drapes will absorb some of your light, so keep them light and airy!

You want privacy, but still have light come in, check out this DIY privacy film? It is a wonderful way to cover your windows but still let the light come in.

2. Lighting:


Floor lamps that shine up, are the best for bouncing light off the ceiling.  The more ambient lighting the better. Feel free to add more than one or two lamps in your room. If you have a dark corner, a plug-in lamp will brighten it up in an instant. You can also buy plug-in pendant lights that can be hung from a hook from the ceiling. Big dome lights, little chandeliers, wire pendants…

…how about these beautiful swagged options (contains affiliate links)?

Plug-In Chicken Wire Pendant Light

Glass Globe Plug-in Pendant Light

Frosted Beads Plug-In Pendant Light

All you need to know is how to add a ceiling hook.

3. Ceilings:


Smooth ceilings that are painted bright white will reflect the maximum amount of light around the room. If you have popcorn or textured ceilings, consider scraping them. If you can’t scrape them, consider adding a fresh white coat of paint.

4. Mirrors:

Spring Foyer Vignette | Pretty Handy Girl

Hanging or propping a big mirror across the room from your light source will help to bounce the light around more. A mirror will also give you the appearance of an extra window.

Buy an affordable large mirror or make your own with one of these tutorials:

sliding mirror title

DIY Sliding Mirror


Old Door Coat Rack Mirror

Install a ReadyMade Mirror Frame on Door | Pretty Handy Girl

Frame a Standard Mirror

30 Amazing DIY Mirrors

30 Amazing DIY Mirrors

5. Light Color:

Pretty Handy Girl Living Room Reveal | Pretty Handy Girl

Decorate and paint with bright colors. If you love dark jewel tones, use them as your accent pieces. A club chair, pillow, vase and maybe even your lamps can have dark colors. Keep the majority of your room (think walls, drapery, etc.) bright to avoid light being absorbed by dark colors. If you are renting and can’t paint, staple some white sheets onto the wall or use a light colored screen to help lighten things up.

I hope some of these 5 Easy Ways to Lighten Up a Dark Room helpful. Have a dilemma or question about your home? Send your questions to me at PrettyHandyGirl (at)


Pin for later!

3 replies
  1. Debbie W
    Debbie W says:

    We used all but one of these tips (no mirrors–what Colleen says) to help brighten our den & it worked! We scraped the popcorn ceiling & painted it white, painted the crown molding a glossy shade of white. With 8 foot ceilings doing this really helped to draw the eye up & it makes the ceiling feel higher. Light paint on the walls & gauzy white curtains hung higher & outside the frame–amazing change! That corner trick with the lamps works! We also removed heavy wooden pieces that housed TV & books and replaced them with open shelving under the wall mounted TV. For books etc. we added wall mounted shelving–cleared up some space & the wall paint is visible to keep the bright, airy feeling.
    Love your blog & have been reading for awhile. Great ideas & tips & photos!


Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.