A room without a lot of natural light can feel dreary and maybe even a bit dull. You don’t have to settle for a cave-like atmosphere, though. You can easily make a space feel more airy and energized without calling in a contractor to knock down a wall or add windows.

Here’s how.

  • Include pops of color. Bright throw pillows, wall art, picture frames or even footstools can add a punch to a dark room.
  • Paint the ceiling white. This might seem obvious, but if the ceiling in your dark room isn’t white, it’s time for a redo. Darker ceiling colors make a room feel enclosed in, while white does wonders for opening up a space.
  • Reconsider wall colors, too. If you love that darker shade of say, green, limit it to an accent wall. And if wallpaper is your thing, choose an option on the lighter side.
  • Let the sun shine in. Make way for the natural light you do have by using blinds or shades in lighter fabrics, as opposed to heavy draperies, which can block natural light.
  • Streamline furniture. Heavy or overstuffed furniture can overwhelm a room, contributing to that dark feeling. Opt for pieces with smooth, sleek lines, light legs, and lighter colors. Even a few less heavy pieces, like a side or coffee table, will help brighten things up.
  • Add an area rug. Have dark wood floors? Add some contrast with a lighter-colored area rug.
  • Hang a mirror. The light reflected in a mirror helps make a room feel brighter (and bigger). If possible, hang the mirror directly across from the window—and choose a slim frame that won’t add a feeling of heaviness to the wall.

Create texture and contrast with an area rug

Choose pieces without a lot of bulk

Make the most of natural light with a mirror

Choose pieces without a lot of bulk

Reserve darker paint for a single wall