Feeling glum about a drab room and not sure how to fix it? Whether it’s a bedroom, dining room, living room or even a finished basement that needs help, you’ll want to make changes to introduce more light in the room. Never fear! We’ve done the research and are ready with six ideas to help you brighten up a room.


The Bulb Factor
When you tap the light switch, are you getting the brightness you need? Here’s something you may not have considered – check the wattage on the bulbs. Switch out dim bulbs for bulbs with the highest acceptable wattage in lighting fixtures.

• Something as minute as dust may be obstructing light. Dust the bulbs and glass shades.
• Replace incandescent bulbs with brighter LED lights and you’ll notice a big difference, not only in the room but also in your electric bill.

Add Overhead Lighting
If you do not have overhead lighting, install a bright chandelier or pendant fixture that will cast light throughout the room. You’ll be surprised how the addition of overhead lighting can impact room brightness, especially at night. If you currently have an outdated or low wattage fixture, consider replacing it with a newer, brighter version to up the brightness and update your decor.

Add Lamps
Lamps of all kinds play important roles in illuminating space. If overhead lighting is out of the equation, consider floor lamps or table lamps


A fresh coat of paint on the walls and ceiling in a light color will instantly change a room’s feel. White, or variations of white, is ideal because it doesn’t absorb color; the light bounces, which helps brighten other surfaces. If white is not your cup of tea, explore other possibilities. Light variations of colors like lavender, yellow, chocolate brown, orange, gray, pink, blue or green can be applied to the walls. This will bring color to the room while keeping the room bright.


Believe it or not, floor color has an impact on a room’s brightness. Rolling out a light-colored rug to cover a dark floor will introduce more light into the room, while providing contrast between the rug’s edges and the floor. Use a rug full of multiple colors or designs to make the room radiate with light and detail.


Use light-colored furniture to your advantage when you want a brighter look. Cream or white-colored pieces will certainly breathe life into to the living space due to their finishes. Linen, cream or white upholstery also brightens the space. Make the biggest impact with large pieces like sofas, coffee tables, end tables, dining sets, desks and bookcases. Not only will pieces like these perk up the room, they will also add depth and dimension to the space.

wooden bed in room
If you want an earthy feel, light finished wood furniture is inviting.

bedroom with silver accents
Want to get glitzy? Silver or mirrored furniture like this bedroom furniture reflects light, instantly brightening the room.

blue vase with white flowers on glass coffee table
Reflectivity is important. Add furniture with shiny surfaces, such as glass topped tables.


Faced with dark walls that you can’t paint? Maybe you’re renting and aren’t allowed to make changes, or maybe you have paneled or brick walls that you can’t cover. Don’t give up. Simply hang wall art to add color and brightness. Look for artwork in light colors; this will make the scene pop from the dark backdrop.


Cheer up a space by placing decorative accents with shiny surfaces and reflectiveness about the room, especially on furniture with dark finishes. Look for characteristics like acrylic, metallic and mirrored surfaces that will bounce light back into the room.

mirror leaning on wall

Use accent mirrors to double the amount of light in a room. If you hang a mirror opposite a window, the reflective surface will bounce the light back into the room.

Now that we’ve given you some ideas for brightening up a room, apply one or all of them to enlighten your home.
If you’ve taken on the challenge of brightening a room, please share how you did it at #MyAshleyHome on Instagram.