How To Brighten a Room Without Changing the Wall Color

Learn How To Brighten a Room Without Sacrificing Your Favorite Colors

Colorful, mid-century living room

So you want to change the look of your room, maybe brighten things up a bit, but you don't want to paint. Or perhaps you're ready and able to paint, but you've chosen a really strong color and you're worried that the result will be too dark. Whether it's either of these or any of a dozen other reasons why you might want to alter the color story in your space without using a paint brush, fear not. There are a lot of ways to brighten a room without sacrificing the color you want or going anywhere near a bucket of paint.

Window Treatments

Adding some light window treatments is a great way to brighten up a dark room. If it suits the style of the room opt for long curtains that go all the way to the floor. If shutters or blinds are more suitable go with white ones. Window treatments can take up a large expanse of visual space so they can significantly alter the mood of the room.


When it comes to bright or bold wall colors a little can go a long way. Consider adding wainscoting to the bottom half of the wall. You can use white if it works in your space, or you can paint another light but complimentary color. The top half of the wall will still be dominant and provide you with plenty of your favorite color.

If the idea of wainscoting is too much there are alternatives. Consider adding a white chair rail around the room (at about one third the height of the room) then add some other molding to the bottom half of the wall. For instance, use white molding to create squares or rectangles. Just that little bit of white can really pop against the dark color.


The color of the floor has a huge impact on the room. To help brighten a dark room go with light floors. If you already have dark wood or stone use an area rug to brighten things up.


Like the floors, the color of the furniture can have a very big impact on the overall tone of the room. If you have dark walls opt for light furniture. If this isn't a possibility, pick up some light accent pillows and throws and place them on the furniture.


Using art is a great way to lighten a dark space. Choose pieces that are light in color, or try framing pieces in white frames and use a large white mat.