10 Ideas for Brightening a Dark Living Room

dark living room

Bjorg Magnea for PJCArchitecture

If your living room is dark and you're just not sure how to brighten up your space, we're here to help. There are so many simple, designer-approved tactics that you will want to keep in mind to infuse more light into your space. There's no need to break the bank or participate in a major remodel, either. Below are 10 tricks you'll be able to implement easily.

Meet the Expert

  • 01 of 10

    Abstain From Window Coverings

    dark living room without window coverings

    Tyler Karu

    Don't let bulky window coverings bring your living room down. Allow the light to shine into a darker space by abstaining from curtains or blinds altogether, as we see implemented in this comforting room.

  • 02 of 10

    Accessorize With Table Lamps

    dark living room with fireplace

    Ashley Montgomery

    Table lamps of all shapes and sizes are a dark living room's best friend. Given how many styles of lamps are on the market, it's easy to find one or two that reflect your style. Whether you opt for something vintage or modern is entirely up to you.

  • 03 of 10

    Use a High Gloss Paint

    living room with high gloss paint

    Studio AK

    In this pre-war space, the designers behind Studio AK chose to coat the walls in a high gloss paint to maximize and reflect light. This beautiful green is definitely a statement maker and is also perfectly on trend, given that green is considered the color of the year for 2022.

  • 04 of 10

    Upgrade Your Ceiling Light Fixture

    dark apartment with overhead light

    Bjorg Magnea for PJCArchitecture

    There's nothing wrong with a dimly lit space, says Nandar Godoy-Dinneen, senior associate at PJCArchitecture, who designed the room shown here. "Dimly lit spaces can be cozy, warm, sophisticated, and even sexy," Godoy-Dinneen explains, noting, "In this project, two windows provided some natural light in the space, but due to the location and shape of the room, direct sunlight was not an option." Thus, introducing a bit of artificial light was key, and a dazzling ceiling fixture serves both a functional and an artistic purpose. Say goodbye to that builder grade chandelier that came with your apartment and install something that will truly inspire you.

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10

    Use Light Colored Paint

    living room with cream walls

    Wendy Concannon for Melinda Kelson O'Connor

    “When you’re trying to brighten up a dark living room there are a few tricks to help it feel light and airy," notes Amy Youngblood, owner and principal designer of Amy Youngblood Interiors. One suggestion? Painting the space a light color, as we see implemented here in this room by Melinda Kelson O’Connor Architecture & Interiors.

  • 06 of 10

    Go Green With Plants

    dark libing room with plants

    Tyler Karu

    If you've always thought about being a plant parent, now is the time to go all in! Greenery will work wonders in brightening up a dark living room, as we see in this space. Of course, if your room doesn't receive much natural light, you can always go the faux plant route. There are so many convincing fake plants on the market; none of your guests will be able to tell the difference.

  • 07 of 10

    Hang a Neon Sign

    neon sign

    Alvin Wayne

    A neon sign is another form of lighting, but it's an ultra stylish one. Add some personality to your living room by hanging a neon sign like this one. Choose a favorite word or phrase and prepare for your living room to be the talk of the town.

  • 08 of 10

    Hang Sconces Above the Sofa

    sconces above sofa

    Erin Williamson Design

    Sconces are an excellent way to brighten up a dark living room without sacrificing floor or table space, making them a particularly useful solution in small apartments. Additionally, note that there are many renter friendly plug-in sconces available for purchase, meaning that even if you're living in a temporary space, you can still fully embrace this solution, no electrician required.

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10

    Use a Light Colored Rug

    jute rug in living room

    If Walls Could Talk

    This living room's wooden beamed ceilings ultimately evoke a cave-like feel, which can be nice and cozy but also can result in a dimly lit environment. To brighten things up, try laying down a jute rug or another light colored piece. In addition to being extremely versatile and complementing a number of design styles, jute rugs are also known for being highly durable and long lasting, making them a smart pick for high traffic spaces.

  • 10 of 10

    Install Perimeter Lighting

    perimeter lighting in living room

    Kendall Wilkinson

    In addition to featuring a beautiful overhead light fixture, this living room also contains perimeter lighting, which brightens up the space even further. This also helps define the room within an open floor plan.