Some rooms are simply windowless. It could be a guest room in a basement, a hallway, powder room, or even an interior bathroom or kitchen in an apartment or townhouse that lacks a window. The trick to decorating a dark, windowless room is to create the illusion that there's a window in the space. Then add in plenty of the right lighting along with light and airy furniture and fabrics.
Simulate the Look of a Window
This easy trick can be accomplished in two ways. Hang an oversized mirror on a wall or hang floor to ceiling drapery on a rod. For extra depth on the wall that creates a window-like effect, hang drapery on a rod over a large mirror. Here are a few placement ideas that will give you the feeling that there's a window in the room.
- In a basement guest room, create the aura of a window behind a headboard by hanging floor-to-ceiling drapery that's kept closed.
- In a windowless living room or guest room, mount a mirror with divided panes of glass that makes it look like a window. Place it next to your sofa, chair, or bed and then hang curtains as you would on a regular window.
- Mount a large mirror on a wall opposite a sofa or bed, and add wooden shutters or blinds over the mirror for the illusion of a window.
- In a kitchen or bathroom, add a mirror the size of a window across from your sink, then hang a green plant near it so that it's reflected to give the illusion that there's a bit of foliage peeking indoors.
If you don't want to create a faux window, take advantage of the magic of mirrors by hanging a few of varied sizes throughout your windowless space. Drape a string of white lights around them for added sparkle. The mirrors will work together to reflect and bounce light around the room for a dazzling effect.
Use the Right Lighting
It's especially critical to have enough layered lighting in a windowless room. Overhead fixtures (think crystal chandeliers that reflect light), accent, and task lighting with clear glass or light, sheer shades to hang or place on the table or floor, will work together to create a brilliantly lit room. Add track or recessed lights strategically aimed at dim corners and to highlight artwork around the room. Run light strips underneath upper and lower cabinetry and inside exposed shelving to brighten surfaces with diffused lighting, especially in a windowless kitchen.
Bulbs impact how a windowless room looks and feels. Color temperature (bluish mimics daylight while soft/warm white is more yellow like an incandescent bulb's glow, for example) is a personal choice. However, as a guide, choose LED bulbs with the brightness of 1,100 lumens (equivalent to 75-watt incandescent bulbs) or 1,600 lumens (equivalent to 100-watt incandescent bulbs) in your preferred color temperature to compensate for the lack of natural light coming into the room.
Keep It Light and Simple
Decorate a windowless room like you would a small space, with lots of light colors and fuss-free furniture. There are a few more tricks to turning a windowless room into a breezy, bright space.
- Keep the walls white with lots of space for an orderly appearance.
- Layer brightening tone-on-tone neutral fabrics and accessories to add texture into the room while keeping the space visually uncluttered.
- Keep furniture lines clean and streamlined without embellishments to avoid a crowded, dark look.
- Choose furniture with slim and lifting legs which exposes more of your floor, giving a windowless room the illusion that it's lighter and brighter.
- Add a piece of mirrored furniture for another unexpected way to reflect light in a windowless room.