There is hope, however. Check out these 10 ways, from structural alterations to decorative touches, to improve how you can both capture and reflect light in a hall of any size.
Better yet, add punches of blue and black (or navy) to a room to create a beachy vibe that recalls luxe seaside getaways with plenty of summer sun.
8. Provide balance. Ultimately, it’s important for a room to have some natural interplay between light and shadow, as the highlights and lowlights are appealing to the eye. Nobody likes the look of a super-bright big-box store with perfectly even lighting in harsh fluorescents. Add lights to brighten up dark corners, but don’t go overboard. A few shadows just mean your space has depth, and a sense of life, that makes it feel like a home.
8. Go Nordic. The Scandinavians are surely masters at maximizing light. They show us how the simple act of painting wood floors can bring airiness to any space. Choose from a range of specialist floor paints available to achieve a quality finish that will improve with age.
Australia Brazil Canada Deutschland España France Ελλάδα (Greece) India Italia 日本 (Japan) 한국 (Korea) Maghreb Mexico Quebec United Kingdom United States South Africa
Choose a color you cherish for the outside of the door to add to that important sense of welcome.
If a part of your house doesn’t have a window, then consider different lighting options. Larger fixtures tend to work best for square and symmetrical spaces that are short on light. For this square, windowless foyer, we selected a bright gold wallpaper, which reflected a large, light-defusing fixture.
5. Look up. Light from above is powerful and transforming. In fact, skylights, or roof lights, can be three times more effective at bringing in light than regular windows, according to the United Kingdom’s National Association of Rooflight Manufacturers. Investigate whether your roof profile allows the fitting of a skylight over your first floor landing. Combined with light-reflecting decor, this could allow your hall at ground level to be constantly flooded with natural light.
6. Add area rugs. Dark hardwood or laminate floors are a beautiful and popular staple for contemporary homes, but they can drain a lot of light from some spaces, especially corridors without windows. Runner rugs in a lighter tone will break up this sort of flooring to give you the best mix of richness and airiness. A traditional patterned rug like this one incorporates off-whites for lightness without showing every speck of dirt.
And if you really want to be aggressive, don’t stop with just the walls. Consider bringing in other white elements such as white art or frames, and white furniture, curtains and bedding.
For an especially sophisticated approach, try using a picture light to brighten up a wall and make a focal point of a favorite art piece.
If you’re looking to brighten up a room that feels more like a cave (or even just a little on the dim side), try this mix of beginner tips and advanced ideas for bringing in more light and maximizing what you already have.
4. Or go transparent. If you’re planning major work, replacing the traditional balustrade with one made of clear glass will offer an even greater flow of natural light.
One of the easiest ways to brighten your space is to pick out high-sheen fabrics and materials. To keep this windowless library from feeling like a cell, we installed a gold ceiling, and sourced red velvet chairs with a high sheen.
This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.
1. Start with white. When trying to brighten a dark space, many people look to mirrors to reflect light around a room. But that’s actually a bit of a design myth. The best way to scatter light is by using lots of white, because the non-hue doesn’t absorb any color. Instead, white sends as much light as possible bouncing indirectly back to other surfaces. So if it’s brightness you seek, the first thing you should do is paint your walls and ceiling white.
For those reluctant to paint wood features, bear in mind that painted wood is still wood, with its own aesthetic.
4. Counteract with black. It seems counterintuitive, but introducing some hits of stark black or charcoal adds touches of contrast that make the light areas surrounding them pop even more. Look especially to thin, linear elements, such as these chairs, or long floor lamps, sharp picture frames or patterned fabrics for the right dose of darkness.
2. Add glass upfront. The best way to deal with issues of darkness is to introduce more natural light. Even the smallest panes in the front door or side panels will help here. Use opal or frosted glass where there are privacy or security issues.
6. Steal light from the side. If your home is detached, it may be possible to steal some light from the side.
If you are adding lights (especially pot lights) to a ceiling, consider adding a few closer to the walls to cast light down onto the walls. This can highlight beautiful details such as traditional cabinetry or brick.
A recessed mat well at the front door is vital for dirt management, and you could also add carefully selected runners to provide additional dirt management, color and texture as needed.
Undercabinet lighting creates a similar effect, adding a glow that comes from the edges and balances out the shadowing effect of bulky cabinetry. This can always be added after construction with LED strips or even battery-operated tap lights.
Toronto Interior Design Group | Yanic Simard Original photo on Houzz
7. Embrace blond woods. Including some elements of pale woods can really lighten up (and liven up) a space. Throw in a plant and the room will feel more naturally sunny even without any new light sources.
Lighting isn’t just integral to your home design. It’s an important part of staying healthy, and the amount of natural sunlight we receive directly impacts our wellness. So if there’s a space in your house that’s short on natural light, don’t leave it be. Our senior designers have these tips for brightening a dark room.
To brighten up a ceiling in a dim room such as a laundry room or den, try replacing a flush-mount ceiling light or a pendant with a semi-flush light that hangs just a little below the ceiling. This will diffuse the light across the ceiling to almost simulate the glowing effect of a skylight.
10. Paint it white. A hardwood door will absorb light and add to the general sense of gloom. Paint the internal face of the door white to reflect light and transform the ambience of any hall. This works well even where the door has no glass.
We love thick, high-gauge window treatments in the winter. They help keep the cold out and are great for keeping you house warm. But when the weather gets nicer, consider sheer options. They’ll allow more light to filter in, and will give your space a light and airy feel. We installed sheer window treatments in this high-rise apartment to keep the room feeling light and breezy.
If you’re really in need of a brighter space, then consider knocking down one of your walls. It’s a drastic measure, but it’s definitely an effective one. It’ll give your space a more open floor plan, and will also significantly brighten your home. In this New Jersey home, we knocked down a couple of walls for a breezy, wide-open chef’s kitchen.
If you’re trying to brighten your room, then the first step should be to repaint your walls. And repainting your walls doesn’t have to mean going for an all-white look. Light greys and blues in a semi-gloss finish are great options for brightening your space. Check out the difference that a fresh coat of paint made in this airy urban retreat.
And for more narrow spaces like hallways, consider track lighting. It’s a great way to brighten up your space, and can also be an effective way to spotlight your art. Check out how we used track lighting in this Upper West Side family home.
Tap here to turn on desktop notifications to get the news sent straight to you.
7. Borrow light from an adjacent room. I’ve already touched on this with the idea of an internal window, but for something less structural, use doors with clear or translucent glass between the hall and any adjacent rooms. This will allow natural light to flow through the entire ground floor.
Single-panel glass doors work well in both period and contemporary homes. Again, opal or frosted glass will allow for privacy where appropriate.
Most people don’t think that furniture can have an affect on brightening a space, but it absolutely can. In this Upper West Side family home, large, brown suede couches were blocking out a ton of potential light. So we swapped them out with lower-profile grey couches from Edward Ferrell + Lewis Mittman, to allow light to filter into the room.
3. Brighten the balustrade. A natural wood balustrade can appear to eat precious light. Painting the balusters white will both soften the overall effect of the stairs in the hall and enhance light reflection.
2. Light the walls. Washing walls with light helps keep the edges bright, so even if you have lots of pot lights or ceiling lights, consider adding sconces with shades that aim light upward and downward. This powder room feels bright despite its lack of windows, thanks to the warm glow of a pair of sconces.
9. Step lightly. It’s essential to adopt a light palette when choosing colors and finishes for your dark hall. White floor tiles can work wonders here. In particular, tiles with a low sheen will reflect light beautifully.
Table lamps work well on furniture to spread light across a wall, especially in classic drum shades with openings at the top and bottom.
5. Update lightbulbs. Besides adding actual blue, you can also choose to update your lightbulbs to a brighter output and a cooler “daylight” color tone. Warmer, yellow lights, such as the ones seen here, create a beautifully warm, intimate atmosphere, but if you’d prefer a brighter and fresher look, try a “true white” bulb.
The hall, the first space to greet us each time we return home, should ideally be a light-filled, welcoming room with conveniently located storage cleverly concealed from view. Sadly, however, our entrances are often narrow passages with little light and inadequate closet space.
3. Cool with blue. Natural light is cool compared with yellow-toned incandescent bulbs, so adding blue gives a pleasing crispness that reminds us of the sky. Plus, cool blue is neutral enough to work with nearly any accent color you want to toss in.
1. Try a mirror. The simplest of solutions — a strategically placed mirror — will amplify your space and bounce around whatever light is available to best effect. Position the mirror to reflect both natural light and, if possible, another key feature in the space, perhaps a piece of art.