Best Lighting for Dark Rooms – An Illuminating Guide


Lighting makes the space. Wide open windows with natural light flooding into a cozy living room or a grand chandelier welcoming guests to the dining room – there are plenty of ways to light a space that play a huge role in determining the mood of the space. 

But often, not every single room in the house has natural lighting. There’s always that pesky room or two that gets minimal natural lighting and makes it hard to illuminate the space.

Similarly, you could have a space in your house with dark-colored walls. While dark colors bring a chic and stylish mood to the room, they can often make it seem smaller and less airy. There are some clever ways to light a dark room, so let’s go through our best tips. 

How to Have Good Lighting Without a Window

If there’s a room in your house without a window, especially bathrooms or the basement, it may appear dark throughout the day. Natural light barely peeks through, if at all. 

Fret not, because there are still some simple ways to light up a naturally dark room. 

Use Soft Hues and Lighting 

Living room with curtains drawn lit by two lamps on either side of sofa

For rooms getting minimal sunlight, you’ll need to bring in artificial lighting. You can incorporate ceiling lights, floor lamps, and table lamps into your space. Often, the more the light is to the ground or at eye level, the cozier it feels. 

Look for an incandescent bulb with a yellowish tone, matching natural sunlight. Smart light bulbs have this setting as well as blue hues for daylight. For a warm glow, stick to yellow hues to achieve a soft lighting effect in a dark room. 

Fake Natural Light Using Mirrors

In a space with minimal natural light, fake any natural light where possible. Similar to brightly colored and white walls, mirrors can also reflect sunlight. A room with white walls offers an airy space, so reflect the brightness of the white walls by adding a mirror. It could be above a couch or bed or a floor-length mirror in the corner of the space. 

Use LED Strips

If you’ve got a lot of furniture in your space, why not highlight the furniture with some LED lights? A TV cabinet or credenza can be elevated by lining an LED strip underneath or behind the furniture. You can bring out the sleek lines in furniture while providing additional lighting. Look for dimmable lights, like this one, that offer multi-function lighting effects. You can change the lighting throughout the day to match natural sunlight. 

How to Light a Room with Dark Walls

If you’ve got a room with dark-colored walls, you may find the room is darker than other places in your home. That doesn’t mean you necessarily need to paint the walls white. For some, dark paint color is a stylish design choice that can accentuate the room size and allows for some eccentric and fun decor. 

Opt for ambient lighting and light only where needed. If you’ve chosen the dark color yourself, you’re probably in love with the paint color you’ve picked out. So, adding in too much lighting can wash out the dark color and not make it pop as much. Look for warm lighting that brings out the best hues in the walls. 

Additionally, here are some other tips to light a dark room.

Decorate with Light Colors

Often, lighting solutions for a dark room are easier than you think. Decorating with light colors is easy to lighten up the room without adding any actual lighting. If you have a dark wall, then matching the rest of the room with dark furniture might not be the best idea. It can wash out the space and leave it looking even darker. 

Instead, bring out the color of the dark wall by finding bright decor that matches the color theme. Stick to similar hues and complementary colors to create a cohesively designed room. 

Use Glossy Decor

Vintage leather sofa with side table in room with dark walls

For matte and solid-colored walls, the walls won’t reflect much of the lighting to the rest of the room. Unlike a white wall, a dark-colored wall absorbs light, which is why the room appears dim. 

If the walls don’t reflect light, incorporate a reflective surface that will. This could be bright furniture or glossy furniture. Often, something with a high-shine gloss will make the room appear brighter because of its subtle reflections. 

Faking light where possible is key here. A leather couch or a glossy side table are great additions to a room. This side table with gold accents is a stylish decor piece, and the white marble is bright without being too over-the-top.


In conclusion, if you’re looking to illuminate a dark room, it’s more than just lighting that plays a part. Often, you can achieve the best lighting for dark rooms with some changes in decor or furniture. 

Add soft lighting and warm hues for a room with few windows and natural light for a comfortable, cozy glow. Add in some LED strips behind furniture and place them in any dark areas you think could use a bit of brightening. A cleverly placed mirror can also reflect the natural brightness of a white wall. 

And for rooms with dark walls, get everything else in the space to add light where possible. Glossy furniture pieces like a metallic side table or leather couch can bring a reflective surface, and decor that is bright and lightly colored can add a pop of brightness to a dark room. 

Finally, ambient lighting with warm hues completes the space. Add in lighting only where needed, as you don’t want to wash out the gorgeous dark colors of the walls. 

With lighting, it’s important to remember the best lighting doesn’t just come from windows and lamps. Since light bounces and reflects, there are plenty of options to increase the amount of light in any space, even if it doesn’t get that much natural sunlight. Get creative and see how you can light up a dark room in your house. The solution may be easier than you think.