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Home Bedroom 8 tricks interior designers use to brighten a dark bedroom

8 tricks interior designers use to brighten a dark bedroom

by Monika Bürger
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Naturally, we love a dark bedroom at night, but what if it’s not much lighter during the day due to a low ceiling, small window, or simply a lack of square footage? 

These fabulous decorating ideas – and essential design advice – will help you lighten and brighten up your bedroom so it no longer feels dark and dingy.

See: Bedroom ideas – Colorful bedroom ideas – 10 favorite schemes chosen by experts

1. OFFSET DARK FURNITURE WITH LIGHT ELEMENTS

Decorating with antiques
(Image credit: VSP Interiors)

We often have pieces of furniture that have meaning, that we want to still use even if they can slightly inhibit the light in a room. 

There are ways of working around this – for example, if your bed is dark and visually heavy you can brighten up the bedroom with pale bedlinen, trimmings and upholstery, light-colored walls and floors, and so on.

A word of caution, though: dark furniture against pale finishes can create a cold, unwelcoming – if bright – room, so it’s always wise to add elements of warmth and texture, such as with a wall hanging, upholstered headboard, or curtains and rugs, as in the room above designed by Henriette von Stockhausen of VSP interiors.

It’s easy to get lost in sleep in our warm yet lightweight comforters. Colors pop on this bedding staple and they will surely be the focal point of your bedroom’s decor. Choose from either synthetic microfiber or our natural fiber cotton. Available in Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen and King sizes.

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2. CHOOSE PALE-COLORED FLOORING

Bright bedroom
(Image credit: Susie Atkinson)

Pale colored flooring will instantly lift a room that’s naturally on the dark side. It will also reflect and bounce the light upwards, mirroring the light that is, in turn, reflected off a pale-colored ceiling. 

Painted or varnished floorboards will create the best ‘bounce‘ of light, but if you want to add comfort and texture to a room, a pile carpet or rugs will work just as well. 

Even if your bedroom is large it can still feel dark, it’s not always about the square footage. A great interior design trick is to choose the flooring that’s a shade or two lighter than your walls, it will visually ‘lift’ the room and coupled with a white ceiling will create an airy feel. 

Now, in this beautiful bedroom designed by renowned interior designer Susie Atkinson for Lime Wood Hotel, the carpet, drapes, and bedspread are all the same tone, this helps the eye to pick up on these lighter elements.

Our floor cushions are the super comfy and style-forward option for outdoor seating. They’re UV coated to protect against fading and water resistant so you can avoid scrambling to bring them inside whenever there’s a touch of weather. Grab a few to have on hand whenever seating is hard to come by or for a fun option for kids to use out in the yard.

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3. HANG SHEER DRAPES – THAT PULL RIGHT BACK

Bright bedroom
(Image credit: Villa Nova)

Dark fabrics in heavy velvets or linens will drain the light from your windows. The key to brightening a bedroom is to choose your fabric wisely – Hayley McAfee, Design Director at Villa Nova, offers her advice on how to do just that.

When choosing the right fabric for a dark bedroom you need to ask what you want from the fabric. Lightweight fabrics will allow daylight to filter through; try a sheer or unlined curtain which you can then layer with a black-out blind to stop the light coming through in the early morning.’

Hanging drapes so that there is room on either side to pull them right back from the window frame offers the advantage of more than just allowing more light into the room – it also makes the window look larger.

Our blackout window curtains are a denser alternative to your standard window curtain, blocking out most light and proudly featuring your favorite designs. Whether you live in a busy apartment or a peaceful neighborhood, it’s always nice to have the option to shut out the sun and relax inside by the candlelight. Available in either single or double panel options. A double panel features the same design on both panels. The bottom edge of curtain includes a 2″ pocket that can be used as a hanging pocket, but beware that the artwork will be upside down for any non-patterned designs.

<< More Blackout Curtain Styles >>

4. OPT FOR MUTED PRINTS FOR LIGHT-ENHANCING INTEREST

Bright bedroom
(Image credit: Madeaux)

A brighter and lighter bedroom doesn’t mean the space is devoid of personality. You can still have a bedroom that has a color, pattern, and is full of character. 

I love to create fabrics and wallpapers that work beautifully together to create rich, layered, eclectic interiors,’ says Richard Smith, Founder and Creative Director of Madeaux.

Whilst I’m drawn to maximalist decorating and bold patterns, I feel there is certainly a place for a calmer and more elegant scheme in bedrooms where we are searching for a serene and soporific environment that also delivers design personality

‘The small scale of our hand-painted rattan motif wall covering which is printed on grasscloth to give an “almost plain” effect, is the perfect organic geometric to combine with any floral, the pretty Celery green colorway of Rattan works fantastically alongside the gentle, distressed Lucia floral fabric in Mineral and classic stripe Audrey in Celery to create a contemporary, yet charming light and airy space.’

Add throw pillows to whatever room needs an extra dose of comfy. Individually cut and sewn by hand, each pillow features a double-sided print and is finished with a concealed zipper and faux down insert. Keeping an assortment of throw pillow designs on hand is the easiest way to give any space an instant refresh. Available in four sizes.

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5. PICK THE SAME COLORS FOR WALLS AND THE CEILING

light bedroom in an attic in cottage bedroom style
(Image credit: Claire Worthy)

When the color on the walls continues uninterrupted onto the ceiling, the visual flow within the room is better, tricking the eye into making you feel the bedroom is taller, spacious, and airier. 

And, of course, if you use white – or cream for rooms that need warming up – it will make the room feel lighter and brighter, making these among the best bedroom colors for smaller spaces.

Cozy up with our unbelievably soft throw blankets. Crafted with sherpa fleece, these blankets actually get softer the more times you wash them. Coordinate with throw pillows and rectangular pillows for whatever nook needs a little extra dose of comfy. Available in three sizes.

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6. USE A SINGLE COLOR SCHEME – WITH AN OFF-WHITE BASE

Bright bedroom
(Image credit: Ginger Lily)

Want to add color? A single-color scheme is always a good trick for making a space feel cohesive, calmer, and, as a result, larger – and if you use a pale color against a backdrop of white or off-white, the light-enhancing effects are only heightened.

I think of my bedroom as my sanctuary and look forward to returning to it at the end of a long day. I have created an indulgent bedroom space by layering different textures and patterns in white and blue hues, which not only pair well to create a calming and cocooning feel but also brighten up the room,’ explains Deborah Fiddy, Managing Director and Co-Founder of Gingerlily.

I love our Coral Fern eiderdowns and cushions, particularly in the blue colorway, which I have on my bed; they’re perfect for adding soft pops of color to contrast with my white bed linen and really lift the overall scheme but in an elegant and refined way. Light wooden cabinets on either side of the bed create balance, whilst keeping the overall look light and airy.’

Dress up your duvet with our eye-catching duvet covers. These ultra-soft duvet covers feature sharp, vivid prints on the front, with a crisp white on the back. Choose from either synthetic microfiber or our natural fiber cotton. Available in Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen and King sizes. Duvet insert not included.

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7. HANG MIRRORS ADJACENT TO WINDOWS 

Decorating with mirrors
(Image credit: Natalia Miyar)

Mirrors needn’t always be hung in the usual places – over fireplaces or dressing tables. Instead, use them where they’re needed in a dark bedroom to create a hit of light and depth.

Hanging mirrors adjacent to a window is the most effective positioning if you are looking to maximize light – pick smaller mirrors with decorative frames if this is your aim.

Our floor pillows are the perfect pick for seating in a pinch. They’re overstuffed and firm to never lose their shape and the high-quality print makes sure the design stays crisp and colorful. Available in round or square, with two size options.

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8. BUILD A SMART BEDROOM LIGHTING SCHEME

Box room ideas with headboard lighting
(Image credit: Future / Davide Lovatti)

Good bedroom lighting is obviously vital for a dark space, and we all know that a single pendant and a couple of bedside lamps may not be enough to cut it in a room that’s really light-challenged.

So, consider more inventive, perhaps even hidden, bedroom lighting ideas, such as headboard lighting, extra accent lighting, lighting inside closets… and so on. Pick bulbs that mimic warm daylight, and ensure the shades you choose don’t dampen or discolor the light emitted too much. The better the artificial lighting in your room, the less you will notice the lack of natural daylight in the room.

Express your style all over your home with a feature-worthy rug. They’re made from a woven, polyester chenille for a soft and textured look. Plus, choosing from our wide array of designs, you’re sure to find just the rug to match your decor. Rugs are one of the best, attention-grabbing pieces to design a room around. Use the colors within the rug to help choose art prints, furniture fabric and accent pillows.

<< More Rug Styles >>

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[…] Make sure to choose a floor paint made for the purpose of lasting results. Go light to brighten a dark room but, if applying a test area of paint brings out old stains, use a stain blocker or go for dark […]

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