How to decorate a dark room

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Decorate a dark room

We all have that room in our homes that we simply can’t get right, no matter what you do, it always ends up too dark. Well here are some tips to help you change this awkward room into your favourite place in your home.

Brighten your base

If you have a dark room that lacks light, the last thing you want to do is to paint the walls in a deep rich colour, keep things soft and light. We are not suggesting you paint the walls bright yellow or keep them completely white, but why not try a soft blue, or pastel grey. For example The Little Greene Paint Company has an extensive range of colours, some nice ideas would be Clear Sky, a very light and uplifting blue or Pearl Mid a very soft blue/grey.

If paint is not enough for you and you wish to use wallpaper the same principles apply. Keep it light and soft, nothing too dark. However you have one more option with wallpaper, try some light reflecting metallic wallpaper. You can go as bold as Zoffany’s Spark wallpaper or you could go for something slightly more subtle like Larsen’s Wintertree II. These two examples are entirely metallic and if that is not your thing why not just try a design with elements of light reflection, for example Oleander wallpaper from GP & J Baker. Wallpapers like these don’t just look stunning, they also reflect what little light there is in an otherwise dark room.

Woodwork is another thing to think about, you want to keep the woodwork as light as possible. A great colour for this would be The Little Greene Company’s Shirting. It is light enough that it is effective but it is also not a brilliant white. This colour can be used on doors, ceilings, bookcases and even stairs. If it is your hallway that is too dark, then why not paint the stairs, banister etc in this and have a narrow runner. This means you will still see the woodwork on the stairs and it will brighten up your whole hallway.

Don’t Block the light

In dark spaces, every bit of natural light available is precious, so don’t block your window with a heavy pair of curtains or pelmet. Set your curtains slightly wider than the window so they still dress the window beautifully, but they let as much light in as possible. If you really want to keep all of the natural light, instead of curtains, why not try some voiles. For example, Harlequin have a beautiful collection of Tranquil Voiles, the wide colour options mean there should be at least one that fits perfectly with your colour scheme. If you prefer something a little more neutral, try G P & J Baker’s Ferns Sheer or Wemyss collection of sheers. Voiles are not everyone’s cup of tea, but in recent years they have had a facelift and become increasingly popular, especially in more contemporary settings.


Mirrors: Mirrors are a great way to duplicate the amount of light in a room. Ideally we want to bring in as much natural light as possible so why not try placing a mirror on a wall opposite a window. This will reflect the natural light and brighten up your room instantly. Mirrors in general are great anywhere, they can make a fantastic statement piece or they can be a beautiful finishing touch, plus mirrors & lamps together can do magical things, as you will find out.

Lamps: Though overhead lighting is great for lighting up your dark room, table lamps and floor lamps give off such a beautiful light it would be a crime not to use them! If you are thinking ‘Yes, but doesn’t the lampshade block a lot of the light?’, well we say why not try a half shade? Not only do they look amazing, it means you can have your lamp closer to the wall, thus creating more space. Now here is the magic, putting a half shade lamp on a console in front of a mirror means that mirror can reflect even more light, and so brightening your room instantly without the need of any more lamps! (we told you it was magic)

Furniture: Regarding furniture you want to keep simple lines, a glass coffee table is a great example, it add soft fluidity to the room rather than creating a block which would, subsequently, bring the room in.


So, now you have your beautiful walls, curtains, mirrors & lamps please don’t clutter up your room. Placement is very important, for example, if you have a sofa and two armchairs, don’t put the sofa in front of the window, put the armchairs there, they are smaller and will allow more light through. They will also frame the window beautifully, don’ be scared to place these armchairs in front of double doors either.  Another important placement that we have touched on already is mirrors. Make sure they are somewhere that will reflect natural or artificial light, this will give them a dual purpose and brighten up your room & add character. Likewise with lamps, put them in places that need the most light, putting a lamp in front of a window is pointless, if you need a decorative item there, why not try a lantern or candle holder. The options are endless.

Now you know what to do, get decorating! We would love to see a picture of what you have come up with so share your photos on Facebook & twitter and tag us! @no77interiors, No 77 Interiors.

Can’t wait to see your creations!

No77 Interiors Team x



decorate a dark room


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