Every apartment owner has struggled with this at some point: trying to brighten up a depressingly dull and bleak interior that barely gets any sunlight.
While brightening up a room isn’t rocket science, the fact that making major structural changes—like adding skylights, windows, or doors—may not be on the cards will be one of the biggest challenges you’ll face in the quest for a more inviting interior. That said, nothing justifies living in a dark space. A well-lit apartment isn’t just more appealing—it can also boost your mood and reduce your stress levels.
So, how do you brighten up your interior without breaking the bank on major renovations?
Here are ten ways you can update the lighting in your home or apartment to give it a brighter, more inviting vibe:
1. Limit the Use of Dark Colors in Your Interior
In addition to being an important design tool, the color of your interior affects the amount of lighting in your home or apartment. If your apartment has too much darkness and feels closed in, the problem might be too much of a dark hue.
To brighten things up, limit dark saturated colors to one wall. Better yet, restrict them to just the accents, and use lighter and brighter colors on the rest of the walls.
2. Paint Your Ceiling White
A dark ceiling looming over your apartment can make it feel small and dull. For an instant brightening effect, gloss up your ceiling with a fresh coat of white paint.
Paint the heavy wooden beams, too, as these can darken your apartment if they’re dark-colored.
3. Use Bold Ceiling Fixtures
Incorporating an eye-catching ceiling fixture in your apartment will direct attention upwards and trick the eye into perceiving your apartment as bigger than it actually is. This will make your space feel less clumped-in and more vibrant.
And since ceiling fixtures can also act as light sources, their illumination will brighten up your room. That, however, doesn’t mean that you should nix all other sources of light. Ceiling fixtures won’t be adequate as standalone space brighteners if they aren’t complemented by other light sources.
4. Careful When Choosing Lampshades
When buying lampshades for a dark room, you need to think beyond aesthetics. Besides being decorative accents, lampshades dictate the quality of light you’ll get in your apartment.
For brighter interior space, choose lighter lampshades because they allow more light into the room. Their darker counterparts make the light more localized, meaning they’ll only illuminate the area above and below the fixture.
5. Use Incandescent Light
For a more inviting interior space, stick with incandescent bulbs. Thanks to their lower Kelvin rating, bulbs of this type emit a softer, yellow glow that relaxes your body and makes your home feel cozy.
Whatever you do, don’t use blue light, especially in your bedroom. That’s because it can suppress melatonin, the hormone that promotes sleep.
6. Complement Your Interior Lighting With Creative Neon Lights
From hanging dim neon crescents to create a bedroom that you’ll never want to leave, to installing a big bright pulsing neon sign that gives your vast loft apartment a focal point, you can customize neon lights to suit virtually any décor purpose.
Adding style to your home aside, neon lights will also complement the lighting in your space to brighten things up.
7. Be Strategic With Your Mirror Placement
It’s no secret that mirrors reflect light. What is a secret to many apartment dwellers, however, is the fact that being strategic with your mirror placement can brighten up an otherwise dark room.
Place large mirrors directly opposite windows, doors, or any other spots that allow some light into your home. This will sort of amplify the little light in your room by reflecting it onto walls (and other parts of the apartment), and the result will be a brighter, livelier room that looks bigger than it actually is.
8. Embrace Loud Accents
Amping up your décor is also another way to make a dark room less gloomy. For a brighter and stylish apartment, incorporate architectural details with bold colors into your space.
The beauty of accents is that there’s no correct way to do it. You can get creative with the details and add a bit of personal touch to your space.
9. Use Black to Create Contrast
It might seem counterintuitive, but adding a few hits of stark black can create a contrast that will make them brighter, surrounding areas pop even more.
For the best results, use shades of black on thin linear elements like picture frames, long floor lamps, parts of furniture, and so on.
10. Update Light Bulbs
Warmer, yellow lights can create a warm, inviting atmosphere. But if you prefer a brighter look, you can try switching to a “true white” bulb to give your space a cooler “daylight” color tone.
The Bottom Line
Clearly, there are many ways to improve the lighting in your apartment without having to pay for expensive renovations. And with these ten tips, you have more than enough options to choose from.
Whichever hacks you choose, be sure to strike a balance with your lighting. Leave some room for some natural interchange of light and shadow because no one likes to live in a super-bright big-box store with harsh fluorescents.
A few shadows are fine. They give your space depth and a sense of life to make it feel like a home.
Lara Douglas is a young woman who loves interior designing and home decor. She is passionate about new trends and fashion-forward home décor ideas. She regularly posts at Neon Signs Depot.