What Are Your Ways of Lightening up a Dark Living Room?

We have an odd living room, long and narrow. We were able to score some free shelving units that my husband built in and trimmed out for us. Then he retrimmed the window. I painted them with this awesome self leveling paint and got some new curtains to brighten things up. I added a couple of reading lamps and voila! Then I painted the front window trim and got rid of the mini blinds...we love the lightened up transformation.

e lightening up my dark livingroom

Before, dark and dingy...

e lightening up my dark livingroom

Shelving units in and waiting for paint...

e lightening up my dark livingroom

Not the best photo but you can see the difference! This is before the new chair...

e lightening up my dark livingroom

There is the new chair!

e lightening up my dark livingroom

This is the front window before...two different kinds of wood trim and mini blinds! And the old BIG furniture!

e lightening up my dark livingroom

And here is the "after", the new blinds are cream colored cellular blinds that can be lowered from the top or raised from the bottom. The plant isn't back
on its' stand yet here but you get the idea. Next on the list will be new carpet at some point! We gained a lot of storage in the shelving units and the cabinets below serve as kitchen appliance and pan storage! Win, win :)
  13 answers
  • Linda Sherbo Linda Sherbo on Feb 23, 2017
    My thoughts would be to try to do away with colors that are dark and highlight with bright, light colors where you can to draw the light in from your window. Use white or off whites for drapery or throws, area rugs and so on.

  • Kathy Haines Cramer Kathy Haines Cramer on Feb 23, 2017
    Very nice!

  • Hillela G. Hillela G. on Feb 23, 2017
    You can also line the walls with additional ligting, string lights, LED igts, Stick on lights, anything that will brighten the space more evenly. good luck!

    • Suzanne Allison Suzanne Allison on Feb 24, 2017
      Great idea! In the evenings I like the battery operated candles that I have on timers, they give that end of the room soft lighting.

  • Lindcurt Lindcurt on Feb 23, 2017
    Lamps that reflect light up to the ceiling would lighten up a corner where there is no natural light. My parents built a house in 1954. They have a wood valance over the draperies with the long, single bulb florescent lights behind them . The bulbs are hard wired to a switch on the wall. They reflect not only on the ceiling but also downward to the furniture.
    The book cases are nice and I like your little silver gray lamp table.

  • Suzanne Allison Suzanne Allison on Feb 24, 2017
    Thank you for the suggestion. That table was an Etsy

  • Suzanne Allison Suzanne Allison on Feb 24, 2017
    I sure appreciate everyone's suggestions and feedback, thank you!

  • Mas8449280 Mas8449280 on Feb 26, 2017
    Lamps better light a room when they are behind upholstered furniture on a sofa table, bookcase or chest that backs up to the piece of upholstered furniture. The bottom of the lamp should be even with or a bit below the chair or sofa's back, This brings the light to about the halfway vertical point of the room and places it behind, or over the shoulders, of the person using it. Also, it clears side tables for other uses, allowing them to be narrower (if space is an issue). It is easiest to do this with matching lamps. If not the same height, put books under the shorter one to raise it up. If a small lamp is on top of a desk, try to have the height of its light about even with the height of other lamps. Fkoor lamps and up-light lamps are also useful. Consider carefully the color, shape and material of lamp shades.

  • Rachel Rachel on Feb 26, 2017
    Lamps, bright paint and loots of windows. Thats my way of doing it :)
    Your makeover came out beautiful!

  • Lori Daniele Lori Daniele on Feb 26, 2017
    Loose the drapes all together since you have the bookcases framing the window, Center the rug more center, if budgets allows loose the overstuffed couch and choose a smaller piece without the huge arms, think about a nice clean knife edge, non rolled arm piece. Think light and bright, consider only one end table and place a floor lamp instead if you need more lighting., De-clutter the bookcase, use baskets to put smaller objects in, Think of a new wall color, like SW Alabaster white. put your color punch in the room with pillows, lamp shades and carpet. You can even add color punch by adding wall paper or material to the back/insert of the bookcases.

  • Rkl16919081 Rkl16919081 on Feb 26, 2017
    Wow I can noticias believe it Is the dame Room. Looks awesome!!

  • Cyn Bek Cyn Bek on Feb 28, 2017
    Looks good, add a few mirrors, ornate or plain, odd shaped etc. Mirrors can transform dark or narrow spaces. You could even find some small mirrors and frame them into different shapes and make a gallery of mirrors on one of the walls that catch some of the natural light.

  • Twyla J Boyer Twyla J Boyer on Feb 28, 2017
    It's beautiful as it is. If you want to lighten it further, get some sort of soft lighting for in the shelves. If you have the ability to plug them in, there are tiny LED lights on very thin copper wire called fairy lights that could even be taped (with electrical tape, probably) the the underside of the shelves to light from the top or they could simply be strung along to sit on the shelves. Unlike rope lighting or lamps or anything, they don't take up shelf space and the wire is thin enough to go behind the shelves or over the ends to use one string per set of shelves. Some upwardly directed light to reflect off the ceiling will make it brighter, too, as would putting a fresh coat of bright white on the ceiling. It always amazes me how much a fresh coat of ceiling paint brightens a room even if the ceiling didn't look like it needed a new coat of paint.

  • Miri Stoner---- Miri Stoner---- on Mar 02, 2017
    Love all the natural light!