The amount of light in a room has a dramatic effect on how the room looks and the mood of people in the room. A bright room says “welcome, we’re glad you’re here!” while a dimly lit room is not as inviting.

10 Quick Ways to Brighten a Room

Brightening a room makes it feel warm and inviting, yet it’s not always as simple as using a higher-wattage bulb.

Here are a few things you can try to turn a dreary space into a freshly-lit, welcoming room:

  1. Get rid of the clutter. When it comes to brightening a room, less really is more. The fewer items in a room, the less opportunity there is for shadow. Clutter is distracting and can evoke anxiety, whereas a clutter-free room feels clean and welcome.
  2. Install the right window treatments. The single most important factor in getting sunlight into a room is what’s on the windows. You need to be able to let in as much sunlight as possible. While you can’t force the sun to come out, you sure can take advantage of any sunlight available. Best of all, you can choose energy-saving blinds that will not only let in more light, but they can also help cut your power costs over the long run.
  3. Wash your windows. You’ll be amazed just how much light is prevented from entering your windows when they’re dusty. Clean them both inside and outside, and the whole room may suddenly start to sparkle.
  4. Place your light sources strategically. Rooms that don’t have a whole lot of natural light probably need multiple lamps. Not only do they need lamps, however, they need to be placed correctly. You want to have a light source about every 10 feet in order to avoid creating shadows. The lamps should all be at a uniform height, either just below or just above eye level. Lampshades that are light in color and semi-opaque will help the light to diffuse better, as well.
  5. Add some task lighting. If you want to focus the light of a specific room in one spot – say over a piece of artwork, furniture, or even a piano – consider adding some task lighting. Keep in mind that task lighting creates the possibility of more shadow, so be careful how it interacts with your other light sources.
  6. Get the right light bulbs. You’ve got some choices to make here. You can still get incandescent bulbs for that yellowish glow, but they’ll cost you more money in electricity costs over the long run. Fortunately, bulb manufacturers are producing a wide variety of CFL bulbs today. There are daylight-quality CFL bulbs, “soft white” CFL bulbs that more closely resemble incandescent bulbs, and more options as well.
  7. Brighten up the walls. Switching out the paint scheme in a room over the course of a weekend can make your space look not only brighter, but bigger, as well. Pale colors reflect light, giving you the illusion of more space and a brighter feeling. Stick with light, neutral tones for maximum brightness.
  8. Arrange your furniture in line with the flow of light. Walk into the room. Look at the brightest spots in the room. That’s where your eyes (and the eyes of guests) are going to be drawn. Make sure that you don’t have a couch, chair, or entertainment center blocking the flow of the light; instead, arrange your furniture around the light flow.
  9. Hang some bright colored artwork or decorations. If you don’t have a whole lot of natural light in a particular room, one option is to create the illusion of light with artwork or wall decorations. A sunny beach landscape, for example, can help produce some of the same positive feelings that a brightly lit room would produce. Great art also helps you enjoy the room on a deeper level, as well.
  10. Reflect. Adding a mirror to a room can sometimes add to the light, but be careful here: you don’t want to overdo it. In some cases, a better choice is to choose a reflective surface for some of the room’s furniture, allowing the light in the room to bounce off.

Brightening a room can pay off in a number of ways. It can help create a feeling of warmth, family, and friendship. Study after study have shown the positive effect sunlight has on mood, mental acuity, and more. If you have a room that could stand to have some brightening, try one of these quick and easy methods today.