Windowless rooms always pose a challenge, whether you’re decorating a new apartment or staging a space for an upcoming sale — especially during the darkest months of the year.
We’re counting down the days until daylight saving time, but in the meantime, there are things you can do to improve the ambiance of spaces that aren’t blessed with natural light.
Here are seven simple tricks, from color choices to accessories to creative decor tweaks, to make your windowless spot a brighter, more inviting room a reality in no time.
1. Satin, semigloss, or high-gloss paint
When selecting paint for any room, the color is usually the most important consideration. But when you’re dealing with a windowless space, the finish can also have a huge impact.
Satin, semigloss, or high-gloss paints are more reflective than flat or eggshell finishes, and therefore help light bounce around the room. The caveat is that the glossier the paint, the more imperfections you’ll see, so thorough wall prep is essential. On the flip side, the glossier the wall, the easier it is to wipe clean!
In a rental where you can’t alter the walls? Adding a fresh coat of high-gloss paint to a large piece of furniture does the trick too.
2. Translucent or shiny furniture
Walls aren’t the only things to consider when attempting to brighten up a windowless space. The pieces you put inside can make a huge difference.
Glass, dark marble, polished nickel, and translucent acrylic all bounce light, as does this super simple coffee table, which lends an airy vibe to this living room area.
3. Large mirrors
This is one of the oldest tricks in the book, but also one of the most effective ones: placing an oversized mirror in an enclosed room.
A mirror works as sort of a faux window, reflecting artificial light around the space and giving the impression that the sun is pouring in — even where it isn’t. For instant results, prop yours against the wall, right on the floor, behind a seating area or focal point of a room. You can also use a mirror to back a bookshelf.
4. Reflective gallery wall
As an alternative to a single large mirror, consider creating a gallery-style wall filled entirely with mirrored and metallic frames.
Multiple reflective surfaces grouped together will bounce light around effectively, and it’s easy to hang as many frames as you like (in all shapes and sizes) to show off prints you already own.
5. Low-hung light source
Hanging a pendant light source or chandelier a little lower than you usually would is the perfect way to achieve a soft glow in any space. Try it over a love seat, bed, or sitting area for an extra-cozy, warm, and inviting feel. For extra-bright bonus points, use exposed-bulb pendants.
6. Glass door
Here’s an overlooked idea that’s easy to do, even in a rental: replace a traditional solid door with a glass-paned one!
Doing so helps you take full advantage of light passing through windows in adjacent rooms. In darker, more enclosed spaces, the glass panes help create not only more light but also a free-flowing, open ambiance.
7. Single focal point
In windowless rooms, it’s often better to adopt a “less is more” philosophy when accessorizing and arranging furniture.
Here, the setup works because it all centers on the fireplace — one large painting on the mantel, a single, over-sized leafy plant, and otherwise bare walls, all conveying the sense of fresh, open air.
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