5 Ways to Brighten a Room with Little Natural Light

If you are living in a home with little natural light, you are probably looking for ways to brighten a room or two, short of putting in bigger windows. Well, we have 5 ideas that can help you to maximize the natural lighting you do have to brighten a room, or all your rooms!

1. Window Coverings

The most obvious answer to brighten a room with little natural light is to keep your windows clear of any light blocking coverings.  If, like many homeowners, you have full draperies in your home, consider using tiebacks to pull the panels to the sides of the window.  The tiebacks can be loosened to provide privacy in the evening.

Brighten a Room with Sheers

If you’d like to bring in even more natural light, and privacy is not a worry, why not replace those heavy drapes with a curtain made from a sheer fabric.  Because sheer panels block very little light, your home will appear brighter even on a rainy afternoon. Notice how the sheers, in this photo from housedecoratingideasmag.com, still add softness at the window yet very little light is blocked, in fact the sheers will soften the harsh rays and eliminate unwanted glare.

Wooden blinds, roman shades, and pleated shades topped with a valance are also good options. They bring in light because the blinds can be raised out of sight during the day to optimize the amount of daylight.  At night, the blinds can be closed, providing complete privacy.

2. Dirt and Grime

The grime of winter can certainly block the sun’s rays, so while you are changing out your curtains, you can brighten your room by washing your windows too.

Brighten a Room by WashingThere are numerous window cleaners on the market, but Matt’s favorite is still the homemade variety. He uses his mom’s recipe: ¼ cup of vinegar, ½ teaspoon liquid soap or dishwashing detergent, and 2 cups of warm water.  Combine all the ingredients in a spray bottle for an easy application.

Spray the mixture on your windows, and then use a squeegee or a soft cloth to dry.  Once the winter grime is removed, you can touch up your windows every once in a while by using dry newspaper.  The newspaper helps to repel future dirt and produces a nice shine on the glass.

This photo is from a nice article about getting your windows ready for spring by Statewide Blinds.

3. Over-Grown Shrubbery

Now that you can see through those sparkling clean windows, you might notice that your shrubs seem a bit overgrown.  To prevent bushes from blocking the light, be sure to keep your landscaping well groomed, especially in front of the windows. The extra light you let in will be sure to brighten your room.

Brighten a Room by Trimming ShrubsWith the exception of flowering varieties, the best time to trim shrubs is between late spring and early summer.  It’s probably a good idea to check with your local nursery to determine the best time to prune your flowering shrubs.

Now that your windows have been cleared of anything blocking the sunlight, you’re home free, right?  Well, not completely.  There are several other decorating tricks to help enhance all those beautiful rays.

Brighten a Room with Color4. Color Conscious

The first is color.  Rooms with only a few windows in them can be dark, dull and dreary looking. To change these rooms into cheerier, brighter places, choose a light color of paint.  If the room faces north and always seems a little cool, try a warm, sunny yellow or peach. You might also consider a glossier paint finish since glossy paints tend to reflect light better than flat finishes.

5. The Magic of Mirrors

Another great way to increase the amount of natural light in your home is to include mirrors as accessories.  If you place the mirror near the source of light, the effect will be even more striking. It may not be doubled, but it will give the feeling of more light in the room.

The photo above does a little of both with attractive results found at Victorian Interiors Blogspot.

Along these same lines, try to include reflective materials in your room design.  Sunlight seems to dance off crystal and glass, while highly polished metals like silver or brass create beautiful reflections as well.

Have you noticed that bright sunny days tend to brighten everyone’s spirits?  Jobs that seem like torture on a gloomy day magically become child’s play when the sun is shining. If you’d like to make every day a bit brighter, brighten a room in your home. Why not take a few steps to let the sunshine in!  To finish your sunny space, hang a prism in your favorite window.  The resultant rainbow will make you feel even better.



  1. Diane says

    Just wondering if you have an opinion on solar window tint? We need it down here in the hot Texas sun! I’m afraid my home will seem too dark, but our AC bills are enormous. And, before I knew it, all my living room furniture had faded when they tore down the house next door!! Now I have sheers that filter the sun but am hoping the solar film will allow me to remove them. Thanks!

    • Shari Hiller says

      Hi Diane,
      I have solar window tint on my home’s windows here in Florida and I understand where you are coming from. I would definitely get the window tint, but I don’t think you will be able to remove your sheers. Even with the window tint, (although I didn’t choose the darkest available) I still have some fading.

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