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How to Increase Natural Light in a Room: Transform Your Space

Are you looking to brighten up a poorly lit room with its existing natural light? If so, there are a few easy ways to increase the amount of natural light in any room. By utilizing lighter colors on the walls and furniture, and making cosmetic changes through window treatments or mirrors, you can make a big difference in how much light is in your home. Let’s explore how these simple solutions can help transform your space.

Evaluate Your Current Natural Light

Shrubbery and an awning blocking sunlight from a window.

Before we can get around to discussing how to increase the natural light in your home, we first have to figure out how much natural light you have available.

To do this, take note of all existing windows. This can include skylights as well. Take a look around and take note of windows which are not being used to their full potential. To determine if you are maximizing your windows, ask yourself these questions:

1) What kind of light does my space receive? Is it morning light or afternoon light?

The orientation of your window will determine how much sunlight it receives at different times of the day. For instance, north-facing windows receive less direct sunlight than south-facing windows.

2) Have I placed any furniture in front of a window?

The window may only be partially blocked, but even the slightest bit of extra light can go a long way if you employ a strategic approach.

3) Do I have any awnings or overhangs above my windows?

Anything that hangs over a window will inevitably filter or reduce the amount of light that comes through it. If possible, consider removing these things.

It is important to ask yourself these questions because these observations will help you understand how to improve your lighting situation.

How to Increase Existing Natural Light in a Room

There are a number of ways to make a room look better, but first lets focus on maximizing the natural light you have. You can do this in several ways such as through decor pieces and general home maintenance.


A room with sheer curtains will let natural light into a room.

The easiest way to boost natural light in a room is by painting it white or by using light colored furniture. The color white reflects the most amount of light compared to any other color. This is why white walls make a room appear brighter.

For this reason, it is best to avoid dark walls as they will absorb any natural light that enters the room. If you’d like to incorporate a dark color into your space, consider an accent wall or dark decor pieces. Ideally, any walls directly across from your windows should be white. This is so that you maximize any natural light available to you.

Paint Finishes

Now that you know bright white is the best color for increasing your lighting, lets discuss paint finishes.

The shinier the finish, the more light it will reflect. Paint finishes like high-gloss and semi-gloss will reflect light off of its surface.

If you’re not too keen on shiny walls or ceilings, you can utilize gloss finishes on large pieces of furniture like dining tables or cabinets. Avoid paint colors that are matte if you want to brighten things up.

To really maximize your available natural light in a small space, paint a room in a light color and choose a semi-gloss finish.


Image of a floor mirror reflecting light.

Much like the color white, mirrors reflect light. Having a mirror in a space will allow for more natural light to be reflected throughout the room. Here are some tips for where to place a mirror.

Place a mirror opposite a window: Placing a mirror opposite a window will reflect the natural light coming in from outside and spread it around the room. The bigger the mirror, the brighter the room will look. Floor mirrors are a fabulous choice if you want something with impact!

Place a mirror near a window: Placing a mirror adjacent to a window will also reflect natural light and can create the illusion of having more light.

Across from another reflective surface: Placing a mirror across from another reflective surface, such as a shiny tabletop or a polished floor, can help further bounce light around the room.

Reflective Surfaces

Polished, smooth surfaces like marble can reflect light.

Nowadays there are also plenty of furniture and decor pieces that have reflective or mirrored surfaces. You can use them if they are relevant to your interior design style.

That said, mirrors are not the only reflective surface. A polished finish like marble on a table or countertop will increase the light levels in a room. This is because its shiny, smooth surface will help light bounce around the space. However, remember to avoid dark tones if you want to maximize lighting.

Sheer Window Treatments

A room with sheer curtains.

Window treatments can have a dramatic effect on how much light enters a room. If you want great natural light but wish to retain your privacy as well, here are a few options for you to consider.

If you have dark drapes or curtains, consider replacing them with lighter shades. Remember that light colors reflect light, while dark colors absorb it.

Image of sheer blinds.

Another option to consider are materials that partially block sunlight. Heavy curtains will block the amount of light you receive. Instead, consider replacing them with both sheer curtains and blinds. This way, you will receive light during the day. At night, the blinds will provide you with the privacy you may need.

Valences and Cornice Boxes

Image depicting how valences can block light from a window.

Valences and cornice boxes are integral to some design styles, but if they happen to block a significant amount of light, then you may want to reconsider them.

If your valence or cornice is especially bulky, then replace them with something smaller. This way you can retain a similar style while increasing the lighting in your home.

Increase Natural Light by Maintaining Your Home

Clean Your Windows

Image of a person cleaning a window.

Grime that has accumulated over time will reduce the amount of sunlight that filters through the glass, so it is crucial that you have clean windows. Large windows and skylights will require more upkeep and can be tedious to maintain, but it’s worth the occasional cleaning if it means more natural light in a room.

Trim Back Shrubbery

Shrubbery in front of windows can block sunlight.

If you have plants right outside your windows, you might want to consider trimming them back. Plants can severely obstruct the natural light that enters a room. Trimming back the plants can improve the amount of natural light available, thus making the space brighter and more inviting.

When Natural Light Isn’t Enough

If you’ve exhausted all of the suggestions above, then there a few more things you can try.

Replace Your Windows

The more windows you have, the more natural light that you will be able to utilize. Therefore, you have the option to either increase the amount of windows you have in a space, or select larger ones.

A small window can be difficult to design around depending on its shape and its placement. And depending on just how small your windows are, it can nonetheless create the feeling of having a windowless room.

This in turn can make people feel claustrophobic and may also not be up to code depending on where you live.

Add New Overhead Lighting

When adding new overhead lighting to a room, there are two ways you can do it:

1) Add a new electrical box.

2) Switch out your existing light.

Depending on the size and layout of your space, you can add another overhead light to your room. Open concept homes can really benefit from this approach because you can utilize overhead lighting to create zones in large, undesignated spaces.

If you’re not too keen on more than one lighting focal point, then consider recessed lighting. Recessed lights will increase your artificial lighting without becoming a room’s focal point.

Another way to add light to a room is by switching out your existing light fixture. If your current light fixture can only handle one light bulb, then replace it with light fixtures that can handle multiple light bulbs.

Consider Accent Lighting

Image of a floor lamp and a table lamp.

Another way to bring light into a space is through floor lamps. Much like overhead light fixtures, some floor lamps can support more than one light bulb. It is a great way to avoid dark rooms in a home.

If you’d prefer not to reduce your floor space, then accent lamps on a side table or chest would be best. Accent lamps are small, portable, and come in various designs and styles, making them versatile in their placement and how we use them. You can place them on shelves, mantels, desks, or tables, which can clear up more space.

Choose the Right Light Bulbs

How color temperature affects the color of light bulbs.

If you’d like your artificial light to appear natural, avoid light bulbs that are very warm- or cool-toned. The color temperature of a light bulb is an important factor to consider because light bulbs can make pure white walls or furniture look yellow or blue tinted.

If you want your artificial lights to mimic neutral natural light, then halogen light bulbs between 4000-4500K would be best. By making these small changes, you can make a huge impact on how much natural (and artificial) light comes into your home.


When trying to increase the natural light in a room there are few points to always keep in mind:

  • Light colors make a space feel bigger. Darker colors make a room feel small and/or cozy.
  • White reflects light, and it does it better than any other color. So you may want to consider painting a space a fresh coat of white to make it feel brighter. A semi-gloss or high gloss paint will only increase its reflective qualities.
  • Shiny or glossy surfaces and finishes create reflective surfaces, much like mirrors. A matte finish on the other hand will absorb light.

All in all, good lighting requires good strategy. Your light sources may be limited, but by making simple changes to how you use light in your home, you can easily transform any room.

Utilizing lighter colors on the walls and furniture, adding window treatments or mirrors, trimming plants outside of windows, replacing existing windows with larger ones, installing overhead lighting fixtures (or recessed lighting), and much more all make a huge impact when it comes to increasing the natural light in a room.

With these tips and tricks up your sleeve, you’ll be able to create brighter spaces that feel more inviting than ever before.

If you find all of this information overwhelming, reach out to a professional. Interior designers can help you make the best decisions for your home!


Natural light is essential for our physical and mental health. With plenty of sunlight, we can extend our energy levels, enhance our mood and increase productivity – not to mention it has the ability to reduce eye strain! And light also has the ability to affect our sleep cycles.

There are several ways to increase natural light in a room, including adding windows or skylights, using light-colored or transparent materials, using light-filtering window treatments, and strategically placing mirrors across a window. And most importantly, make sure you’re maintaining your home by cleaning windows and trimming back any shrubbery that may be blocking out any sunlight.

To promote natural light in your home, you should carefully select window treatments that allow for the sun to shine through. Sheer or translucent curtains are excellent choices since they offer a soft level of illumination without completely blocking out all sunlight. On the other hand, most drapes and blinds will block daylight, so be sure to pick something lightweight that can easily be opened when desired.

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