Every home has one – a shadowy space that receives very little natural light. Perhaps, you rent a room that has no windows. Maybe, your north-facing flat feels especially gloomy, even during the warmer summer months.
If this sounds familiar, there's no need to panic. There are ways to brighten up the most shadowy of spaces. The most cost-effective is repainting walls and furniture in a colour that maximises light and capitalises on space.
Contrary to popular belief, white isn't the best choice for dark rooms because it's only as effective as the amount of natural light it reflects. Without any natural light, it doesn't open up spaces as you'd imagine. Instead, it feels flat, closed-in and exceptionally bland.
Brighter neutrals are a far better choice - certain greys, lighter camels, soft tans, dusky pinks and lavender. Blue undertones tend to feel cold, so opt for yellow or beige instead.
You can also give dull rooms life by choosing more saturated colours with less black in the base. Rich greens, sunny yellows and pumpkin oranges make communal areas feel more convivial, and they look sublime alongside contemporary to vintage decor.
Vibrant yellows are especially effective at reflecting artificial light, making them the ideal options for windowless rooms. Swap darker flaxen shades for buttery, brighter mixtures like Hot as Mustard, and add extra warmth with white accents and light wood details.
Remember, yellow works best when a room's flooded with artificial light. You'll need plenty of bulbs to get the full effect.
Without a doubt, everything looks prettier in pink. It's playful and vivacious, injecting personality into depressing, dark corners.
Pastel and rose tones like Dusky Blush, Ballerina and Nougat are perfect for all four walls, illuminating spaces without feeling overwhelming. However, you can make fuchsia and plum shades work. Simply reserve them for accent walls and tone them down with soft purples and neutrals.
One of the most effective ways to lighten spaces is by bringing the outside inside, which is where green really comes into its own.
Sage green is the new grey thanks to its versatility and understated qualities. Its warm yellow undertones provide a much-needed blast of heat to cold rooms, and its association with nature is undeniably grounding.
What's more, it's inherently expansive. When we feel enclosed, green interiors remind us of untamed forests, fields and fells. We immediately feel like we're in a much larger space.
To encapsulate that magical woodland vibe, fill green rooms with plenty of indoor plants, fairy lights and well-worn wooden furniture.
We know what you're thinking – do dark colours work in dark rooms? They can, depending on how you use them. Much like fuchsia and plum, reserve dark green for accent walls and pair it with light neutral colours if you want spaces to look larger.
But why dark green? Well, it's grounding, earthy and warm. It possesses the same expansiveness as sage green but better suits older properties with a country-house feel.
Then, some people prefer the cosy route. Darker shades like Victory Lane envelope us. It's comforting rather than claustrophobic. With the addition of plenty of artificial light, it emulates a snug library or homey attic room.
Most purples possess an icy blue edge not suited to darker rooms, whereas lavender has a warmer, reddish hue that feels immediately welcoming.
It's an uncommon choice due to its unfair association with the feminine and our grandparents' living rooms, but don't let these misrepresentations put you off. It looks wildly stylish and gender-neutral alongside soft greens, greys with red undertones and pastels.
Emotionally, lavender is associated with healing, relaxation, cleanliness, and purity, which is why people choose it for closed-in bathrooms and bedrooms.
Nothing feels better than sitting underneath a bright blue sky and feeling summer's glorious heat on our skin or taking sporadic dips in the azure pool on holiday to cool down. We associate blue with sun, sea and sand, and we can capture some of this warmth by utilising it in interiors.
The more vivid the blue, the more effective. Pool Boy and Anguilla (verging on teal) mimic the holiday-at-home scene better than powdery colours, while Heavenly Blue makes it feel like you're practically floating on a cloud.
It might sound crazy to use grey in drab rooms, but it all depends on the shade you choose. Light to medium shades with red or beige undertones are much more forgiving than their concrete-coloured counterparts. Greys with a hint of colour in the base provide additional warmth without losing the overall ultra-modern effect.
Grey Pebble, Lady Grey and Spitfire are softer hues that provide a simple backdrop for wackier accents. Many people choose to pair grey with yellow, teal or orange furniture to add pizzazz and eliminate ennui (because, let's face it, grey is a little overdone).
Moving onto the million-dollar question – does black work in lightless rooms? The answer may surprise you.
Black has an unfair reputation for making rooms feel smaller when, in fact, it does the opposite. It absorbs light, creates shadows, eliminates harsh edges and blends boundaries to give the illusion of space. One or two black walls adds a dash of sophistication. Four creates a sense of timelessness.
Despite this, the shade of black still matters. Charcoal, soots, leathers and coals generally feel more intimate and snug. Accessorise with plenty of white and light grey furnishings to avoid that eerie deep-space feel.
To find the perfect partner for your home’s interior decor, simply browse our selection today.
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