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There is a trick realtors use when showing a house: they turn on every light in every room, making the entire house look warm and inviting. The only problem is, once you move in and don’t have all the lights on (who wants that electric bill?) you may start to realize that your house is darker than you’d like.
Here are a eight creative ways to brighten up your living spaces. First off, you have to assess what the darkest areas are. Dark areas are usually closets, the pantry, basements, and bathrooms without windows. The closets and pantry can be fine without additional lighting, but you may want to reassess how to lighten up the dark bathroom and basement rooms. Even a living room can appear dark from either improper lighting, dark furniture or dark walls.

Front room from Flickr via Wylio
©2008 Chris PriceFlickr | CC-BY-ND | via Wylio

1. Paint the walls a light color:
If your walls are a dark color, painting them can be one of the easiest ways to brighten up an entire room. If you don’t like the look of white, try a creme, light gray or any other soft pallet colors.

2. Paint the ceiling white:
If you love the colors of your walls and don’t want to repaint them, try painting the ceiling white instead. It will make your ceilings look taller and give off more light.

14/52 theme: HighKey  title: The Bulb from Flickr via Wylio
© 2014 Tobi FirestoneFlickr | CC-BY-ND | via Wylio

3. Use opaque window coverings:
Dark shades can be great while you sleep, but try using sheer curtains or opaque roman blinds to help let ambient light in. This is great for front rooms if you don’t want a direct light source because of the glare on the television, for example.

4. Change to higher watt bulbs or switch to a higher lumen output of LED:
Check your light bulbs. If you only have a 40 watt in a 60 watt fixture, that’s an easy change. If you already have the highest watt bulb your light fixture allows, consider switching them to LED. The benefit of luminescent lights is that you can choose a higher lumen output while still having lower wattage than standard bulbs, saving you energy!

Bedroom Curtains from Flickr via Wylio
©2013 Emily MayFlickr | CC-BY | via Wylio

5. Add standing floor lights/table lights:
Instead of making all your room lighting depend on overhead direct light (which can appear harsh if used as the single lighting source), add ambient lighting via floor lights, table lamps, and wall sconces. These can give a room a relaxed, inviting quality as well.

6. Insert a pop of color:
As odd as it sounds, adding a pop of bright color in your decorations can help make a dark room appear brighter because it gives the eye a focal point.

7. Upgrade dark furniture:
If you have dark cherry woods or brown leather couches – consider painting your wood furniture and upgrading your furniture to lighter pieces. Dark furniture can look great if you have enough lighting for it, but for small spaces, basements or other poorly lit rooms it tends to soak up the lighting.

8. Hang mirrors:
This is one of the best tricks – adding a mirror (or multiple mirrors) on a wall reflects the lighting in the room and even makes it appear as if you have multiple windows in a room! This works great in basements as well.

Aubrey Moulton is a writer for GalaxieLighting.com. She loves home decor and refinishes furniture in her spare time.