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Dark Living Room

(23 Posts)
Dee1012 Wed 18-Aug-21 14:01:40

I live in a terraced house - built around 1899.
Biggish rooms and high ceilings.

My dilemma is my living room, pretty square with the chimney breast facing the window (which isn't huge). The room is quite dark and gets little sunlight until late afternoon / early evening.
I'm trying to brighten, warm it up but am at a loss re' colours especially for the walls.
My furniture is light coloured and I have a large mirror facing the window.
I'm a big fan of earthy colours which doesn't help...I really dislike pinks / yellows etc. My budget isn't large at all either.
Any ideas or suggestions would be very welcome.

varian Wed 18-Aug-21 14:13:44

Paint the walls and ceilings white - not beige, cream, off white or magnolia, pure white will reflect the maximum amount of light.

Choose a light coloured floor covering and furniture. (as near to white as is practical). Have some brightly coloured pictures, cushions and rug - perhaps in reds/ oranges/ terracottas with little touches of purple /bright blue /green.

Finish with a dramatic green plant at the back of the room, something like monstera deliciosa which thrives on neglect.

silverlining48 Wed 18-Aug-21 14:16:50

My kitchen never gets the sun so I have everything light-shades of white with only dashes of colour.
Keep curtains away from the window if you can and it does help that you have a mirror opposite the window to reflect the light.
If you like darker colours have a think about getting extra lighting. Good luck 🤞

GagaJo Wed 18-Aug-21 14:16:54

I echo white. I have an all white terraced house. It gives the impression of being light and airy inside. I'm thinking of changing my interior but am doing it with furniture etc. The house was shades of brown when I moved in and it was dingy and dull inside.

Bluebellwould Wed 18-Aug-21 14:25:30

Deluxe do an emulsion paint called light and space which uses magic to reflect light. If you go to their website you can look at all the colours and buy sample pots for small amount of money. I’ve tried one of their turquoise colours and I now need sunglasses 😎. Really recommend them.

Bluebellwould Wed 18-Aug-21 14:25:51

Dulux blooming autocorrect.

Dee1012 Wed 18-Aug-21 14:32:51

Thank you all....I did think about white but didn't want it to look "clinical"!
Time for a rethink hmm

NotSpaghetti Wed 18-Aug-21 14:35:42

Make sure you use matte finishes - especially paint as they do a better job of reflecting light more evenly. Have a white ceiling and either a "standard" torchier floor lamp somewhere towards the darkest part of a room or similar uplights. This will have immediate effect. Don't have anything hanging along the top of the windows (eg blinds or pelmet) as this will block light at the top where we want it to reflect off the ceiling.
If you can, as money permits, pick furniture with taller legs as they let light underneath and give a feeling of things being airy.

Pull any curtains well to the sides and don't fill the walls next to them with (say) bookshelves as these will block any diagonal light.

Don't forget to keep the windows spotless! grin

Oopsadaisy1 Wed 18-Aug-21 14:40:17

All white walls, use cushions to provide splashes of colour, curtains pulled well back and remove any trees or hedges from your garden that might be blocking the light.

Shelbel Wed 18-Aug-21 14:51:36

Scandi look always seems light and relaxing. You definitely need as much white as you can but not dampening it with too much earthy toning.

Cherrytree59 Wed 18-Aug-21 14:52:26

Agree white walls then pops of colour with pictures, soft furnishings rugs etc
Palms and peace lily's or similar in bright pots
Cosy up at night with coloured lighting and softly lit lamps.

varian Wed 18-Aug-21 18:02:12


Thank you all....I did think about white but didn't want it to look "clinical"!
Time for a rethink hmm

White never looks "clinical" but a surprising number of folk think that is the case. You use white to maximise the light then inject splashes of colour - all the colours you love to give a real impact.

kittylester Wed 18-Aug-21 21:28:07

We don't use our dark, north facing lounge much during the day so we have gone for warm and welcoming with raspberry walls.

JackyB Thu 19-Aug-21 08:09:33

Could you afford (and/or get planning permission if necessary) to enlarge the window? Or make it a bay window?

Your mirror and light coloured furniture are a good start.

Also find a lighting designer who can recommend the best position for lighting as well as the type of lighting which will create the best atmosphere.

Light is so important to the look of a room and even to our quality of life. You are right to want to improve it.

Also, if you are in a terrace, can you see if the neighbours have found any solutions to this. Three lounges will be the same layout and face the same direction.

JackyB Thu 19-Aug-21 08:10:58

Last sentence should read "Their" lounges of course.

Hetty58 Thu 19-Aug-21 08:28:22

We had that same problem with a North-West facing room at our last house.

We removed a hedge and put down light paving outside.

The light then reflects up into the room, especially onto the ceiling (like when it snows) and makes an amazing difference.

We painted the ceiling and one wall (the one with the most reflected light) brilliant white, also the window surround and sill. A new, longer pole allowed the curtains to be pulled open away from the window.

The rest of the room was medium olive green, though, yet still it seemed much brighter.

tiredoldwoman Thu 19-Aug-21 14:11:55

I have big mirrors in all my rooms . It makes my wee house lively with light and gives the illusion of having a much bigger house !

Dinahmo Thu 19-Aug-21 14:21:44

You could go in the opposite direction and have dark walls and ceiling and make it a very cosy, warm space. When do you use that room? Lighting is quite important so you could have table lamps, not necessarily on a table. Light bulbs throw different types of light - some bright and cold and others have a warmer feeling.

Eila Wed 15-Sep-21 19:28:59

I encountered the same problem in my workshop. There are only two small windows on one side, and very little light comes through. I fought this by installing additional lighting. Before that, I was using portable LED lanterns. They did a great job, but it wasn't enough for me. By the way, I ordered them here In my opinion, it is an indispensable device, which should be in every home. So, I solved this problem when I repainted the walls white and installed pendant lamps. The white color maximizes space and helps combat the lack of light. Therefore, it is the only solution to the problem of poor lighting.

TillyTrotter Wed 15-Sep-21 19:34:50

I would have walls that are some shade of white (you can get “hint of” colours palettes) and some large well chosen lamps which I would have on during the day to keep the darkest corners of your room bright.
Mirrors can help magnify light in a room too if placed opposite a window.

kircubbin2000 Wed 15-Sep-21 21:30:53

The mirror shouldn't be opposite the window. It will reflect back out. Try 2 mirrors on the 2 side walls and get better lights.

TillyTrotter Thu 16-Sep-21 09:28:44

Ooh, I’ve learned something new kircubbin , thanks.

JackyB Thu 16-Sep-21 09:32:17

Yet another thread resurrected by someone selling something. Dee1012 will probably never read it.

Good advice about the mirror, though, kircubbin. Thank you!