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Expert Advice: Help! How Do I Brighten a Dark Room?

Courtesy Christina Henck

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Welcome to Expert Advice! Here, we’ll take on a question submitted by DrewandJonathan.com readers and find a pro to answer it, as well as suggest shopping ideas or tips to make it happen. First up is Christina Henck, the CEO of Henck Design, an award-winning, full-service interior design company.

Christina prides herself on creating beautiful spaces that make you feel energized and uplifted, so she’s the perfect person to tap for this conundrum about dealing with light limitations. Because, hey, it’s hard to feel sunny when you’re stuck in the dark! Check out how she’d tackle the situation below:

My home is so dark, and I can’t add windows. What can I do to lighten things up?

There are a lot of factors that go into having a light and bright room. Not all rooms are created equal, and based on the home’s orientation some rooms get less natural daylight than others. Some might have heavy shade from local vegetation, or maybe the finishes in the room are just plain dark! The best way to tackle lightening up a dark room is to consider bringing more light in while making sure the items inside allow for a flow of light to travel around the space. Here are some ways:

1. Lighting: As designers, we’re trained to consider how many lumens a light fixture emits, which is directly proportional to how many bulbs a fixture takes. If the room you’re trying to brighten up can use a decorative light like a chandelier or pendant, select one with as many bulbs as possible. For example, “Chandelier A” may be 24” wide and have 5 bulbs, while “Chandelier B” is 26.5” wide and has 8 bulbs. The right choice for a dark room isn’t just a larger fixture, but one with more bulbs. Looking for a modern fixture over your dining table that isn’t too big but gives lots of light? Try this one.

2. White walls: The days of light gray walls with a white semigloss trim are over. That look is “so last decade.” Now, all the top designers and custom home builders paint both walls white with a matching trim color. This helps with reflecting light across all surfaces and creates a more uniform look. By removing the contrast from walls and trim, the simplicity gives your eyes a break while brightening all aspects of the space. If you’re not ready to paint, and want a quick and easy fix, try this easy-install textured white wallpaper.

3. Upgrade your bulbs to the highest wattage possible: This may seem like a no-brainer, but lots of people forget to read the technical info on the side of the fixture to make sure they’re getting the most light out of it. The same goes for table and floor lamps. Always check the UL sticker on the side of the socket to find the suggested wattage. Note: Never go over the wattage, because your fixture can become a fire hazard! I recommend 3000 kelvins on the color temperature for all residential lighting.

Have a question you want to submit? Direct Message us @DrewandJonathan! And for more designer tips and tricks from Christina Henck, visit her site here.

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