Brightening Up a Dark Living Room

I am looking for ideas for how to lighten the room up. We are renting for the next 3 years. The house is really nice, but the living room has dark paneling which we can not paint over.


The wall that would have had windows was boarded-up and paneled over to build a studio apt next to it. Half of the room gets natural light from the dining room, kitchen, and bedroom doorways. The other end is so dark that we have to keep lights on all the time. Please help.

Also the house was built in 1920s and has very high ceilings, dark brown and orange carpet, which we might be able to change. Thank-you, any help would be appreciated.

By Terry

May 25, 20110 found this helpful

I can't stand dark rooms, I know how you feel! Hanging some mirrors on the dark wall would reflect light and also give the illusion of more space. Some tall wardrobe mirrors could take advantage of the high ceilings and wouldn't be too expensive to buy. Keep away from dark furnishings where you can. If you're stuck with dark carpet or furniture some light or brightly-colored accent rugs and cushions could help. If you still find you need the lights on some low-wattage accent lamps could add brightness without adding too much to your electric bill. Good luck!

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May 26, 20110 found this helpful

The use of mirrors, as previously suggested, is excellent. I have also seen material used to cover a wall in a way it can be removed when no longer wanted. I would use some sort of trim to wrap at the top and bottom of the fabric then nail the trim to the wall. I would make the material long enough to cover the entire wall. Good Luck.

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May 27, 20110 found this helpful

Cover the darkest wall with white curtains. Put up a rod across the living room, and make the curtain as dense as possible - 3 mtrs fabric to one metre distance. I did this in my very old house because the paneling was antigue.

I found a large roll of white shirt cotten with a fine stripe at a professional yard sale (do not know what you call them in USA - something like Salvation Army). I have used those curtains many many times. Just wash 'em and move 'em where ever you go.

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May 29, 20110 found this helpful

If there is a way to put up a long curtain rod or hook and eye at each end of the wall then string wire across then find bright cheery material and make a hem at each end. Then put the "curtain" on the wire which will lighten up that wall.

Large mirrors will reflect any light you may have but that could be expensive.

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