Windowless? Here’s How to Make a Dark Room Brighter

If the onset of winter causes your mood to drop along with the temperature, you’re not alone (even if you live alone). Seasonal affective disorder — best known by the appropriate acronym S.A.D. — afflicts roughly 10 million Americans.

A leading S.A.D. culprit is the lack of sunlight — and a poorly lit apartment can make it worse. Fight back against the winter blues by brightening your room with the following cheap and easy hacks for instant natural light, no matter the time of day!

1. Paint It Right by Painting It White

White walls in a windowless room simulate the kind of brightness sunlight would otherwise add. If your goal is figuring out how to make a dark room brighter, white paint is a great place to start!

The paint’s finish can make a difference, as well. Living areas usually receive a flat or eggshell finish. Consider switching things up and painting the ceiling with a white glossy finish. Doing so will help light bounce around more.

2. Boost Your Bounce

The semi-gloss white paint on your ceiling will help light refract around your space, but there are other ways to boost that bounce.

Mirrors are a great way to move light around, for example. If you place fabric on either side of a mirror, it helps mimic the look an exterior window provides. And if that mirror features a shiny metallic frame, you’re increasing the amount of light reflecting off its surface.

Don’t underestimate the brightening benefits of decorating your space with other shiny metallic items like mirrored coffee tables, faux crystal lamps, and even glittery wall art.

3. Go Bare

Not “bare” as in naked — unless that’s your thing! We’re talking about bare bulbs here.

Lampshades can add a nice decorative touch in the right space. But if you’re dealing with a bedroom with no windows, shades can diminish the lighting you desperately want!

Try ditching the shades in favor of a bare overhead bulb. Shade-free lighting options such as sconces, pendants, and trendy Edison bulbs can help keep things hip and lit.

4. Do Some Quick Math

For a small space in which you can only place one light source, make sure that light source can fill the entire room.

Here’s one easy way to figure out the size that light should be:

  • Determine the dimensions of the room in feet
  • Add the dimensions
  • Convert the number from feet to inches
  • Install a lighting source with the same diameter of inches.

Adding the dimensions of a 12 x 12 room gives you 24 feet. When we convert feet to inches, we end up with 24 inches. When it’s time to go shopping, we know to look for a light fixture that is 24 inches in diameter.

5. Take Up “Boxing”

Outside of creating your mini-sun, if you’re looking at how to create natural light, then you should be shopping for a light therapy box.

What is a light therapy box? As Mayo Clinic describes it, “The box gives off bright light that mimics natural outdoor light.” And the right lightbox, used to specifications outlined by the manufacturer and your doctor, can help you manage your S.A.D. symptoms.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 30 minutes of exposure to a light therapy box per day is all you need to reap its benefits.

6. Find a Space Best Suited to YOU

These tips can help make windowless rooms brighter — even in the dead of winter. But sometimes, a change of environment is what you really need to lighten up your mood.

If that’s the case, don’t spend another winter dealing with windowless rooms. Instead of working out how to lighten a room with no natural light, find an apartment with all the sunshine you need on ApartmentSearch!