10 Effective Ways to Brighten A Room With Dark Furniture

Learn how to brighten a room with dark furniture using these 10 simple and easy ways. Written by : Andre A & Roomdsign.com Editors | Last Updated : January 16th, 2024

Designing a room using dark furniture as the main feature can be a great way to create an elegant, sleek and stylish space. Think about a gorgeous living room with a black leather couch, black wooden coffee table, and an area rug with some black texture and pattern, sounds interesting, isn’t it?

If you create those kinds of spaces inside a large room with a sufficient amount of lighting, surely there wouldn’t be any problem. However, using some black furniture as a base inside a small space that lacks of lighting can causing a new, big problem: the room will look dark and gloomy.

Unfortunately, this problem was often just felt after we finished putting in and arranging those dark furnishings.

Living room decorated with black furniture
Living room decorated with black furniture

Rather than sold your beautiful 1000$ black leather couch and bought a new one – which of course will result in considerable losses – there are some simple, effective, and more affordable ways that you can do to help make your entire space feel and look a bit brighter and airy.

Here are some best tips from our interior design expert on how to brighten a room with dark furniture :

1. Choose the Right Wall Paint Color

Living room with dark brown furniture and ivory walls
Living room with dark brown furniture and ivory walls

If you need a big and instant impact then one best way is by repainting the walls with a lighter color.

Surely, the best one for this kind of need is white. But if you think plain white is too mainstream and boring, you can choose a warmer one such as ivory white or light cream.

Another kind of color that you can use is any bright and vibrant colors such as sunshine yellow, pink, or lime green.

But in most cases, these kinds of colors won’t work well with dark furniture, even though they can help brighten your entire space. Thus you should carefully choose which vibrant colors that will fit your dark furnishings and overall interior scheme.


2. Add More Light

Living room with lots of lightings
Living room with lots of lightings

If you had some extra spare budget, we highly recommend you add extra windows. These additional windows not only can add more sunlight to the entire space but also can be very beneficial to bring some fresh air from outside.

However, this approach not only will cost a lot of money but also need a lot of time and extra work.

If you prefer more affordable ones, then adding more artificial lighting can be a great alternative. For more fast and easy ways, you can buy some extra table lamps or floor lamps, where those kinds of lighting don’t require any complex installation.

To get maximum results, put those lamps in the area that lacks natural lighting, such as in the corner.


3. Put the Dark Furniture near the Window

Brighten up dark furniture by place it near the window
Dark blue sofa near the window

The natural light or sunlight works great when it falls on the dark furniture. Due to the sunlight, dark furniture will look better and brighter.

So, you need to place them near the window or proper place where it gets enough natural light. It will create a dramatic impact on the furniture and brighten up the whole atmosphere of the room.


4. Contrasting with Bright Colored Decoration Items

Brighten up dark sofa using vibrant throw pillow
Dark brown leather sofa with yellow pillow

Bright and vibrant decoration items can be a great way not only to help create some contrast with the dark furniture but also can be used to bring some splash of colors to the space. And more importantly, it’s one of the cheapest and most affordable ways that you can use to brighten any room with dark furnishings.

Some white, yellow, or light gray throw pillow works best with any black or dark brown couch. You can also brighten up a bedroom with dark furniture by using a bright and vibrant bedding set.


5. Combine with Light Colored Furniture

Living room with black and white furnishings
Living room with black and white furnishings

If there are still enough available spaces inside the room, then you can opt to add one or two light finishes furniture to help balance out the space.

One of our favorites is by adding a bright white leather armchair alongside a black leather couch or adding a white nightstand beside the dark bed.


6. Add Mirror

How to brighten any room with dark furniture using mirror
Mirror beside dark green couch

In a dark room, if you place a big mirror or some small mirrors, then it will easily reflect the light to the whole room. This will instantly make your room look brighter than before.

If there are still plenty of empty available spaces in your living room with dark furniture, you can add more than one mirror to get better results. And things can go even better if you placed some of the mirrors facing directly to the windows.


7. Use Light Flooring

Dark furniture with bright flooring
Dark furniture with bright flooring

This approach surely won’t be cheap and easy, but it surely would be worth it, especially if your current flooring is already outdated, dark, and dull. For a room with the majority of dark furniture, we love to use any light flooring with a high amount of reflections and glossiness.

Marble or tile flooring tends to be the best option, but you can also go with wood flooring as long as it has a bright and light color and sleek polished looks. Alternatively, you can choose any light-finishes laminate or vinyl flooring to had a lighter look than most wood, while still having some natural grainy looks like any real wood flooring.


8. Use Colorful Rug

Lighten dark furniture using bright rug
Dark living room furniture with bright cream rug

If changing your entire flooring is a bit too much for you then there is a much simpler and more affordable alternative: using a rug, especially the ones with light or vibrant color. Some of our favorite rug color that works well to make any dark furniture looks calmer and less intense is the cream rug, white rug, or light gray rug.

Using a rug not only will help make the entire space feel a bit more bright, but it can also make comfy looks, and finally can make the space feel neat and well organized.


9. Add some Greenery and Flowers

Actually, adding some plants or flowers won’t affect the room brightness directly.

However, adding some of them can help make the space look more fresh and natural that can be very useful to avoid the room feeling boring and monotonous.

To get the best results, spread those greeneries throughout the room.


10. Avoid Dark Ceiling

The dark-colored ceiling will make your room dark and small. If your current ceiling uses any kind of dark paint, it is better to repaint it with white or lighter colors. Take a look at this living room :

Room with dark furniture and dark ceiling
Room with dark furniture and dark ceiling

As you can see in the image above, this living room with dark furniture had a brown painted ceiling that make the entire area feel dark and gloomy. And all we had to do just repaint the ceiling with white, and here is the result :

Repaint living room ceiling for lighter appearance
Repaint the living room ceiling with white

The difference is huge, right? The white ceiling will instantly brighten up the whole room not only because of its ultra-light appearance but also at the same time it can reflect a lot of neutral lights that really helpful to make the dark furniture feel much brighter.