10 Ways to Create a Brighter Living Room

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Laura Wheat, Houzz Contributor

Most of us have a couple of rooms in our homes that get less light than we'd like. You may find that you gravitate toward the pleasing sunny spots, while avoiding spaces that feel gloomier. Heavy curtains, dark carpets and the wrong paint color can all take their toll on the impression of light in a space.

If you'd like to get more use out of your living areas in the daytime, take time to consider what improvements could be made. These 10 inspirational tips should help you to see the light.

1. Be clever with curtains. When hanging drapes for insulation or to soften your space, take care that they don't obscure precious light-bestowing glass. This means making sure the curtain rods are long enough for the curtains to be drawn back beyond the window frame.

2. Seek out Scandinavian style. Nordic-inspired all-white designs are both on-trend and on the money for living spaces that lack natural light. A few contrasting black accessories will prevent your living room from feeling sterile and will inject subtle monochrome style.

3. Create a reflection. Use a large mirror to throw light back into a dark room. Position it either opposite or diagonal to a window for maximum luminosity.

4. Add lightweight appeal. If privacy is an issue in your living room, consider sheer blinds, which offer protection from prying eyes without compromising on light. Choose from simple white roller blinds, as seen here, or Roman blinds made from loosely woven cotton or linen.

5. Ditch heavy drapes. Blinds not your bag? How about some chic sheer curtains instead? These gossamer-thin drapes lend this living room an ethereal quality without taking away too much light. Take your curtains right up to the ceiling for maximum drama.

6. Get turned on. An effective lighting scheme is an integral part of any living room, and one that's especially important in a space that lacks a sunny aspect. Try a combination of ceiling, floor and table lights, and install dimmers where possible to create ambience. Use lamps as accessories -- and remember, symmetry creates impact.

7. Combine and conquer. If your living room is south- or west-facing, but your dining room looks north or east, consider the impact of removing the dividing wall between the spaces. You and your spaces would get to soak in both the morning and afternoon light.

8. Install see-through doors. If you want to keep the divisions between connecting rooms but still max out on light, give your living room a lift by swapping solid doors for glass alternatives.

9. Add a little shimmer. Wall mirrors aren't the only light-infusing accessory you can introduce in a shady spot -- look for other shiny metal or glass pieces. These silver tables bring a hint of boudoir glam to this living room, particularly with the sparkling accents and super-soft upholstery.

10. Try lighter textiles. If pale isn't interesting to you, stick to a few carefully chosen white textiles to lift light levels without losing color elsewhere. Restrict yourself to washable fabrics, however, if you're prone to the odd spill or two.