Interior Designer-Recommended Hacks For Adding Light To Your Dark Space

Add a pop of sunshine to your room with these lighting hacks.
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Even though I live in a fairly well-light space, there are still corners of my home aching for better lighting in a way that can’t be satisfied with the creepy overheads currently in place. To find creative lighting solutions that aren’t eyesores, I turned to Natalie Rebuck, interior designer and architect at Re:Design Architects in Brooklyn and Southold, New York, for guidance.

Whether you live in a basement unit or simply have a particular zone in your home that is begging for more light, you may benefit from the clever and aesthetically pleasing lighting tricks that Rebuck uses when faced with the challenge of brightening a dark space.

Rebuck told me that LED light strips in a sleek acrylic channel can be installed under cabinets or shelves to help illuminate dark spaces that otherwise might not get much light. “They help create bright focal points that can help the space seem brighter overall,” she said.

And while it might seem obvious, she pointed out that well-placed table lamps and sconces will also make a huge difference in how a room’s brightness is perceived. “I prefer to use fixtures that allow for light to escape from both the top and the bottom, to diffuse the light throughout the room,” she said. Lamps and wall lights with extended arms can also help to focus the light on specific places, which allows you to brighten up more areas and push light further into spaces that need it.

According to Rebuck, choosing wall paint with warm undertones or even bright wallpaper can also dramatically change how you experience the light. If you’re looking to stick to a budget, “I recommend painting an accent wall or applying a peel-and-stick wallpaper to add a pop of sunshine to the room,” she said. And of course, “using creatively placed mirrors throughout a room can help to reflect the light and add a sense of depth to the space that will help trick your eye into perceiving more illumination.”

Keep reading to peruse Rebuck’s go-to items — and a few editors’ picks as well — for adding light to a dark space. Pick up a couple and be amazed at how some good lighting hacks can transform the look and feel of even the darkest room.

HuffPost may receive a share from purchases made via links on this page. Every item is independently selected by the HuffPost Shopping team. Prices and availability are subject to change. The experts we consulted for this story do not necessarily endorse the products ahead unless otherwise noted.

Everly Quinn Javonda wrought iron wallchiere
Available in three colors, this elegant sconce suggested by interior designer Natalie Rebuck directs light to escape from both the top and the bottom to help diffuse it. It has a unique, modern cone-shaped silhouette with brushed brass details. It's made with corrosion-resistant metal and promises to fill your space with soft, luminous, light.
A disco ball
This mirror ball is the suggestion of my colleague, Kristen Aiken, who is head of HuffPost Life. She said, "I follow someone on Instagram called @sareish who has the most enviable home decor, and she's a master of reflecting little bits of magical light around her home. One of the ways she does it is with disco balls of all different sizes carefully placed around a room — not hung from the ceiling like at a disco, but thoughtfully placed in unexpected places, like in a basket, on a bookshelf, or, in my case, on a windowsill. When the sun hits the disco ball, it refracts light in the happiest little sprinkles around your home and is an instant mood booster. Amazon carries tons of different sizes at affordable price points, and the secret is finding ones with a styrofoam base. They're super lightweight, and you'd never know it from looking at them."
Article Leap black table lamp
Table lamps like this Rebuck-approved selection from Article are a must. This pick has a cool, modish silhouette with a curved lamp that packs a visual punch without being distracting.
Brewster Danson peel-and-stick wallpaper
Yellows make a sunny addition to even the darkest space, and this yellow wallpaper is as easy to use and install as it is absolutely lovely. It has a romantic pattern and won't leave sticky residue behind or damage walls on removal.
A floor lamp with attached tray
If you're a floor lamp person, Rebuck suggested this curved, multifunctional lamp that may be perfect for you. The tray table has a USB port to charge your devices and an on/off switch so you can turn it on or off without having to get up. It makes for a great bedside lamp and table combo or can make a lounge-y couch corner extra cozy.
A walnut framed mirror from Etsy
Available in six sizes, this absolutely beautiful abstract mirror from Etsy seller MirrorBazaar is made with walnut wood that is both soft and masculine at once. Recommended by Rebuck, the craftsmanship on this mirror alone is worth a look. Add beauty, texture and, most importantly, light to your space with this stunner.
Home Depot
EcoSmart white strip light
These are not your everyday LED strip lights. Rebuck turns to these EcoSmart strips to add a pop of light without taking up space. These smart lights pair with the Hubspace app as well as Alexa and Google Assistant. They come with a remote control and have dozens of pre-programmed light settings and modes. Use aluminum channels like these to install them with ease.
Anthropologie Tamara burl floor mirror
If you want to invest in a statement floor mirror, this beauty from Anthropologie will add charm, light and style to your space for years to come. Recommended by Rebuck, this handcrafted burl wood frame brings texture and the elements inside thanks to its lovely natural texture.
World Market
World Market Raya rattan arch full length mirror
Similarly, this rattan mirror brings a touch of the outdoors in, but at a lower price point. Prop it up against a wall or hang it near your entryway for last looks while also helping to gleam light throughout the space. It's warm, architectural, trendy and timeless all at once.
Spoonflower peel-and-stick wallpaper
Rebuck recommended this cheerful mustard-y gold and white Spoonflower peel-and-stick wallpaper to add a dash of color and light to a dark space. It's durable and long-lasting, but won't wreck your walls if you try to remove it, making it ideal for renters or the more fickle among us.
An antique-style silver brass wall sconce from Etsy
I couldn't resist adding this dreamy and ethereal vintage-style sconce from Etsy seller AmandaLighting. These custom-made ceramic and brass lamps are a delicate and unique way to bring light to a space, and since the flowers each point in a different direction, light is diffused softly and deftly throughout the space. They're as practical as they are gorgeous.
WEst Elm
West Elm Streamline rounded edge floor mirror
For a simple, sleek look, Rebuck recommends this mirror from West Elm. It is available in three different frame finishes: antique brass, dark bronze and brushed nickel. Find the one that best suits your space and prop it up for some instant light.
West Elm
West Elm Curvilinear mid-century dual armed long sconce
If it's a mid-century design you're after, Rebuck pointed us in the direction of this dual-armed sconce from West Elm. You can purchase it individually or as a pair, with each functioning as plug-in light source with in-line on/off switches. Affix one or two next to the bed in a moody bedroom or by a reading chair in a cozy nook.
AllModern Champ asymmetrical metal floor mirror
Make a statement with this deco-style mirror from AllModern. It has a multi-level design with a decidedly vintage vibe. It's a Rebuck-recommended statement mirror that will be worth every penny.
West Elm
West Elm Desert Sun floor mirror
Although still pricey, this mirror captures the same art deco aesthetic as the last one, but at a fraction of the cost. It's made of neutral-hued cane that adds texture and light and couldn't be lovelier.
LED backlight sheets
Rebuck suggests that "for a slightly more technical solution, these flexible LED panels can be installed onto almost any surface and covered with a translucent material like acrylic to create beautifully illuminated surfaces that really add a special touch to a room. Place the acrylic panel at least two inches away from the LED panel to assure you don’t get any 'hot spots'."
Willa Arlo Interiors swing arm sconces
You can't go wrong with classic swinging arm sconces like this pair recommended by Rebuck. They're made with a glossy metal finish, circular backplates and double-jointed arms so you can swivel each one just where you need. The cone shades diffuse light beautifully and reviewers note that they're easy to install.

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