Ways to Brighten Up a Dark Bedroom

bedroom decorDark bedrooms are becoming increasingly trendy – a decade or so ago, using a dark color in a bedroom as anything other than an accent was unheard of. Nowadays, it is much more common to find both master and guest bedrooms sporting an intense color from the darker end of the spectrum. Painting with dark colors does not always work out as home decorators expect, however. If you have either inherited or created an overly dark bedroom, there are many things you can do to make the space feel lighter and more open.

If you are planning to tackle a dark scheme in your bedroom, consider some of these tips before you start. Dark colors in the bedroom can be dramatic, romantic and bold – but without a careful hand, dark walls can make a room feel small and uncomfortable. Be very sure you want a dark color before you paint! Covering dark wall color is not impossible, but it is time consuming, requiring several coats of heavy, tinted primer to block the darker color from bleeding through the newer color.

color wheelGood design is about balance. When starting with a dark color, especially if that color is used dominantly in the room, it is important to add contrast with secondary and accent colors. White is a natural and easy choice, which will work with almost any dark color. Neutrals, including beiges and grays, will help make a deep, dramatic color pop. Using complementary colors will also bring out the best in your dark shades. On a color wheel, complementary colors are directly across from each other. Red + green, orange + blue and yellow + violet are all complementary colors. Colors next to each other on the color wheel are called adjacent colors, and can work together as well.

bedroom decorIn addition to making your dark room feel a little brighter with color, it is important to ensure there is enough light. Making the most of the natural light available in your room, as well as adding sufficient artificial light, will go a long way in making it feel more open. Remember that every room need three kinds of light – task lighting, general lighting and accent lighting. Task lighting in a bedroom might be bedside reading lamps or a lighted mirror on a dressing table. Accent lighting might be used to highlight a beautiful painting or a detailed architectural element. General lighting may consist of table, floor or overhead lighting and is usually considered the main lighting in a room. Dark colors absorb more light than they reflect, so decorators will need to compensate with more lighting to brighten a dark room. Making the most of any natural light from windows or skylights will help minimize the amount of artificial lighting you will need to add brighten a dark room.

Additionally, there are some small things you can do in your bedroom to make it feel brighter. Crisp white bedding and accessories will instantly make your bedroom feel fresh and new. Hanging a few favorite pieces of art can make your dark room feel like a hip New York gallery – dark colors are a wonderful backdrop for an interesting art collection. Keeping your bedroom tidy and free of clutter will also make it feel more open – the eye tends to stop on anything busy; make sure visitors to your room focus on the beautiful details in a painting instead of your stack of magazines and pile of dirty laundry.

Sonya Weiss

About Our Interior Decorating Columnist Sonya Weiss:

From the time she was a child, Sonya spun stories to entertain herself and her siblings. Once she graduated from high school, she put her writing aside and attended college where she studied Secondary Education, majoring in English. She's represented by literary agent Nicole Resciniti. 

Sonya's website can be found at https://sonyaweiss.com/
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