Paint Tips For A Dark Room

A dark room with little to no natural light can seem drab and unwelcoming. It can be tempting to paint the room white in order to make the space seem brighter, but this often backfires. This is because white tends to wash out when there is no natural light to reflect off of it. The result? A drab and unpleasant space. Fortunately, paint really can solve most problems. The following are a few tactics you can use to brighten up that dark room.

Select the right sheen

Paint comes in several sheens. The most common ones for interior paint are gloss, semi-gloss, satin, eggshell, and matte. Matte and eggshell are almost flat, reflecting little to no light. They tend to look dingy more quickly, particularly in areas with little natural light. A high-gloss paint should also be avoided since it tends to reflect artificial light too well. This can result in harsh glows and reflections near lighting sources, which can lend an institutional feel to the room. Satin is the best option to help diffuse and reflect light gently, although you may want to use semi-gloss if there is a minimal amount of natural light to be reflected, such as in a basement with high windows or a north-facing room.

Choose colors wisely

Besides white, another color to avoid is gray. You should particularly avoid anything in grayscale that is on the warmer side of the spectrum, like taupe, as this tends to look like a very drab form of gray when in artificial light. If you must go with gray, stick to the cooler grays that tend toward the blue or green spectrum as these will retain their color better in artificial light. Pale greens with a touch of yellow in them are also a good option, as are colors that tend toward the peach hue. Yellows can also work, although you do not want to go too bright or they can be overwhelming in a dark space. One option is to use a cooler neutral gray on most walls, and then opt for a warmer pastel green, peach, or yellow on a single accent wall.

Pay attention to details

There are two places where white paint can actually be useful in a dark space — to cover wood trim and on the ceiling. Using white on the ceiling will reflect light downward, making a room seem brighter. The same is true for molding. Where medium to dark wood baseboards and trims are attractive in a room with plenty of natural light, they can seem harsh and limiting in a dark room. Using white for these helps open up the space but without the drab look of using white on the walls.

Visit a paint store for more inspiration.


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