How Can I Lighten a Small Dark Dining Room?

How Can I Lighten a Small Dark Dining Room?

Figuring out how you can lighten a small dark dining room can be challenging, especially when moving into a new space. This becomes harder if your place is void of large windows to allow natural sunlight in.

Fortunately, there are several easy tricks you can use to transform this area into a brighter abode.

From painting the ceiling to layering accessories, we asked our design team to share some tips to help you let the light in.

1. Layer your lighting

One overhead light fixture is simply not going to be enough to properly illuminate a dark dining room. To liven up the space, consider installing additional light fixtures, such as multiple pendant lights or wall sconces, to provide extra light. Go a step further and add table lamps to a server and install an art light above any wall art in the space.

If your dining area is in a kitchen you can place one or two glass table lamps on the top of a kitchen sideboard, or stand a floor lamp in a dark corner.

A beautiful wall light like this Lines Collection by Serip also works well, particularly if the lamp shines light down as well as up.

2. Use lighter colours

Dark rooms are no place for moody decor schemes in rich hues. White reflects light, so it makes sense to use a neutral palette when styling a small dining area.

As the largest surfaces in the room keep your walls, ceiling and flooring bright by choosing a light colour for them, either shades of white or pastels.

Build on this theme by adding white curtains or blinds and white framed art. Remember to keep your surfaces clean so that they can reflect as much light as possible.

3. Swap out heavy curtains

Heavy, thick curtains in a dining room will make the space feel darker and less inviting. A simple solution is to switch to lighter, sheer curtains that allow more natural light to enter the room.

Alternatively, you could try using a solar or Roman shade, which can provide coverage while still allowing light to pass through. Where possible, consider removing the curtains altogether so you can capture all the natural light coming into the room.

How Can I Lighten a Small Dark Dining Room?
How Can I Lighten a Small Dark Dining Room?


4. Pale wood and white furniture

Of course, a great way to introduce light into your dining room is by furnishing it with light-coloured or white furniture. A Scandinavian minimalist theme can be particularly effective for this purpose, as it emphasises the use of natural light and incorporates sustainable elements such as reclaimed wood furniture.

The light Spin Dining Table by Porada or trestle tables with white or light oak finishes can be a good choice, and opting for a bench instead of individual chairs can also help create a brighter and more open look.

In small spaces, a round table can be especially helpful as it has no corners, which can help make the room feel larger.

5. Add a skylight

If your dining room lacks natural light or has small windows that don't allow much light in, you may want to consider installing a skylight. This can bring in additional light from above and help to brighten up the space.

Skylights are particularly effective during the winter months when the days are shorter and darker. Even small models can have a significant impact on the appearance and feel of your room.

They are especially well-suited for modern homes, and best of all, they can also increase the value of your home when professionally installed.

6. Choose bright art

Dark rooms can be cosy, but adding vibrant artwork can help to lift the mood and improve the overall look of the space. Placing picture lights or spotlights on the artwork can further enhance its brightening effect.

Consider making a bright and eye-catching piece of art the focal point of your small dining room, as this can help to create a bright and mesmerising atmosphere.

7. Use a light floor rug

If you have a dark floor and want to bring more brightness into the room you can consider adding a light-coloured rug to the floor.

A light grey rug is a good choice because it is a neutral colour that can work with many different interior decor styles and will help to break up and brighten the dark floor.

Grey is currently a popular colour in interior design, so you should have no trouble finding a light grey rug that meets your needs.

8. Place mirrors near light sources

Double the amount of light in your room by using reflective surfaces to bounce it around. This can be achieved by completely mirroring one of the dining area walls or by adding a single large decorative mirror such as the Emperor Mirror by Longhi.

It’s common knowledge that mirrors can be used to make a space feel larger and brighter, but to use them to their fullest potential, make sure to strategically place them near a light source. For example, placing one near a window, or next to a lamp.

It's important to ensure that the lamp emits ambient lighting, as bright, direct light can be too intense when reflected off the mirror.

9. Add a bit of black and accent colours

It may seem contradictory, but a way to make a light-coloured room pop is to add some dark elements to the space. We recommend a black pendant above your table as it will make whites look whiter.

This style of light fixture will look exceptional over a reclaimed wood table as it distributes light evenly around the room. Bright chairs can also bring a vibrancy that contrasts your neutral palette and adds brightness to the room.

In conclusion

As you can see, lighting a small dark dining room is a challenging yet fun process.

We’ve been designing modern interiors for over 40 years and we have plenty of dining room designs to show you for inspiration - take a look at our completed projects portfolio.

From adding more lighting to using lighter colours and decorative touches, there are options to suit a variety of budgets and styles.

Experiment with different techniques to find the one that works best for you and your space.

If you need any help with your design choices, our experts are only a call away. Reach out to our team virtually or pop in for an in-person conversation.

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