Pops of color, bright art, and thoughtful combinations: Illuminating tips on brightening up a room

    Each week, Mansion Global takes on a theme with elite designers from around the world working in luxury properties. This week, we discuss How to brighten a room with less than excellent natural light.

    In an ideal world, every room in your house would be flooded with natural light, but you probably don’t live in a glass aquarium and have to settle for a few dark spots. However, even if you have one or two rooms without windows, that doesn’t mean living in a perpetual state of twilight either. We chatted with design professionals for their illuminating tips on how to cast some light in a dark space.

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    Consider the color palette

    Your first instinct may be to choose an all-white color palette. I find that white can quickly look worn or sloppy in a room where there is no natural light. Instead, use a soft color palette of light gray or neutral brown. Just be careful it doesn’t get too dark and keep the look light and warm.

    ‘High-gloss pieces like glass-covered prints or painted canvas really allow light to bounce back creatively. Colorful art or an oversized piece can also help brighten up a room, but don’t overdo it — clutter on the walls can have the opposite effect and end up in Darken the room.

    “Dark wood floors are very popular and for good reason. But in this case, I’ll stay away from them and opt for a lighter, natural color or even a whiter one.”

    “Usually when a room lacks natural light, the space appears smaller. Use mirrors to give the illusion of more space; they can help reflect light into a dark space and amplify any existing natural light that’s sneaking in. It’s a great way to brighten a space and make it appear larger.”

    “Any pops of color, like baby blue, light pink, or pastels, will brighten the space. If you have a darker floor, a colorful rug also helps add some contrast and lightness.”

    “In terms of lighting fixtures, get creative and group multiple sources, such as floor lamps and table lamps. This helps bounce light around the room as opposed to just relying on overhead lighting, and also allows you to control the amount of light throughout the day.”

    Designer Paige Gray brightened up a dark kitchen with a cream palette of neutrals and off-white counters and cabinets to soften the space.

    Heather Ross

    – Paige Gray, lead designer and co-founder of the design firm Parker & Harlow in British Columbia, Canada

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    Get your lighting fixtures right

    “Depending on the use of the space and the mood and feeling you want to create, light fixtures can achieve different desired effects. By taking into account the ceiling height of a given space, the height of the light source position plays an important role in the perception of the space.

    “Artificial light has the potential to create a number of different ambiances. For a recent project at The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Limassol, Cyprus, for example, we used reflective fixtures throughout, giving the space the flexibility to adapt during the day according to its use and the needs of the occupants.

    “The light color is directly related to the intensity of the light. Natural sunlight, for example, corresponds to 4000 K. If a place needs warmer white light, we will reduce the light to 3000.. Anything less than 2700 will result in a more yellow tint, Hence a less intense setting.

    “The artwork helps greatly to inject life into the space and replace, to some extent, the lack of window views. It can focus attention in a similar way as the width of a window. Therefore, a bright piece of art on the wall becomes the main focal point of a space with limited natural sunlight.”

    “Using mirrors primarily helps the space feel larger, especially when the surrounding walls are painted in bright colors. If a room has limited light, strategically located mirrors can reflect and multiply both sunlight and bright sky views.”

    Vania Athenodoro, Head of Interior Design at Marfields Enterprises Limited in Cyprus

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    Use smart tricks to set a shining stage

    ‘When using paint, we choose richer colors or warm whites that complement later design decisions. We’ll also organize compelling flowers or greenery and provide layered lighting in the form of overhead fixtures, table lamps, and added sconces. Mirrors, stained glass, and similarly illuminated boxes can help create a sense of light exterior.

    “We are currently designing a home office for a room without natural light, and we recently designed a client’s guest room which is an interior room within a large urban loft. For both clients, we suggested using wallpaper to enter the exterior.

    “Art matters too—the right piece of art and the right lighting can go a long way toward making a windowless room feel like a sanctuary rather than a cave.”

    Designer Keren Richter used rich, warm tones to add depth and lightness to a space devoid of many windows.

    Thomas Richter

    – Keren Richter Founder of White Arrow in Brooklyn, New York

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