The 5 Best Paint Colors to Brighten Low-Light Rooms, Experts Say
These shades are sure to add light to even the darkest of spaces.
Painting a room with limited natural light comes with a lot of challenges. You want to pick a color you love but that will also brighten up the space without being too glaring, distracting, or dark (which could make your room appear smaller than it actually is), advises Ashley Woodyatt, an interior design specialist and founder of Woodyatt Curtains. You'll also want a color that catches and reflects the limited light you have to amplify your room's sense of openness. To find the hues that check all these boxes, we consulted interior designers. Read on for their recommendations for the best paint colors to brighten low-light rooms.
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When trying to brighten up a low-light space, you might assume the obvious choice is a crisp white—but you'll want to think again.
"If your room doesn't get a lot of natural light, going with a stark white can make the room look sterile," cautions Alexandria Kochinsky, a lifestyle and design blogger. "On the flip side, the poor lighting could make the room look more gray than white."
White walls in low lighting can even make the room appear dirty or dusty, adds Melony Huber, interior design stylist and co-founder of ethical lifestyle collection La Peony.
Soft grays are still light and bright neutrals, but they're more forgiving in darker rooms.
Huber suggests pastel greens like mint and seafoam to brighten dark rooms while making them "feel more vibrant and lively."
"Even in a low-light room, the color sits pleasantly as a primary backdrop, and you will not struggle to pair your existing interior items with a muted pastel green," Woodyatt adds.
And Kropovinsky points out that these hues create an "open, calming environment, reminiscent of coastal landscapes."
A soft yellow hue is a great way to add warmth and brightness to a room that might not get much actual sun.
"This color effectively reflects light, giving the impression of increased natural illumination and creating a cheerful ambiance," Kropovinsky explains.
Kochinsky suggests a pale yellow reminiscent of fresh squeezed lemonade. "It's happy yet elegant. Yellow shades psychologically trick us into thinking there's more light in a room than there is. Plus, it's cheerful."
The warm earthy tones of camel shades are another great paint choice to brighten up a low-light room, as these colors can help make even a darker room feel more inviting and cozy, Huber explains.
"You'll want to opt for a blend of orange and brown colors, ideally falling under the 'burnt orange' category," Woodyatt advises. "Essentially, the more muted and earthy… adds a certain warmth and depth to the room without it feeling stuffy or detracting from other staple interior pieces in the room."
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Kropovinsky says the softness of dusty pinks "helps bounce light around the space, creating a cozy, inviting atmosphere."
The best pinks for low-light rooms, though, are those with earthier undertones. Pinks that are too dark will draw attention to the lack of natural light in your space. You also want to avoid any pinks that are categorized as "hot" as these can be "too in your face" as a primary color in a low-light room, Woodyatt adds.
Other painting tips for low-light rooms
Whichever color you decide on, it's still important to sample the paint on your wall to see how it reflects the lack of light in your room. Be sure to view it at different times throughout the day and with and without artificial light.
Experts also recommend paying attention to the finish of the paint. "A satin or eggshell sheen can optimize light reflection without yielding an excessively glossy or reflective surface," Kropovinsky explains.