Updated Mar 20, 2020

    13 Ways To Help Brighten Up Your Home When There’s No Natural Light

    Without installing a new window.

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    There are many annoying things about winter, but probably the biggest bummer is shorter days and less daylight. If you live in a home that doesn't let in a lot of natural light to begin with, it can feel like you're spending most of your time in the dark.

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    Is it 4 a.m. or 4 p.m.? Who knows?!

    Luckily, there are actually a lot of ways to brighten up your space that don't involve a ton of effort or resources:

    1. Switch your lightbulbs to ones that mimic natural daylight.

    Amazon

    You can choose lightbulbs with a CCT (correlated color temperature) of 5000K–6500K, which is closest to natural daylight (although keep in mind they will be quite bright). FYI, the lower the CCT, the warmer the light source is, so you can pick the temperature that best suits your space.

    Get a two-pack of daylight bulbs from Amazon for $10.99.

    2. Or, try smart lightbulbs that can be scheduled to turn on automatically in the morning and after sunset.

    amazon.com

    You never have to wake up or come home to a dark apartment again with these pre-programmed lightbulbs!

    Get two smart lightbulbs from Amazon for $19.99.

    3. Lay a light-colored rug in your living room because it can help reflect more light, especially if your furniture, walls, and floors are darker.

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    This is actually a picture of my apartment! Although I have a decent amount of light coming in from the kitchen, my living room actually doesn't have any windows, plus my landlord picked a patchy beige shade as the wall color (and won't let me paint over it, sigh), so I opted for an off-white rug to help brighten up the area. I used to have a dark navy rug and it made the whole space feel super heavy and essentially sucked all the light out of the room (sadly, I don't have a "before" photo for comparison, but please take my word for it). The new rug made a whole world of difference and looks great against my gray couch.

    You can also choose to paint the walls a brighter shade, but it's a lot easier (and possibly cheaper) to add a rug to achieve the same effect.

    4. Adding a few plants can instantly breathe life into a dull space. However, if you have limited windows, maybe opt for smaller plants because tall ones can block your only light source.

    The Sill

    And if you're not keen on live plants, faux plants can have a similar visual effect. Don't worry if you don't live near a good plant shop — there are many companies that can deliver live plants right to your door. I personally ordered a Bird of Paradise from The Sill and had a wonderful experience. The website will even tell you which plants would thrive in a low-light environment, such as ZZ plants, rattlesnake plants, and philodendron plants.

    5. If your windows don't let in a lot of sunlight, you can place your plant buddies under a grow light that would double as another light source.

    amazon.com

    Grow lights are a great way to supplement the natural light your plants get, especially if your room gets very little sun exposure. Some plants thrive under artificial lights more than others, such as the African violet. In contrast, cacti and succulents are not as suitable for growth under artificial light because most varieties need an abundance of natural sunlight. However, if you love succulents and wish to grow them in a dark apartment, place them close to a grow light and keep the light on for long periods of time. Learn more about growing plants indoors using artificial lights!

    Get this LED grow light from Amazon for $39.99.

    6. Decorate a dark wall with artwork to make it appear brighter and more visually interesting.

    Katarzynabialasiewicz / Getty Images

    If your walls can't support heavy frames, try a colorful tapestry. It's lightweight and can cover a large area.

    7. Switch from heavy curtains to sheer ones that would let in light during all hours of the day.

    amazon.com

    You can also layer sheer curtains behind blackout curtains so you have both options. The curtains don't have to be white — you can choose any color!

    Get these curtains from Amazon for $17.99.

    8. And hang up fairy lights behind those sheer curtains or on your walls. They'll give off a pleasant glow and make any room feel incredibly cozy.

    amazon.com, amazon.com

    It might be dark outside, but you won't even notice.

    Get these string lights from Amazon for $17.99.

    9. Or, ditch curtains altogether and apply a privacy film on your windows, if you live on the ground floor or directly face another building. It'll prevent nosy neighbors from peeking in without blocking out sunshine.

    amazon.com

    Get this rainbow effect film from Amazon for $11.98+.

    10. Place mirrors in strategic areas (like across a window, on a mantelpiece, or next to an entryway) to reflect light into your room.

    Scott Van Dyke / Getty Images

    You can also use mirrors as wall art, especially ones that come in interesting frames. Furniture with mirrored surfaces also have the same brightening effect.

    11. Install lighting under cabinets, along stairs, and in windowless rooms to illuminate dingy corners — this can actually make a huge difference if your overhead lighting is too dim.

    amazon.com, amazon.com

    You can use stick-on LED strips that are super easy to install on your own — no electrician needed!

    Get these from Amazon for $23.99.

    12. Choose an uplight lamp to light up the entire ceiling as opposed to just one small area. If you don't have built-in overhead lights, arc lamps are also a great way to bring light to the middle of the room.

    amazon.com, amazon.com

    It's also helpful to choose lighter lampshades that'll diffuse instead of blocking the light.

    Get them from Amazon: the arc lamp for $99.99 and the uplight lamp for $64.99

    13. Hang up a fake LED window in a windowless room (like the basement) to create the illusion of natural light.

    DayLiteWindows / Etsy

    Get a ready-made LED window from Etsy for $298 or learn how to DIY a fake window of any size!

    Now your room will feel less gloomy!

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