Working in central London, where every square centimetre of space is precious, has made us experts in making the most of dark spaces. We’ve transformed numerous dark basements and sun-starved rooms into beautiful, liveable areas. We’re pleased to share key elements of advice for tackling the lightless corners of your home….

Bring in more daylight

Introducing additional daylight will always be our preferred option.  If you are ready for renovation, incorporate a new rooflight (window in the roof) or sun tunnel to access as much natural light as possible bring. Get in touch if you are thinking about this, as you may need planning permission to add new windows or change your existing ones and structural advice (and a good builder) before actually doing the work.

Other, less invasive solutions to make the most of the light that is getting in:

  • Replace solid internal doors with doors with glazed panels – this can work well in Victorian style panelled doors
  • Use a window frosting film for privacy in overlooked areas, so that you can keep the blinds/ curtains open.

A new skylight can fill your space with light – click the photo for the full project gallery

 

Use beautiful artificial lighting

If you can’t let more natural light in, you need great lighting! If your room is North facing, the natural light will be quite ‘cold’, so it is especially important to choose lighting that gives off a warm glow – choose bulbs with a K value of no more than 3000. Make sure you have good practical lighting for all the tasks you want to do, and lots of indirect light (like hidden LED strips) for a lovely wash of light down a wall or bookcase.  You can use dimmer switches and task lamps on 5 amp circuits to make it easy to alter lighting to suit your mood.

Bathroom with brass fittings and bright lighting

LED strip lighting combined with warm wall lights brightens up this bathroom in a vault

 

Direct the eye with colour

It can be tempting in a dark space to keep colours neutral, but this can draw attention to the dark. Judicious use of colour can direct the eye to the natural light in the space. We transformed a previously dark, damp basement by combining neutral walls & floor with darker kitchen units, lovely lighting, and fresh pops of colour.

From L-R: Bright details draw the eye to the glazed door / Feature pendants are both bright & beautiful / Darker kitchen units keep the neutrals light

 

Use mirrors (carefully)

Well-placed mirrors can reflect a nearby source of natural light, giving a dark room a brighter feel. Use with care though – a mirror will by definition just reflect what is there, so ensure you’re drawing attention to something interesting!

A mirror next to a beautiful light fitting can create a lovely effect – although be careful of glare: you don’t want to directly reflect an otherwise hidden lightbulb!

This well placed mirror reflects both the natural light and bright kitchen lighting

 

Embrace the dark

Sometimes the best thing to do with the dark to embrace it: Create a warm cosy rich space with dark wall colours, sumptuous fabrics and dark-dwelling plants. We’ve used dark blue-greens and deep pinks and purples recently to great effect.

With dark green walls and sumptuous orange velvet, this lounge feels cosy and rich.

 

Have you got a dark space in need of some attention? Get in touch!