One of the easiest ways to enhance a room’s ambience is by adding some sunshine. That is why we love windows and natural light here on homify. They don’t just add natural glamour to a space, they also present health benefits.
However, it does sometimes occur that a window is not an option for a room (such as with a new addition, a basement, a garage attachment, an attic, or the occasional bathroom). This will meant that particular room will lack natural light; however, it does not (have to) mean that it will be without style or visual space.
Although the natural light will be missed, that windowless room can be remedied in a number of ways. Let’s see some bright ideas on how to add light (and style) to that windowless room.
White (or a very light hue of another colour) walls help simulate the fresh, full-spectrum sparkle of natural sunlight, while also subtly reflecting light from every source for a bright look. Choosing one colour for the walls and ceiling also helps to take out the edges; therefore, encroaching walls do not become the focal point, but rather one seamless surface.
Select a single shade of your desired tone (light blue works very well) for the walls and ceiling to blur the edges and shed more light on the area. Texture also plays a big role, so opt for satin, semi-gloss, or high-gloss paint.
homify hint: Create the effect of a window without picking up a sledgehammer. A full wall of drapery creates a striking backdrop (to a bed, for example) and implies a sense of depth beyond, even if you never pull back that curtain.
Good lighting really is an art form. Use a combination of direct and indirect sources. Drop a pendant light or chandelier in the room’s centre, then pair it with table lamps around the space. Picking lamps with white shades and metallic bases will really make that light bounce around.
homify hint: Placing a few lights where they can’t be seen helps to give the room a sense of an indirect glow, which mimics sunshine streaming in through a nearby window. Hide some lights between ceiling beams, behind furniture (like a sofa), or tuck them next to a bookcase to make the light source a bit mysterious.
Just as your lightly toned ceiling and walls will evoke a sense of space, so will the floors. Interior decorators all agree that light colours convey an open feeling, while dark colours can make an area seem smaller.
But don’t think that light colours are limited to off-white or light beige. Shades of warm neutrals, soft yellows, yellow-greens and pale peach can help to keep those windowless spaces warm, bright and spacious. A lot of professionals also recommend using small quantities of accent colours to avoid an overly busy look.
Small-scale or subdued fabric patterns add interest to a space without distraction one’s vision, so remember that the next time you spot a uniquely-patterned rug in the store.
Furniture in light hues will create an airy feel in that windowless room. But be sure to keep the furnishings simple and to a minimum. You want to see as much open area as possible. Opting for multi-purpose furniture will ensure you have more legroom (as well as more storage- and seating options), and won’t take up too much space.
Remember that simple lines and patterns also keep furniture from making a room seem (and feel) crowded, as do proportions that highlight the space around them. For example: a loveseat and a pair of wooden side-chairs offer up more visual space than a full-blown couch with matching armchair, yet provide the same amount of seating.
Yes, a green plant is not a substitute for a window, but plants do inject a bit of the natural environment into a windowless room. Plus, their benefits extend beyond their aesthetic qualities.
Although plants need photosynthesis to live (and, therefore, light), there are a few species that tolerate low-light conditions and can grow in a windowless room. Some suggestions are: Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema), Cast Iron Plant (Apidistra elatior), Aechmea Bromeliads, Dragon Tree (Dracaena marginata), or a Christmas Cactus (Zygocactus)—which needs a bit of darkness in order to bloom!
Our advice is to choose one or two plants from our list, or get a small-size version first to see how it fares. If it seems too unhappy, you can always buy a grow-light to perk it up.
homify hint: Create your own landscape by painting a wall mural. Opt for a garden, beach scene, spacious landscape, or whatever else you deem fancy. Wallpaper depicting scenery can also be used as a faux window.
Glossy, light-reflecting surfaces are a great way to help create the feeling of open space. Mirrors, especially when used to reflect light, are numerous decorators’ go-to trick for creating the illusion of space.
Adding a large mirror to a wall simulates the effect of a window, not just for bouncing some light, but also for adding a sense of depth that breaks up claustrophobic walls. If your windowless room has a low ceiling, use as large a mirror as possible that reaches close to the ceiling (but not all the way up – let it stop 10 – 15 cm below it) to distract from the ceiling line.
homify hint: Glass and metal accessories also provide additional reflective surfaces, so see where you can incorporate these into your furniture and decor.
Less is definitely more when you want to convey a sense of spaciousness. A single detailed piece, like a chandelier, picture frame or sculpture, can serve as the room’s focal point without adding clutter.
And similar to a mirror, a large art piece (especially one in a white or metallic frame with a lot of white background) breaks up walls the same way a window does. It also brings in a snap of lightness for those who don’t wish to rely on pure white for their floor-to-ceiling colour.
Time to think big! See our homify-approved tips for when you want to: Live large in a smaller space.