How to Use Interior Design Rules to Help Lighten Up a Dark House

I’m going to show you how to lighten up a house that’s just way too dark. There’s lots of wallpaper and window treatments and more that need to be addressed in this three-bedroom, three-bathroom house that’s almost 2,000 square feet.

But it’s possible to make it look and feel light and bright. You can take these ideas to transform your home and make it feel warm yet modern and stylish by following these interior decorating rules and trends.

Decorating a new home

Living room/dining room

This room has dual functions as a living room and a formal dining space. It's sunken and it's spacious, but we can brighten it up. So let's get some drapes down, get a new, nice light in, and maybe paint and new flooring.


Living room/dining room before 1
Living room/dining room before 2
Living room/dining room before 3
Living room/dining room before 4


Living room/dining room after 1
Living room/dining room after 2
Living room/dining room after 3

Breakfast nook

I love this space but let’s get a new, clean, bright light fixture. We’ll update the room a little bit to make it brighter.


Breakfast nook before 1
Breakfast nook before 2


Breakfast nook after 1
Breakfast nook after 2

Family room

Look at this amazing view! I'm going to create a sitting area that’s warm and cozy with a fireplace, yet at the same time, it won’t obstruct the amazing view.


Family room before 1
Family room before 2
Family room before 3


Family room after 1
Family room after 2

First bedroom

The first bedroom here down the hall can be an office. The dual function is going to add more value to this space.


First bedroom before


First bedroom after 1
First bedroom after 2

Second bedroom

Let’s make this a child’s room with a twin bed. It’s a good size room, so maybe two twin beds.


Second bedroom before


Second bedroom after 1
Second bedroom after 2

Master bathroom

This outdated bathroom could use a little help. Let’s change out the light fixture and that would really help.


Master bathroom before


Master bathroom after 1
Master bathroom after 2

Master bedroom

This room is nice and big. I recommend a king-size bed because the room is wide enough to accommodate it. We've got wallpaper throughout, which will be painted over. The mirror can stay. This light can be a recessed light. Doors can be white. Nice, lots of wallpaper.

The texture of the tile is actually pretty cool. Curtains also match. You can have a king-size bed and a dresser and accent chair here. The view must be spectacular, wow–it looks out to a cool deck and yard.


Master bedroom before


Master bedroom after 1
Master bedroom after 2
Master bedroom after 3

Interior design rules

As you can see, any house can be updated using a few simple home decor rules: brighten it up with more natural light, update it with new light fixtures, and paint, paint, paint.

I hope this has inspired you to look beyond an outdated home or even a room. So if you are looking for a new house, there are always ways to update it. Let me know in the comments about ways that you’ve updated old decor!

Join the conversation
3 of 24 comments
  • Susan Susan on May 01, 2024
    Painting the rooms white and taking down the curtains is a lot of what I see. That always makes a huge difference.
  • Jean5504 Jean5504 on May 01, 2024
    I think it looks absolutely beautiful. I’d love to live there but I do agree that I would need some kind of window treatments. Having wide open windows at night when lights are on freaks me out.
    • Kayla Kayla on Jun 13, 2024
      sheer curt curtains and block out at night would do the trick