The obvious answer is turn some lights on, but that’s not what I’m going for in this post.
If you are in rented accommodation it does limit your options somewhat but use mirrors as much as you can. I have a huge mirror on the chimney breast, it has retro advertising on it and I think it looks cool but it also bounces more light in to the room.
Mirrors at the top of stairs are also great, especially if you hang it angled downward as it can bounce extra light down your stairs.
Curtains! You’ll want to close these of an evening, but avoid deep dark fabrics if you can. If you dislike pale colours go for a bold design, such as wide horizontal bands of colour that match your room but broken up by white stripes. Chintzy patterns can make a room seem smaller and it’s generally best to avoid these.
If you’re landlord doesn’t mind you decorating, or if it’s your own house grab the paint.
This door was a yellowish white in a matt finish. Today it’s being painted pure white in a gloss finish. This will be easier to keep clean, and again it bounces light better.
I loathe magnolia paint, and I won’t suggest painting everything that colour but it is good to paint the room in two halves. Whether that be by using a dado rail, painting boldly below and pale at the top. Or maybe painting two walls cream, and two in the colour you like.
Building work. Yes, I did just write that. Our kitchen was tiny, and had a small hall next to it. Neither room was big enough, so I took the wall out. We knew it was non-supporting as our neighbour, with building experience, assured us it was safe. I figured one decent sized room trumped two pokey, small rooms.
This did the job. My kitchen is big enough, and the dark hallway is no more. The downstairs of my home is now just a living room and a kitchen. The hallway had no window so was darker than other rooms, even in daylight. I just want to say, never do work yourself unless you know what you are doing, and ask for professional advice first.
If you want to take it slightly more extreme, put in more glass. This could be by adding lovely glass blocks in to internal walls or whole windows or outside walls. You could swap solid wooden doors for the kind that have glass panels at the top to let light flow around your home more easily.
Or better still, change the exterior doors, to bi folding patio doors if you have a large wall in to your garden. These are great, and they get used on TV style programmes a lot that I’ve seen. The great bit being you could fold the whole door away and have your living room blend in to your garden in the warmer months. Al Fresco dining sounds good to me.