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Style Surgery: How to dress dark rooms

In a new 'Style Surgery' series we will be sharing our tips on how to improve those awkward spaces or features of your home to maximise their sale-ability, from narrow halls to this week's topic: dark rooms.

Interiors trends have turned to the dark side in 2019, whether it’s midnight blue walls in a cosy snug or racing green units in a country kitchen – heritage shades are huge right now for cosy homes. Yet when it comes to selling a house, ‘dark rooms’ are less of a style statement and more of a sticking point. If you have a north-facing room, or period home with small windows, here are our top tips that we share with all vendors to make the most of those dark spaces and add colour and light:

2.-Fireplace.jpg#asset:3367Pic credit: Humphrey Munson


Lighting is key – think about ‘layering’ your lighting, or using it to highlight features, such as alcoves, paintings or bookcases. Spotlights are great for flooding dark spaces with light – Brightbox Lighting in Cheltenham are absolute specialists when it comes to designing lighting schemes.

Table lamps are a great way to light up cosy corners and can also be used to add a pop of colour, with gorgeous shades from the likes of Punica and Molly Mahon for jewel-coloured ikat and hand-block printed styles. Pooky lighting in Chelsea do some beautiful marbled paper shades too, perfect for libraries and studies.


Pic credit: Pooky


If you’re faced with a dark space, think about the size and proportions of the room when you choose your furniture. Look for lighter woods like oak and ash and ensure there’s plenty of floor space so the room doesn’t feel too cluttered. Try Loaf for beautiful pastel linens, or Sofas and Stuff in Stroud for bespoke, British sofas in a range of fabrics, from bright velvets to smart cotton stripes.

Finishing touches Cushions and rugs are also great for brightening up dark rooms, Tate and Darby are great for natural jute rugs with a shot of colour. It you’re looking for classic cushions in a range of bright and neutral weaves, yet with an eco focus, Weaver Green’s cushions have the look and feel of wool, yet are made from 100% recycled bottles.


Pic credit: Weaver Green


A classic tip employed by expert interior designers is to use mirrors to maximise natural light and reflect it around a dark space. Dominic Schuster is an antique and gilded glass specialist in Surrey, who can create foxed glass effects on a range of mirrors to give a vintage feel.


Pic credit: Dominic Schuster

Position your mirrors in a way that they bounce natural light from windows around the room to maximum effect.

Window dressings

Don’t crowd windows (and make sure they’re super clean! It’s amazing the difference in light!) – keep curtains off the windows themselves with tie-backs and opt for lighter fabrics.


Professional, well-light photography is key when preparing your house for sale. While we never doctor the lighting on our properties' pictures, we ensure we shoot on a bright day with an experienced photographer and light the room to its best advantage.

Finally, turn a ‘dark space’ into a positive – make it a cosy snug with a fireplace, or a quiet library room, lined with bookshelves – it’s all in the styling!

Pic credit: Main image Humphrey Munson Interiors @paullmcraig

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