How To Fake Natural Lighting Without Windows

No windows? No problem. You can fake natural light like a pro.

By Ren Bishop

Mar 2018

light color palette chair
We all have that one room where the lighting is so bad, you don’t even go in it. Boost your mood and fake a bright appearance by sticking with a light color palette—from fabrics to walls.

We all crave natural light. It’s why we open our windows on sunny spring days and why we daydream about sun soaked beaches and open fields. But light-drenched spaces aren’t just a wish; they can be a reality for every room in your home, even those without walls of windows. “Light paint can be a great way to transform a space, to make it feel light and airy,” says Alison Rosebrough, owner of Seminole Decor Center. “Any room painted a light color will feel bigger, and anything light and bright, that open concept, is what people are looking for.”

Once you’ve found the right soft white, creamy tan or neutral gray color for your walls, you can change the whole feel of a room with the right flooring. Flooring featuring lighter natural colors with fewer brown and black pigments can help a room feel bigger, says Davin Lawson, president of Signature Floor Coverings in Rogersville.“Going to a hard surface makes rooms feel bigger and brighter instantly,” he says. “But picking the right stain color and design matters more than a wood type. By not putting any pigment into the wood, it stays lighter.”

To brighten a room, you can also seek out lighting options that make your spaces shine. The right lighting that mimics daylight can completely change the way you experience your home, says Ian Lloyd, lighting consultant and LED specialist at The Lighthouse Gallery. “The color of the light makes a huge difference, depending on the wall and furniture color,” Lloyd says. “You can change the airiness and highlight certain walls with recessed lighting, making any room feel more open.”

Do It Yourself

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Light, Bright and the Right Paint

Finding the right light paint color can be a challenge. But knowing the style of your home can narrow down the options, says Alison Rosebrough of Seminole Decor Center. “The younger generation loves gray, and Edgecomb Gray by Benjamin Moore is beautiful for a contemporary feel. But for more traditional homeowners, they love Winds Breath, which is a creamy tan that is light and bright.”

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Small Rooms, Small Boards

When choosing hardwood flooring for your space, the width of the board matters as much as its stain, says Davin Lawson of Signature Floor Coverings. “If you go with a wider board, a room starts to feel really shrunk down, if the room isn’t big enough to really showcase a wide board,” he says. “If a customer wants a room to feel bigger, we’ll push them toward a thinner board.”

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Set the Scene

To make a room feel light and airy any time of day, program your pendant lights, floor lamps and recessed lighting with different lighting scenes, says Ian Lloyd of The Lighthouse Gallery. “You can schedule lighting scenes based on the time of day. I have lights now that I can hit the mode ‘skylight’ on them with an app, and they’ll turn into more of a daylight temperature.”

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Take Samples Home

Before you commit to a paint or flooring option, Rosebrough and Lawson both suggest taking home sample paint and boards and looking at them throughout the day in different lighting in your home. “Underneath my lighting, a wood could be completely different than in their homes,” Lawson says. “They need to look at it underneath their light.”