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light bright  
how to brighten up a dark room
by Yee-Fan Sun
1 2 3

When it came time to finally move from Tucson a couple of years ago, I thought that after six years of near-constant blue-sky days, I'd had my fill of sunshine. Having grown up in New England, I've always been of the belief that the occasional dark spell of weather is good for the soul -- it makes you hardy, and provides a dandy excuse to nestle under a blanket and laze the afternoon away with a good book too. But after just a couple of weeks in rainy gray Scotland, I soon realized: nope, sunlight -- still good. Sadly, trudging to countless apartment viewings, we found ourselves faced with one dark, dismal space after another. When we finally found our top-floor, sky-lit pad, we knew how lucky we were. Good natural light, it seems, is a rare, rare feature for those of us stuck in rental hell.

Still, even in our current digs, which features a sunny-bright main living area, the bedroom suffers from a severe lack of light. Fortunately, with a few tiny changes, we've managed to make the room feel less like a depressing cave, and a lot more inviting. In the absence of good light, we've had to fake things a bit. It's not the gorgeous sunny room of my dreams, but it's a big step up from when we first moved in.

Looking to brighten up your own dismally dark room? Here are a few tips on how…

1 Let there be lamps. Don't be content with just the single overhead light fixture hanging in the middle of the ceiling. One source of lighting is never sufficient for a whole room. Chances are high that this single fixture doesn't produce all that much light, or only illuminates the parts of the room where you need it least. Having a mixture of floor lamps, ceiling fixtures and table lamps will make it easier to get as much light as possible, and more importantly, exactly where you need it. As you're thinking about adding supplementary lighting, too, placement is key: introduce additional lights in those neglected corners of the room, and at a variety of different heights.

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