Design Dilemma: Coping with a Windowless Room | Home Design Find

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Design Dilemma: Coping with a Windowless Room

industrial basement how to tips advice

If there’s one thing that is almost universally desired when it comes to interiors, it’s natural light. Buoyant, life-affirming, natural light is a mood booster and does a world of good for interiors as well. Any room is going to look larger and feel airier with loads of light streaming in. Alas, not all of us are lucky enough to have rooms with much light. In fact, some of us, living perhaps in basements or converted apartments, may not have windows at all!

If that’s the case, not only are we missing out on light, but also the interest that a beautiful natural view can provide indoors. Are you stuck in a windowless room? Below are a few clever ways to provide the feeling of a window and some light, even so.

1) Add hidden sources of light.

Creating light sources that can’t be seen — a floor lamp tucked behind a couch, or upward lights placed behind a beam — can help provide a room with an indirect glow that can mimic the sort of indirect glow rooms get from windows.

Below, a windowless bathroom makes excellent use of this approach:

contemporary bathroom how to tips advice

And here, an entertainment room area has no window. But hidden lights casting light upwards over the seating area create just that natural sort of glow that a window might otherwise provide.

traditional living room how to tips advice

2) Consider recessed lights with a dimmer switch.

 Similar to the effect above, carefully placed recessed lights can provide a room with a soft glow that is unobstrusive and that really helps open up dark and dim spaces.  The key is to make sure your lights have dimmers so that they need not be blasting at full power  all the time. Full power light will destroy that soft natural glow.

traditional basement how to tips advice

They can be particularly effective when combined with uplights, as you see here:

traditional living room how to tips advice

3. Add your own window.

Just because a room doesn’t have a window doesn’t mean it has to stay that way. Add a transom window over a door, which will allow you to steal a little light and air from any adjacent room receiving light and air. In the bathroom below, the owners also installed frosted glass in the door to steal a little more light from the hallway.

traditional bathroom how to tips advice

And this bedroom below steals light from an adjacent sunny window by creating a huge high “window”.

contemporary bedroom how to tips advice

And below, this basement gym receives a little light, air and interest from two windows and a paned door which help brighten things up considerably:

traditional home gym how to tips advice

4. Add under cabinet lighting.

It’s a great way to provide that indirect light source that immediately brighten up a room, adding light and depth to dark corners. The dark kitchen below gets a big benefit out of under cabinet lights.

modern kitchen how to tips advice

5. Add pops of color with a good dose of white.

Windowless rooms have a way of feeling quite depressing. Counteract this effect by brightening up things with bright accent walls that are complemented by pale colors. The basement kitchen below receives a huge dose of cheeriness from the electric orange cabinetry and the distressed baby blue door. The bright white of the walls helps to cast light about the room.

contemporary kitchen how to tips advice

The distressed blue door actually hides the refrigerator!

contemporary kitchen how to tips advice

6. Add art.
Large pieces of art can help stand in for a window, providing a room with both color and interest. The same Toronto basement above makes good use of this principle.

contemporary bedroom how to tips advice

And another view from the same apartment:

contemporary dining room how to tips advice

And some other cheap tricks for windowless rooms?

  • Add a large mirror, which will help bounce light around a room and provide a point of interest.
  • Consider adding drapes over walls to mimic the effect of drawn curtains.
  • Add french doors
  • Keep your walls white and bright.


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