The Best Paint Colors for Low-Light Rooms

Choosing the best paint color for a room is tricky enough, requiring at the very least putting paint swatches up on the walls for a few days to make certain you know what the color looks like in every light before committing. But when a space lacks natural light, when it travels from dim to dimmer to dark as the day progresses, choosing a paint color becomes even more challenging. Colors that are too muted or too cool can make sun-deprived interiors feel uninviting. Instead, play up the light from lamps and overhead fixtures with lighter, warmer shades to visually expand dark spaces and create a welcoming atmosphere for you and your guests. Flip through for 9 eye-catching hues that can rescue any dark corner in your home.

  1. Lavender


    Sherwin Williams

    The versatile appeal of lavender is especially welcome in low-light rooms. It has a wide range of shades that work well, from barely-there tints to dusky violet hues. For a more grown-up interpretation, pair lavender with gray, black, and white; when coordinated with bold purples and blues, it turns playful.

  2. Pale Yellow


    Bullis Photography

    What better way to mimic natural light in a room than with sunny yellow walls? Light, buttery hues reflect artificial light luminously without the risk of overpowering the space, as a bolder shade might. Enhance the classic look of yellow interiors with white woodwork and warm wood tones.

  3. Chocolate Brown


    Interior design by Maria Killam

    While most dark paints make a low-light room feel smaller and more confining, chocolate is a warm, inviting shade that makes a space cozy. Balance this strong color with light accents, such as white woodwork, pale carpeting, or patterned fabrics, to keep the look from feeling too heavy.

  4. Powder Blue


    Interior design by Melissa Lenox Design

    This timeless blue can brighten even the darkest corner of the home. It's well-suited to traditional interiors when paired with crisp white details, dark wood furnishings, and deep red tones in upholstery. It can also skew retro by adding cherry red or lime green to the mix.

  5. Warm Orange


    Interior design by Terrat Elms Interior Design

    Apricot, pumpkin, tangerine—all these shades of orange can transform an interior with few sources of light into a gathering place that exudes warmth. Chalk it up to orange's ability to glow radiantly when lit by lamps, candlelight, or even sunlight from a small window.

  6. Gray


    Interior design by Jane Lockhart Interior Design

    Elegant gray has become the new neutral in interior design. One big reason for its popularity is that it works equally well in both sun-bathed and sun-deprived spaces. For dimly lit spaces, choose a lighter shade for the walls and incorporate bright accents into the room through woodwork, fabrics, and accessories.

  7. Ocher


    Interior design by Barnes Vanze Architects, Inc.; photographed by Anice Hoachlander from Hoachlander Davis Photography, LLC

    Whether you choose an ocher reminiscent of a wheat field or one closer to gold, this color works wonders for dim rooms. It's most often used in more traditional settings, highlighted by white mantels, molding, and trim. Shine the woodwork with a semi- or high-gloss paint to add a bit of dazzle.

  8. Pink


    Zillow Digs home in Larchmont, NY

    Cheerful pink is a natural choice for rooms where sunlight is limited. The shade you're drawn to dictates how and where best to use it. Pale rose and seashell can brighten all four walls, but bolder hues like watermelon and fuchsia can overwhelm a dimly lit space—save those for an accent wall.

  9. Lime Green


    Zillow Digs home in Seattle, WA

    Lime green energizes interiors both large and small—perfect for a poorly lit room. Many homeowners use it on an accent wall, but feel free to coat all four if the look suits you. This bright hue works to cheer up either traditional settings like bedrooms and baths or an out-of-the-way spot like a laundry room.

  10. For More...

  11. See the House of the Week


    Discover and admire beautiful and innovative home architecture, from grand Victorians to quaint cabins and all the styles in between. Take a look at the latest images and inspiration!