“I love my new home, but one of the rooms always seems a bit dingy. How can I make it feel lighter?”

Small windows, low ceilings, awkward angles – all of these can conspire to make a room feel darker than you would like. But choosing the right paint colours can have an instant positive effect on a room’s brightness.

Interior designer Henriette von Stockhausen of VSP Interiors shows you how to use colour to lighten up even the dingiest of spaces.

Cooler paint colours help walls to recede, making the room feel more spacious and light. Go for pale shades of grey, blue and green for maximum lightening effect.

1) Keep things cool

Cooler paint colours help walls to recede, making the room feel more spacious and light. Go for pale shades of grey and blue for maximum lightening effect.

Which paints? Morning Jewel 5 or Atlantic Surf

A sunny hue can brighten and warm a dark, dingy space: don't be afraid to use light terracotta or yellow paint colours

2) Inject a bit of sunshine

If it’s warmth you’re after, don't be afraid to use light terracotta or yellow paint colours – a sunny hue can brighten and warm a dark, dingy space. Just be careful not to clutter the room with brown furniture so the scheme doesn’t become overpowering.

Which paints? Pharaoh's Gold 3 or Candy Love 6.

Avoid any dark colour on the ceiling - white is always a safe choice, but you could also go for other pale paint colours

3)Paint your ceilings pale

The aim is to make the room appear larger and lighter, so avoid any dark colour on the ceiling. White is always a safe choice, but you could also go for pale tones of other paint colours, from greens to golds.

Which paints? Tuscan Glade 6 or Maraschino Mocha 6.

Opting for a paint with a glossy finish is a great way to reflect light back into the space - plaster pink paint colours work particularly well

4) Reflect the light you have

In dark rooms you have to make the most of the little light you get. Opting for a paint with a glossy finish is a great way to reflect light back into the space, making it feel brighter. Plaster pink paint colours work particularly well for this.

Which paints? Amethyst Showers 6 or Dulux Violet Verona 5.

Paint architraves, skirting boards and any other mouldings in light, reflective paint colours, perhaps in a subtly contrasting tone to the colour on the walls.

5)Don’t forget the detail

Paint architraves, skirting boards and any other mouldings in light, reflective paint colours, perhaps in a subtly contrasting tone to the colour on the walls. This will give some structure to the room without detracting from its brightness.

Which paints? Heather Bloom 6 or Luna Landscape 5.

Top tip

For maximum effect, choose a paint from the Dulux Light & Space range, which reflects light back into the room to make it feel even airier.

Shed some light on stubborn dark corners with a combination of light-painted or mirrored furniture and carefully placed lamps.