you said: “This bedroom has no windows. Help!”


Shelterrific reader Ivy wrote us an email the other day: “My good buddy Jodi is moving into a new place next month, and her bedroom is downright windowless. Not even a skylight. Any ideas for making the room feel more airy and less boxy? Barring a mirror-fest, we’re low on ideas.”

Well, Ivy, if there’s one thing we have it’s plenty of ideas. We tossed this dilemna around a bit and came up with a few suggestions. First off, here’s an old trick that Megan and Bunny learned during their stints at MSL: paint the ceiling a lighter hue than the rest of the walls and start a foot from the top (you need a level to get the straight lines around the perimeter), so it’s more like a “cap.”

That will work if you’re looking for a traditional fix. But Megan had another suggestion: Why not create a trompe l’oeil window? You could either paint a faux window scene, or you could literally take a real window and hang it up, line it with flower boxes, wall-paper a sky scene behind it, maybe even illuminate it from behind to fake sun. We did a quick seplace online and found that this idea is not that uncommon. Check out the the Faux Window with Petunias above from, which just cracks us up. Or visit The sky Factory for illuminated variations.

Another suggestion is to put a wallpaper mural on one wall. Bamboo forest prints like the one can look very modern and work well with naturally stained furniture. The alternative would be to go in the other direction: Why fight the windowless room? Most of the time spent in a bedroom is while you’re sleeping. Your friend could embrace the coziness by painting the walls a dark color or wallpapering three of them. Does anyone else have any suggestions for Ivy and Jodi? Please let us know!

From our partners

according to federal law, bedrooms must have a window or other exit for reasons of fire safety. I would not use a windowless room as a bedroom, and a landlord/realtor should not have advertised this room as a “bedroom.”

Angela M.

Well… In NYC I suspect there is a different “anything goes” law: bedrooms in living rooms, bedrooms in kitchens, bedrooms in loft spaces…. I think recently I saw a story where some enterprising people “rented” out the space above a door in room as a bedroom. Crazy!

megan k.

is there a federal law about offices? my computer and i occupied a window-less supply closet at one time…

I’ve seen something clever done with a boxed in windowframe installed with daylight simulation lighting hidden behind it and frosted glass. No idea where though – maybe the room set in an Ikea?. Sorry, but I’m sure you can picture the general idea.


My first suggestion is find another place to live. I can tolerate a small bedroom but a windowless one would seem like a prison.

Other than that, how about purchasing a light box? I’m talking about the kind of light box that’s used in trade shows and department stores. You’ll need to find your transparency to put in it. But you can have any photograph turned into a transparency. See here

You could change the view by changing the transparency. This sort of thing could work with a really modern bedroom. The thing is, anything with light is going up the temperature in your windowless room.

The other option is to treat the room like you would a nightclub. Dim lights, cozy color. Have things lit from below and use a lot of mirrored surfaces.


I love that bamboo mural, but does anyone have direct experience with these in particular? The directions involve overlapping the panels somewhat, because they’ll shrink as they dry. You also trim extra off at the end. We’re not talking a wallpaper pattern here, where you can trim to get it to line up along the edges — you’ve got your 8 discrete pieces and that’s it. It totally seems to me like bits of the picture will get lost at each overlap point. Won’t that look really bad?

This is a cute little window, basically a light with a windowframe. It might be a bit plain, but I’d imagine it would be mellow and relaxing. Check out a review here


windowless bedrooms are usually illegal and are fire traps. make sure there’s SMOKE ALARMS:

-top of stairs and between room and nearest exit
-outside & inside the bedroom

They should have a light on them to help escape, and a silence button. one with a 10-year battery built-in only costs like $25. lives are important!