I'm trying to think of a verb to describe lights gently turning on. I feel that "brighten" is too generic, but I haven't been able to come up with a good word.
Have you ever been in a dark room and then someone turns on the lights and the immediate change in lighting hurts your eyes? That's a glaring type of "brighten."
On the other hand, have you ever been in a dark room and then someone turns on the lights but they slowly glow brighter so that it doesn't hurt your eyes? That's a weaker type of "brighten" and I'm trying to find a verb for that. I'm hoping for a stronger phrase than "slowly glowed brighter."
Imagine you are at a moderate dance in the evening (age group is around 20). The lights are currently very dim during the dance. Then the last song, which has a sleepy and nostalgic feel, ends and the lights brighten again. The type of "brighten" I'm thinking of is soft, smooth, relaxing, and like the changing levels of light during a sunrise sped up to, say, 10 seconds.
The sentence to complete is just
"... the lights [brightened]."
The closest question I've been able to find is Is there an antonym for "dim"/ synonym for "lighten?" but the word choices offered were more appropriate for descriptions relative to a bright room rather than descriptions relative to a dark room.
Would anyone be able to help me? I'm also happy to accept a strong phrase, metaphor, or simile, but I found saying something such as "the lights brightened like a sunrise sped up to 10 seconds" to sound erratic. Thanks for your time!