You said it, CJ! AMEN!!!
My parish remodeled the confessionals some years ago when the church was remodeled. The confessionals are not dark! They are well lit and relatively spacious; a penitent can kneel or sit. And the priest is in a separate adjoining room. No windows.
I reached the age of reason in 1960 and like all the kids my age I went to confession in one of those three-part compartment confessionals. The penitent sections had no doors but heavy red curtains. During the school year we did it once a month with the kids in our class. In the summer Mom & Dad took us to confession on Saturday afternoon, usually at the end of going shopping for groceries.
It was less intimidating than face-to-face if you ask me. I can’t recall the last time I went to confession in one of those, though. Most parishes I’ve attended have opted for Reconciliation Rooms. At least in our Reconciliation Room there is an option to confess behind a screen, one I’m thankful for.