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Brightening your spaces for the winter months

30 October 2020

Dreading a case of the winter blues? Contrary to popular perception, it is a real thing. The correct term is Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and symptoms include feelings of depression and fatigue. While most people do not have extreme symptoms, we all feel a bit off during the long, cold nights. Short of moving to a warmer location, how can you combat the upcoming winter blues?

Maximize light

The short answer? Maximize light, every way you can. But if you want a bit more guidance on brightening up your home for the winter, read on.

Switch to a lighter color palette

Yes, dark colors are in right now but if your goal is to make the rooms feel brighter is to go with light colors. White is a favorite but it does have to be the right shade. You can also opt for warm colors like browns or cozy greens. An off white floor or ceiling can also reflect more light, making the room feel bright.

What if a paint job is out of the question? You can still use lighter shades elsewhere like the floor or fabrics. Cover your couches with a slipcover in ivory or beige. Replace dark area rugs with light yellows or greens. 

Don’t forget windows and mirrors

Mirrors are often overlooked but they can work wonders, especially if you can put them opposite a large window. Easily double the amount of sunlight in the room with this simple trick. Don’t go overboard though, you don’t want too many mirrors causing glare!

It might be tempting to have thick drapes to keep the cold out but what you need is light-colored drapes. Keep them open during the day to let in the sunlight and close them at night. Another nifty trick to let in more light is to remove the window screens. You’re not opening the windows anyway and you’d be surprised at how much more sunlight gets into the room.

Focus on light materials

By this, we don’t just mean light colors. Wood can be warm and inviting but heavy furniture will also make a room feel gloomy. Swap out heavy wooden end tables with lighter glass or metallic ones. These materials not only appear light but also reflect it much better instead of absorbing light. Don’t use these materials for furniture that you touch regularly though, they will definitely get colder than wooden pieces.

Swap out your lightbulbs

You definitely use your light bulbs more in winter but did you know the color temperature of bulbs can also make a difference? Simply swapping out an existing light fixture for one that uses more bulbs can brighten up any room. You can also switch to energy-efficient LED smart bulbs that can switch from a cool white during the day to a warmer white at night.

Use layered lighting throughout the home. You need to find a good balance between overhead lights, wall and table/floor lamps along with decorative lighting. Get creative – it can be anything from candles to a string of twinkling lights in a glass jar.

Go bold

In winter you want the opposite of dark and heavy. But bold splashes of color also serve to make rooms brighter. Bold artwork with vibrant colors, fresh flowers in deep reds or purples, and accessories like throws and pillows in vivid shades are perfect. For example, bright red pillows on a pale ivory couch will highlight the light shades even more.

Use scents

You may not think it but scents also play a prominent role in how a room feels. Citrusy and similar light scents will instantly lift your spirits when you step into the room. Options for introducing such scents include candles, aroma diffusers, and natural plants. Potted citrus trees in a sunlit window sill can do wonders, as can a candle with light flowery scents. 

Update the backsplash

Another quick and easy way to brighten up a kitchen or bathroom (where the scope fr change is typically much less) is to swap out the backsplash. A clean subway tile effect or even metallic/glass backsplash can easily brighten even the smallest spaces.

Clean and de-clutter

This is not a decor tip but works nonetheless. A deep clean of your windows, carpets, couches, and drapes will work wonders for the entire house. Also, take the time to de-clutter as many rooms as you can. You will be surprised at how many things you have lying around that don’t need to be. Put them away in closets or store them in attractive fabric bins. Clutter and dirt will make a room feel dingy and cold, so a quick clean and de-clutter is a must before winter truly sets in!

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