There’s something about cold weather, shorter days, and darker nights that tend to get us feeling down throughout the colder seasons.
In fact, seasonal depression is a very real thing, so it’s important to do whatever you can to make your home a cheery, bright place no matter what the weather is like on the outside. Designer Nicole Gibbons has given us some simple and scientifically-backed ideas for making our homes a cheerful place to cozy up on a brisk, cold day.
Whether it’s stocking up on a few house plants or changing the color of your walls, her five designer tips are ones that anyone can do.
Brush on a Bright, Warm Paint Color
What color are the rooms that you hang out in most, like your living room and kitchen, for instance? Something to consider would be to paint them a neutral, yet warm color. Clare’s Timeless is an excellent example of the perfect shade for winter months.
Gibbons says, “It will bring a clean, bright feeling to your space and the cozy, almost ivory winter white look adds a soft and relaxed warmth to your home.” Timeless is true to its name; it’s a creamy white with a bit of warmer undertones that goes with anything, lasts as styles change, and makes a room feel inviting rather than sterile.
If something with a bit more color is what you’re aiming for, Gibbons has recommendations for that, as well. “I also love vibrant hues that brighten and uplift a space during a cold, dreary winter and also look great year-round. A bright, airy color like Headspace will reflect light and help open up a room.”
Introduce Live Plants
There’s nothing that makes you feel more alive than having live plants in your house. The trees outside may be brown or even completely bare, but having some leafy greenery in your home over the winter draws your attention away from them.
Studies have even shown that the presence of nature may lower blood pressure and reduce anxiety, says Gibbons. But it’s important that you start off with plants that are easy to take care of, at least to start; otherwise, you’ll just be stressed about keeping your plants alive!
Switch Out the Light Bulbs
We all need the vitamins that come from the sun to be wholly healthy and happy, so less sunlight during the winter means you’ll naturally be feeling down. To help make up for lack of sunlight, Gibbons suggests switching to LED light bulbs in your home as they give out the most light while using the least amount of energy.
Look for a soft white, though – you don’t want to make the room look sterile with too-bright lights!
Let the Light In
As far as the sunlight goes, you want to make the most of what little there is, so you’ll want to maximize any of the areas that receive natural light.
That means getting sheer curtains with pullbacks and being sure to set curtain rods or brackets a little outside the window frame so that when you have the curtains pulled back, they don’t block any of the sunlight streaming in. Then, double-check that nothing is blocking the windows, like lamps, décor, plants, or furniture.
Add Bursts of Color
People tend to decorate with darker colors during the winter, but it’s actually best to go in the opposite direction.
“Bring in fun pops of color in your throws and pillows to help brighten your space even more,” Gibbons says. Try some throw pillows or hand towels in a warm orange to add a splash of life and cheer to an area. You can also buy throw pillow covers so that you can change out the color whenever you want to!