How to Decorate Your Way Through Winter's Darkness - 3 Tips to Brighten Your Days

Don’t let the post-holiday slump and the winter weather get you down. “Many folks experience what we refer to as the ‘winter blues,’ said Geri-Lynn Utter, a licensed psychologist. “Sunshine hours are shorter and the weather can make us feel ‘blah’ — irritable, unmotivated, fatigued, down and craving carbohydrates.”

Around 4% to 6% of Americans suffer from a condition referred to as Major Depressive Disorder with seasonal pattern [formerly called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)], according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. “If you notice that you are feeling depressed during winter months or any time of year, don’t ever feel embarrassed or ashamed to reach out for help from a licensed mental health professional,” said Utter.

“It is also important to note that you do not have to wait until your mental health concerns have become unmanageable or severe before you seek out help,” she continued. “Taking care of your mental health is just as important as taking care of your physical health. You wouldn’t let a broken bone or decayed tooth go without proper medical attention, so don’t feel like you have to ‘tough it out’ or ‘suffer through’ your feelings and emotions everyday.”

winter blues, winter scene

Winter blues don't have to bring you down. Photo credit: Pexels.

Brighten Up Your Home Decor 

One way to brighten up your mood is to illuminate your home. “Be sure to keep as much light into the room as possible,” said Dipal Shah, a mindset expert from Ananda 4 Life, who recommended keeping your living space well lit. It “is going to make a tremendous difference in your symptoms,” she offered. “Open all the curtains and blinds to let in the light and replicate a bit of summer sun.”

window treatments that bring light

Sheer blinds and soft colors help bring in the light while still offering privacy.
Photo credit (top/bottom): Thomas Sanderson.

light blinds

Creating the right window treatment can accentuate your natural light, agreed Richard Petrie, home expert at Thomas Sanderson, who recommended opting for voile or sheer blinds, which provide privacy but allow light to flow through.

He also suggested using mirrors, which can reflect light around the room especially when placed near a window or glass door. You should also stay away from dark walls and statement wallpaper, which can “make a room feel much smaller and darker.” Instead, light-colored wallpaper and paints are the way to go, making the most of the light you do have.  Try using “soft whites and lighter colors, which will help light bounce around the room, but remember to stay away from harsh whites as they can often make a room feel clinical and cold whereas off-whites will create a much warmer effect,” recommended Petrie.

white-colored room brings in light

Soft whites will help light bounce around your room. Photo credit: Thomas Sanderson.

Bring on the Light Therapy

One way to lighten your mood is by adding lamps to your home — especially special light ones designed to mimic natural sunlight. “These lamps are pretty affordable and recommended for use in 10-minute increments for a total of 60-minutes throughout the day,” said Utter. “They are typically small and compact making it easy to fit on your desk or the floor nearby.” Shah suggested sitting in front of a light therapy lamp for 30 minutes each morning, which she said has been proven to help those suffering from the condition.

Adding more lamps, in general, can also help up the illumination ante, too. Floor lamps can imitate daylight, according to Shannon Serpette, chief editor of The Design Home. “The taller the lamps, the better,” she said. “It will feel like sunlight is surrounding you.”

Even rearranging your furniture a bit can help. Serpette suggested moving your desk (especially if you are a remote worker) to the biggest window you have. “You’ll make the most of those daylight hours,” she offered.

optimize lamps to bring light into your room

Besides using lighter colors, lamps help illuminate your room. Photo credit: Thomas Sanderson.

Winter Self-Care Ideas

Self-care is important all times of the year, but especially during those winter months when so much physical darkness surrounds us. Utter recommends, taking a regular 30-minute or so walk — even in the cold. “Moderate exercise will give you a little pep in your mood and exposure to whatever ultraviolet rays are outside,” said Utter. “If you are unable to leave your home, no worries, stream a 15-30 minute workout video on your phone, television or tablet. Trust me, you may be dreading it while you are doing it, but the residual effects will be worth it.”

Meditation, which boosts concentration, calms anxiety and amplifies happiness hormones, helps, too, added Shah. Treating this condition is absolutely crucial. “As with all forms of depression, it deeply limits one's ability to enjoy life to the fullest,” she said.

light colored bedroom

Design your room around a light source. Photo credit: Thomas Sanderson.

Featured photo by: Thomas Sanderson 

Design tip: An easy way to brighten up your windows is with custom treatments. That way you can redecorate in any style you like. Fabrics & Home can create any look you like with our custom window treatment designs.

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