The winter blues are real! They’re actually called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and, according to the Mayo Clinic, “Symptoms start in the fall and continue into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel moody.” Luckily, there’s a fix to SAD and it’s easy: light therapy.
Short winter days and bad weather tend to make your home feel much darker than normal. It’s important to adjust your lighting in the winter to replace the lack of natural sunshine. Here are eight winter lighting ideas that will brighten up your space (and your outlook):
1. Maximize Natural Daylight In Your Home
Frosted window panels block out passersby for privacy but allow in natural light. Image: Jeffers Design Group
Keep windows open to let as much light in as you can. Here are some ways you can optimize your home to reflect the most natural light possible:
If your view isn’t inspiring or you’re worried about privacy, use sheer window panels or install a DIY frosted window film.
Hang or rest a mirror on an empty wall facing the window to reflect light in the room.
Place furniture with surfaces that are reflective – like glass, mirror or metals – near windows.
If you own your home, add a skylight.
2. Create A Panel Of Light To Replicate A Sunny Window
Backlight sheer curtain panels to create a glow that replicates a sunny day. Image: Kababie Arquitectos
If there’s no chance of daylight filtering in from your window or you don’t have a window in the room, hang a lightly colored sheer curtain. Place an LED floor can (that points lighting straight up) behind the sheer curtain to create a soft, diffused glow, similar to a sunny window.
Use an LED lightbulb for safety. LEDs don’t heat up like a traditional bulb so you don’t have to worry about your sheer curtain catching fire.
3. Watch Your Wall Color Choices
Compare the white wall to the pale yellow wall in this living room. The white looks dingy, while the pale yellow looks bright. Image: Brookfield Residential
One of the most common errors homeowners make to brighten up a room is painting it white. If your room is naturally dark, the white will end up looking dull and lifeless. Choose light colors with some pop to them instead, like pale blue, butter yellow or mint green.
4. Freshen Up Your Lampshades
White light and pendant shades do a better job of diffusing light in a room. Image: Monica Hibbs
Take inventory of your lamps, chandeliers and pendants. If your shades are dingy, yellow or outdated, replace them with fresh white ones. They’ll look crisper and diffuse brighter light better.
5. Use The Right Temperature Bulbs
Warmer temperature bulbs still lighten up a space in winter, but also feel cozier when it’s cold outside. Image: Perfect Integrations
The quality of light is one of the most important things to consider about lighting your room to avoid the winter blues. Fluorescent lighting is unattractive and the flickering of the tubes gives some people headaches.
While bulbs that are sold to replicate daylight colors seem like a good idea, they may feel too cool in the winter months. Remember, winter is about warm and cozy, so go with a warmer temperature bulb.
When shopping for LED bulbs, look for the Kelvin (K) units. The lower the K-value, the warmer the quality of light. 2700K is a nice, warm color option for most homes.
6. Make Dark Corners Work For You
A corner lamp or pendant lights up the corner and surrounding wall and ceiling. Image: Decotick
Take advantage of an awkward corner by lighting it up. If you place a torch floor lamp in a corner, you can reflect the uplight onto the adjacent walls and bounce it off the ceiling.
7. Have A Variety Of Lighting Options In Each Room
This room is layered with different types of lighting to create a bright and airy feel year-round. Image: Facile Ristrutturare
You’ll want to have different lights in every room for different tasks or moods. You probably have an overhead light. Layer your existing lighting by adding:
A floor, table or reading lamp
A wall sconce or pendant light
Each type of light serves a different function and creates a mood. You may not always want to switch the bright ceiling light on so it’s nice to have a table or floor lamp available. Table and floor lamps are easy to move around so you can change a room’s lighting plan as the season changes.
With the new smart home automation available, you can program your lights remotely. Image: My Renovation Magazine
Automate your lighting to welcome you home every day by using smart home lighting plugs and timers. You can program them to go off and on according to a schedule – or even operate them remotely from your smartphone.
Coming home to a nicely lit home is uplifting, especially after trudging through the cold, cruel world outside.
Focus on using these winter lighting ideas in the rooms where you spend the most time. Start by upgrading the lighting in your living room, kitchen and bedroom and see how you feel after you make the changes.