• Gail Jacobson

Tips to Lighten and Brighten your Home in Winter

Winter is a wonderful time for rest and reflection, for turning inward, cleaning out closets and tackling “to-do” lists. But seasonal changes in light - reduced daylight hours, an increase of cloudy days, and the lower angle of the sun – can be challenging. Explore one or more of these “hacks” to lift your spirits and increase your productivity.

Maximize your Lighting

The following tips are guaranteed to improve both the quantity and quality of your interior lighting:

1. Add decorative light fixtures – especially in dark corners. Floor lamps and up-lights are brilliant for this purpose. Hang holiday string lights – both inside and also on a porch visible through your windows, and leave them on so they welcome you every time you arrive home! The whimsical varieties now available will make you smile AND add light to your spaces. If you have a larger budget, add recessed lighting to high-traffic spaces, like the kitchen.

2. Change out a lamp with one that has a higher maximum wattage or three-way capability. Swap warm-temperature lightbulbs for slightly cooler bulbs (but don’t go higher than a 3000 K in temperature – blue/daylight bulbs are fine for daytime but using them at night can affect sleep patterns). Add dimmers to existing switches so you can keep fixtures on in adjacent rooms, dimmed to save energy.

3. Replace a two-light ceiling fixture with a three-light model. Bump up the wattage of your exterior lighting to make your homecomings more cheerful.

Make the Most of your Windows

No matter the size of your windows, the following strategies will maximize natural light

1. Making the most of the windows we have is critical as we go into winter. Changing from solid blinds or draperies to sheerer, light filtering treatments will open up the view and bring more light into your spaces.

2. Think about furniture placement. Relocate your desk or favorite chair closer to a window. Reorient an entire furniture layout to maximize natural light.

Liven Up Your Décor

We often think white walls, light furniture and accents when we want to create a sense of space and brightness. But all-white rooms can feel cold and one-dimensional. Every room can benefit from visual contrast.

1. Add a bold accent pillow or rug. Swap out your neutral for bright, bold sheets. Hang a piece of colorful artwork. Buy a new, cheerful mug for your favorite morning drink. A brightly colored bathrobe or fun towels are a great touch!

2. Think Contrast – layer light and dark accents, add pops of color to stimulate your brain!

3. Bounce and reflect light with glass and mirrored surfaces. Adding a wall hung, free-standing, or entire wall of mirrors, or mirrored closet doors will amplify natural light.

4. Enliven a room by adding live plants that can thrive in low light.

Making one or a few of these small changes will give you a lift and help you thrive this winter. Just knowing you have a bright, welcoming space in which to work or curl up to read is half the battle!

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