If you struggle with seasonal depression, these simple indoor winter decorating ideas can lighten your home and mood.
By Katie Holdefehr | Updated October 13, 2021
As the days get shorter and our homes get darker, it's easy for the dim light and cold weather to put a damper on our moods. If you're determined to beat the fall and winter blues this year, there are some scientifically-backed methods to try, and you can also adjust your home decor to make your space a cheery oasis.
While there are only so many days you can spend snuggled up on the sofa before you start wishing for springtime, these easy decor tricks will make your home a lighter, brighter, and cozier retreat this winter. According to designer Nicole Gibbons, all it takes is a fresh coat of paint, some carefully chosen window treatments, and a few live plants. Even a simple swap like changing the light bulbs in a room can make your space feel cheerier. Here are five designer-approved ways to design a home that will help you fight the fall and winter blues.
1 Brush on a Bright, Warm Paint Color
Consider the paint color on the walls in the spaces you tend to hang out the most in the winter, like the living room or kitchen. Before winter really hits, think about painting the room a neutral color with warm undertones, like Timeless from Clare. "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," Gibbons says. If you and your family hang out all winter in the kitchen, this creamy white will make the room feel less sterile and more inviting.
And if you're craving a little more color? "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," Gibbons explains.
2 Introduce Live Plants
Even if the trees outside your window are bare, you can still bring leafy greenery into your home this winter. Plants not only add color and life to a room, but Gibbons points out that studies have shown that the presence of nature may lower blood pressure and reduce anxiety. Our advice: start out with some easy-to-care-for house plants so you can get the full stress-busting benefits—without worrying about keeping your new plant babies alive.
3 Switch Out the Light Bulbs
Less hours of sunlight and cloudier skies are a big factor contributing to the fall and winter blues. To make the inside of your home feel bright and sunny, Gibbons suggests switching to LED light bulbs, which emit the most light while using the least amount of energy (bonus: you'll also save money on your utility bill). Look for LED bulbs in soft white, which will brighten the room, without making it look too stark.
4 Let the Light In
Since there's less natural light streaming in the windows in the winter, make sure your decor maximizes what little sunlight there is. Gibbon's recommendation: Opt for sheer curtains that won't block the light, as well as stylish pullbacks. When installing a curtain rod or brackets, make sure to set them slightly outside the window frame, so that when the curtains are pulled open, they won't block the sides of the window.
Check: is there anything blocking the windows, like plants, furniture, or lamps? Relocate these items to let more light in.
5 Add Bursts of Color
When it comes to winter decor, we naturally think of darker, moodier hues. But Gibbons recommends trying something new this year. "Bring in fun pops of color in your throws and pillows to help brighten your space even more," she says. Warm red throw pillows or dish towels will add energy to the space—and a sense of playfulness will make you smile more than decor that takes itself a little too seriously. Buy inexpensive throw pillow covers you can swap out whenever you're craving a change of scenery.
Katie Holdefehr is a senior editor at RealSimple.com, where she writes about everything from decor ideas to dryer balls.