For many, the winter months can seem to drag on and on, causing undeniable mood change. In the northeastern U.S., constant gray skies mixed with freezing temperatures can make us feel unmotivated, unenergetic, stressed, and sad. Often, we feel trapped in our indoor environments, and in extreme cases, this sour attitude is more than just a short-lived negative feeling—it’s a diagnosable illness called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
The good news is that both the common winter blues and a more serious SAD diagnosis are treatable. Research has shown that by bringing elements from the outside world inside and by filling rooms with some of our favorite things, we can make our interiors spaces winter-proof. Take a look at the following tips to see how you can beat the blues with a few simple updates to your décor.
- Focus on Lighting
- Incorporate Greenery
- Add Colorful Accents
- Fill Your Space with Soothing Fragrance
Focus on Lighting
Light therapy is a proven remedy for seasonal mood change. It works by exposing a subject to bright light daily, in short intervals. By mimicking the intensity of sunlight, light therapy can restore normal circadian rhythm, helping to cure subjects of their negative mindsets.
By taking cues from the positive results of light therapy, we can lighten up our homes, offices, and other interior spaces in similar ways. Soak in natural light by replacing heavy, light-blocking drapes with sheer window coverings. Take it a step further by fully opening curtains and blinds and hanging mirrors opposite of windows, ensuring that daylight is maximized and sunrays are multiplied.
At times when the sun isn’t out, mimic daylight by hanging bright indoor lights overhead. You can even purchase full-spectrum bulbs, which are closer in color to natural sunlight than regular incandescent bulbs or LED fixtures. Put warm-colored bulbs in floor and table lamps to create a soothing glow, and hang warm-colored string lights to make a space even more inviting.
Greenery is another verified mood-booster. Adding live plants can inject new life into an otherwise dreary interior.
Surrounding yourself with plants has real scientific benefits. Besides being nice to look at, houseplants release oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide, removing air toxins in the process. In addition, they’ve been shown to improve concentration and productivity while reducing stress levels. One more benefit? caring for living things gives us a sense of purpose—the satisfaction of seeing something thrive in your care is healing.
So, how can you incorporate plants into your home décor? Start small. Find plants that are the easiest to maintain, like cacti, succulents, or other leafier varieties like ivy or spider plants. Line your windowsills with varieties that crave sunlight, while hanging fuller plants (like golden pothos) from wall or ceiling hangers. Once you’re comfortable caring for the easy-to-please plants, take the next step and invest in a larger potted plant, which can easily turn into the focal point of any room. Use unique planters and pots that will complement your greenery and bring out your personal style.
Add Colorful Accents
Research has shown that our color preferences are heavily influenced by personal experiences and associations. We tend to like colors that we can link (consciously or subconsciously) to good things.
By taking advantage of your positive color associations, you can break up the sterile whites and dull grays of winter. Add a big yellow armchair to your living room. Hang a bold blue art piece in your office. Paint an accent wall in your bathroom. Even small touches like brightly-colored pillows, vases, or rugs can positively affect your state of mind.
Fill Your Space with Soothing Fragrance
Similarly to color, scents can prompt you to recall certain memories or feelings. Think about the smells that give you the most joy. Fill your space with candles, potpourri, incense, freshly-washed sheets and throw blankets, fresh flowers, or even the heavenly aroma of a home-cooked meal to get an instant mood-boost.
Fortunately for most, the symptoms of the winter blues are temporary. With a little time, and a little effort in re-imagining your interior environment, you can start feeling like your sunnier self again.
As you equip your home and workplace for the long winter months, be sure to check out some of Interiors by DECO’s sample decor items, which are on display in TONO Group’s West Chester office and showroom. In addition to the small collection of products we have in stock, DECO can procure furniture, artwork, lighting, and décor from a virtually unlimited collection of high-quality brands. Contact DECO to start creating an interior package that fits your seasonal needs.