Beating the Winter Blues with Decor
Lighting and Decorative Tips for the Fight Against Winter
Winter has its moments, doesn’t it? Sure, there’s a certain sublime beauty to the season. That sharp clarity to the sky winter nights that makes the piercing beauty of the stars that much more keen. A fresh blanket of snow on the ground, giving everything a feel of quiet purity, a tabula rasa on which we can rewrite our lives or begin a fresh new chapter.
But let’s be honest: It’s a drag. The cold. Hauling in wood all the time or forking out big time for oil. The long, long nights. Driving in snow and ice. And how drab and colorless everything feels after a while.
Fortunately, we’re mostly housebound creatures, aren’t we? As cool as it would be to be off on adventures in wintry landscapes, we’re mostly in our workplaces, vehicles, and homes. These spaces where we live dictate so much of our daily lives.
So making them winter-friendly is important. Making your space sensitive and supportive to your moods is an act of self-care worth investing in right from the beginning of the new year.
19th-century American poet Emily Dickinson, who endured many long Amherst, Massachusetts winters and was born in December, wrote, “There’s a certain Slant of Light, Winter Afternoons, that oppresses like the Heft of Cathedral Tunes.” She was onto something.
A light, bright interior helps in the daily resistance against the encroachment of winter blues. Having your own beautiful lighting set-up to create lighting that lifts rather than oppresses is a useful step in your strategy against the winter blues.
What is winter lacking that you can compensate for in your home? Is there less color in the world? Add color, whether that’s an accent wall, a piece of art you buy, some new blankets and pillows, or colorful pendants or table lamps. Is there less green, are there less living plants? Bring some indoor plants or low-maintenance succulents into your space. Is there less light? Treat yourself to candles and beautiful light fixtures, dimming lights low and having loved ones over, discovering what hygge means for you.
What places will you be sure to spend time in every day throughout the winter? Make design choices here that will give you some life and energy through the colorless and short days/long nights ahead. We all spend time in the bathroom and in the kitchen and dining area, sometimes more than we would like.
The choice to paint this bathroom cabinetry energizing peaceful green was a very good one. The shape of the Riley sconces, the clear glass bell shade adds to an easy-breezy feel. A little plant life and some earthy finishes with plenty of clear surface space all make this space grounding and rejuvenating.
Likewise, these dining areas take two approaches. In the former, the beautiful serenity of a minimalist approach with the egg-like Orion by Mitzi peacefully poised above a Saarinen tulip table, natural textures and organic forms adding to this soothing palette. In the latter, beautiful patterns on the rug, the boost of colorful art, delicately contrasting geometric forms and textures, and indoor plants all provide a positive, uplifting space beneath Paige’s glow.
What’s a simple case of the winter blues for some is for others a medical matter. Amazingly, the application of light is healing and has ameliorative effects for those who struggle with this season. If you’re one who is affected by the unfortunately acronymed Seasonal Affective Disorder, use of a light box in carefully monitored time increments may help against the blues and a dawn simulator can give support in waking up in the dark of the morning. Like Shakespeare’s mistress’s eyes or Sting’s second solo album, though, these substitutes are “…nothing like the sun.” Taking Vitamin D3 and getting at least ten minutes outside in the sunlight a day, as well as taking a brisk walk, are key factors in resilience against winter’s possible effects on mood.*
We can’t help you with that kind of light. But if you’re looking for color and beauty in your lighting that may help with its aesthetic power, we’ve got just the thing.
According to House Beautiful, hanging light fixtures with color glass is part of a decorative strategy that adds color and lightens up the relentless dullness, drabness, darkness, and greyness of the winter. Hudson Valley Lighting Group fixtures like Pomfret and Rousseau fit the bill here.
Here are some quick tips on how to get your home ready for the winter.
- Feng Shui. You can do some basic things or go the whole country mile. While people can get really deep about this, it’s kind of like yoga. Sure, there’s a spiritual/metaphysical component. You can add that in or just deal with the basics. Either route, it’s going to make your life better. There’s something to the notion that energy, or chi/qi, needs to flow freely around a room. Sensitive people can feel the blockages trapping the harmonious flow of this mysterious life-force. Plus, the new year is a great time to give yourself a little “new” feel by changing the room around. What goes where, what stays and what goes? Out with the old, in with the new! Check out your post on using feng shui in your work space here.
- White Paint. Banish the gloom with white paint that reflects the light, bouncing it around the room. High gloss is best saved for concentrated use, such as along kitchen or bathroom cabinetry. While darker color walls are just the thing for some folks and work great in rooms with a lot of natural light, they can have a depressing effect in the third or fourth month of winter, with little daylight, especially in rooms that receive less light. The pictures we’ve chosen to feature in this post we think demonstrate how uplifting a bright white room can be.
- Colorful Accents. You can lift the whole room up along with your spirits with some color. It gets hard to see that same drab lifelessness and colorlessness outside day after day, week after week, month after month. A fresh snowfall is beautiful in the first couple of months, but loses its appeal as winter wears on. And by the time the plowed left-behind piles flecked with dirt and grime are melting down into brittle brownish grass, we all need a dose of color to keep away the blues. Get some pieces of colorful artwork and hang them in spaces you’ll see them often. Adorn your living room and bedroom with new colorful throw blankets and pillows that will add that pop.
- Green Friends. It’s entirely possible we’ve all seen enough indoor plants as the boho look enfolds its green tendrils around every trending living space we peep on the interwebs these past couple of years. But. There’s something to it. Caring for a little plant helps with resilience. We all need to see something green. And them evergreens creaking in the cold winds, boughs heavy with snowfall, ain’t enough. Liven up your living space with succulents and easy-to care-for plant friends like the snake plant. This way, if you don’t exactly have a green thumb, you’re less likely to kill the plant and have one more thing to get depressed about.
- Candles. There are a lot of beautiful, good-smelling candles out there these days. Treat yourself! Long nights are no problem when you make your space feel warm, magical, and dare we say even romantic with lots of candles. Plus, one with a smell you love will lift your mood and help you relax. Put a cloche on it during the day and have a superchic look.
Truthfully, the one defining fact about winter is its coldness. Anything to cultivate a sense of warmth, in the many senses of that word, is a good choice. Much has been made in the American market of the Danish concept of hygge, as if it was something you could buy, let alone pronounce. We may want to sell you the kind of lights you can plug in or hard-wire into your walls and ceilings, but stocking up on candles is definitely a good idea. If you have a fireplace, ensuring it’s clean and safe and in good working condition. Treating yourself to some cozy, colorful new blanket for the living room. Getting together with people, keeping a low-lit, mellow vibe, and sharing in laughter and conversation are the best defenses against winter’s dark arts. Lea Johnson’s holiday-time shot of her Mitzi-lit drink station, above, conjures such feels for sure.
Maybe we all need to take some of the best parts of what we do in this holiday season, from strings of colored lights to cozy evenings with friends and families to listening to old songs we love, and keep them going on into January, February, and March.
Here’s wishing you and yours a healthy, happy holiday full of light, laughter, and love.