The winter may bring darker and cloudier days ahead, but with the seven tips below you can make your home look brighter, more cheerful and inviting:
1 Take the Screens Off Your Windows
You’ll get 30% more sunlight shining indoors without screens on your windows.
Here’s the best part: Sunlight warms your room and saves you money on your heating bill. It’s solar power — for you!
Be sure to store your screens in your garage or basement where they won’t get damaged. In the spring you’ll want to put them back on so you can keep that 30% of the sun out and run your cooling system less.
2 Hang Outdoor String Lights Indoors
They don’t give off a lot of light, but they’re cheerful as heck.
Drape them around a window or a mantel, or hang a string of LED glimmer lights in a tall potted plant. They’ll add a layer of soft light to your room and remind you of fireflies, flip-flops, and patio parties.
3 Change Your Bulbs
Replace those incandescent bulbs and their yellowy light with LEDs, which produce a brighter, whiter light.
But get your bright right:
The higher the K rating on the bulb, the cooler and whiter its light.
For cool, white light, opt for a bulb rated 3,500K to 4,100K.
For blue-white light that’s closest to natural daylight, use a bulb between 5,000K and 6,500K.
4 Hang Mirrors
Make the most of that weak winter light by bouncing it around the room with mirrors.
If you don’t want the distraction of seeing your reflection all the time, use a large, convex one — also known as a fish-eye mirror. It will amplify light better than a flat one. Another option: Hang a gallery wall of small mirrors.
5 Replace Heavy Curtains With Blinds or Roman Shades
Fabric curtains, while quite insulating, block light and make a room feel smaller and more cramped, especially if they’re a dark color or have a large print.
Try Roman shades or a simple valance paired with blinds to let in the maximum amount of natural light.
6 Swap Your Solid Front Door for One With Glass Inserts
A solid front door can make your house look and feel as dark as a dungeon.
Get rid of it and install a half-light or full-light door that lets the natural light stream in. For even more natural light, add glass sidelights and a glass transom.
The median cost of a new door is $2,000 for steel and $2,500 for fiberglass, before any extras, but a new door will add curb appeal.
Curb appeal equals higher resale value. And coming home in the evening to the warm glow of light radiating out the glass panels in your front door is an instant mood lifter.
7 Add Plants
Putting pots of plants around your room will remind you that spring and green will return.
Match plants to the amount of light you have, because dead and dying plants are depressing. Tropicals that thrive in indirect light are usually the best choice. If you have a sunny window you’ve got more plant options.
Bonus points for adding a plant that blooms in the winter, like a kaffir lily or anthurium.