Every winter, dropping temperatures and shorter days mean more time spent indoors. But this winter, you will likely be spending even more time than usual inside your home. As you work from home and practice social distancing to help curb the spread of COVID-19, your living space deserves more attention than ever.
Your interior design sets the mood of your space. As you likely know from experience, an unorganized, uninspiring home environment can leave you feeling stressed out. Though interior design and home decor are no substitute for medication or therapy, it can help reduce anxiety, improve mood, and can help you beat the winter blues.
Here are 10 decorating tips to boost your mood and beat the winter blues.
1. Let in Natural Light
Natural light is essential for regulating your circadian rhythms and serotonin levels. Morning sun exposure signals your body to stop melatonin production, the hormone responsible for helping you get a good night’s sleep. Pull up your shades first thing in the morning, and keep them open until it’s dark.
Regular exposure also helps regulate serotonin, a mood-boosting hormone that’s vital for mental health. Without enough sunlight, your serotonin levels can drop dangerously low— increasing your risk of seasonal depression.
Besides playing with the curtain and your windowsills, hanging mirrors can also bring a ton of light into your home and make your space feel lighter. Remove your window screens this winter. Mesh screens aren't necessary if you aren't opening your windows up. By removing them, you'll be surprised how much extra light can stream through!
2. Use a Light Therapy Lamp to Boost Your Mood
If your living space doesn’t allow for much natural light, you may want to consider getting a light therapy lamp, like the cult-favorite Verilux HappyLight. These lamps emit full-spectrum light that mimics natural sunlight, minus the skin-damaging UV rays.
According to the US National Institute of Health, around 5-10% of the population suffers from seasonal affective disorder (SAD), and another 10% experience significant winter blues. Just like natural sunlight, light therapy lamps can increase your serotonin levels. Studies have found that those who suffer from depression may benefit most from morning light exposure, so it’s best to use your happy light first thing in the morning for 30 minutes.
3. Decorate with Intention
When you can’t spend time with your loved ones or travel to your dream destinations, carefully-selected wall decor is the next best thing. Filling your home with photos of your favorite faces and places will instantly add personality and life to your space.
Instead of generic wall art, select pieces that remind you of positive memories or places you love. If you live alone, hang photos of family and friends throughout your home to feel less isolated.
4. Create a Cozy Couch
This winter, you’ll likely be spending some extra time on your sofa in the living room. Whether you’re busy working-from-home or binge-watching Netflix, nothing beats curling up on a comfortable couch. In addition to plush seating, add cozy throw blankets and pillows in your favorite color.
5. Invest in Your Bed
If there’s one area of your home to invest in, it’s your bed. Getting a good night’s sleep will not only helps you feel more alert and focused throughout your workday; it can also improve your immune health.
Not only should your bed look great, but it should feel great too. Spending a little extra on a high-quality mattress and pillows is certainly worth it if it means waking up fully-rested and pain-free. Top them off with soft sheets and a warm winter duvet.
6. Prioritize Organization
Your home should feel like an oasis, not an island of clutter. Studies have shown that clutter increases feelings of stress and guilt and reduces creativity and productivity levels.
An unorganized home can easily become overwhelming. Instead of tackling your whole house at once, start by organizing one small space at a time. You’ll feel productive and accomplished by the end.
7. Turn Your Bathroom into a Mini Spa
Self-care is key in beating the winter blues or seasonal affective disorder. After a stressful day, treat yourself to an at-home pampering session. For an authentic spa experience, stock your bathroom with aromatherapy candles, plush towels, and relaxing bath soaks.
Try hanging a few branches of eucalyptus from your shower head. The steam from a hot winter shower releases the plant’s essential oils and invigorate your senses, leaving you feeling awake and refreshed.
8. Adopt a House Plant
If winter weather is keeping you from spending time outdoors, bring the outdoors in! House plants can improve your mood and help you feel more connected to nature.
Plus, house plants help improve indoor air quality and minimize airborne allergens. A plant-filled home has been shown to reduce headaches, alleviate dry skin, and improve overall respiratory health.
Indoor gardening has been shown to lower stress levels and improve productivity. In fact, employees who work in plant-filled offices tend to worry less, take fewer sick days, and feel better about their job performance. Try adding a touch of green to your workspace at home.
If you don't have a green thumb, don't worry. Don't underestimate the power of succulents and air plants. These low maintenance plants are easy to keep alive, eye-catching, and stylish.
9. Add Colors
One of the easiest— and most effective ways— to re-energize your home is by adding color hue. Painting a colorful accent wall can be a satisfying project to complete on a rainy weekend. For maximum mood-boosting, use energizing and cheerful colors like orange and red. According to color psychologists, these warm colors hue evoke feelings of enthusiasm, health, and vitality.
Not ready to commit to changing paint colors? Add a pop of color with colorful throws and pillows this winter instead. If you’re a renter who can’t paint your walls, try using stick-on wallpaper or hang large, colorful artwork to beat the winter blues.
10. add texture
Create a warm and cozy feel to your interior design this winter by adding layers and texture to your space. Add extra throws, pillows, rug, and floor cushions. And choose different textures like a chunky knit blanket, faux fur rug, or even a fun touch of pom-poms in the bedroom or living area. By adding these extra cozy hues will inspire the feeling of comfort and coziness.
Say goodbye to winter blue! With these home improvement ideas and decorating tips for mental health, and soon you’ll be loving winter instead of loathing.