Do you feel like it’s been winter for three years already? If you’re anything like us, you’re missing warmer weather and craving sunlight. In fact, seasonal affective disorder is estimated to affect nearly 10 million Americans. We need sunlight in order to be happier, healthier humans.
If you’re searching for ways to let every ounce of sunlight into your home this winter, here are three strategies that can help.
Because windows are portals to the natural sunlight we crave in the winter, they should be our primary focus in order to brighten our homes. Here are some
Install new windows
If you have the budget for it, installing new — or more! — windows is the ultimate way to shed some light into your dark house. As an added bonus, upgrading windows from older, less efficient ones can decrease your power bill. If you’re adding more windows, consider adding them in dark places like stairwells.
If adding new windows isn’t an option, make sure the ones you do have are bringing in the most light possible. See if any trees or bushes outside your windows are blocking light from getting into your home. In the winter, remove screens from your windows and store them until you have warmer weather.
Keep it clean
Actually physically cleaning your windows — inside and out — can make a huge difference in how much light gets through them. Consider your shades and curtain choices. Shades that roll up, versus standard or plantation blinds, can help your home seem brighter. Interior design experts recommend the following curtain placement to make a room seem bigger, and it can also help maximize your window light.
You can also use paint to help capitalize the natural light from your windows. Brighter/lighter walls will feel more open and help reflect the light. One painter’s trick is to paint the ceiling a couple of shades lighter than the walls to give the ceiling the illusion of being farther away.
Pro tip: Bright white walls will feel cold and institutional. Instead, opt for an off-white to make the room feel warm while still reflecting your natural light.
The final way to make your home seem brighter is to take a look at the rest of the items inside it.
First of all, consider what furniture and surfaces are in your home. Even if your walls are the perfect off-white shade, dark, matte furniture can suck in some of the light. Look for furniture with glossy surfaces to help reflect the light.
You probably know that mirrors can be placed strategically near windows and doors to better reflect the natural light as well. What you may not consider is the artwork that you hang on your walls. Bright, bold artwork can also make a room seem more full of life and light.
Since what we’re really missing during these long winter months is outdoors and sunshine, it will help to bring some of the outdoors indoors. Succulents are pretty, low-maintenance starter plants and can help give a room some of that life that’s missing. If you really don’t have a green thumb, even keeping fresh flowers on a regular basis can help a home seem a little less gloomy.
For other ways to protect your home from the winter, check out this post on weatherproofing.