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The cold, dark winter can really dampen your mood, but studies have shown that natural light, different colors and nature, among other things, can enhance your mood. Since most people spend a lot of time inside during the winter months, we asked professional interior designers and interior decorators to share their tips for adding brightness to your home while on a budget.

Inespensive Ways to brighten your home in the dreary winter months: tips from the experts

9 Experts Share Their Tips on How to Brighten Your Home During the Dreary Winter

Interior Designer Deborah LeamannDuring those dreary winter months, I love to bring in seasonal blooming flowers such as paper whites or cyclamen. Place them in pretty containers adding color and lovey fragrance. For a project a bit more substantial, try a fun wall covering in your powder room. With little investment, it can really give a small space a lift! Check your local consignment shops to add a great mirror or sconces and voila.....space transformed!
Deborah Leamann – www.deborahleamanninterior.com
Amanda GatesThe best inexpensive way to brighten a home isn't to add more white. Contrary to what is often written about white, it doesnt actually brighten things up but rather turns quite dirty on a cloudy, dreary day. The best thing you can add are yellow and green accents. Yellow represents the earth element in feng shui. It’s the color of health and tolerance, patience and wisdom. Green represents the wood element. It's full of hope, and tranquility that symbolizes new beginnings - it also signifies good, healthy Chi (or energy) and vitality. Combine that with some house plants and your mood will instantly be elevated. All terrific qualities to have to get you through a cold, dreary winter!
Amanda Gates – www.gatesinteriordesign.com
Karen Mills, Interior DesignerInviting spaces full of light and life can often nurture our souls, so if your home feels dreary during the winter season, it's likely because darker furnishings/finishes are absorbing much of your light.
To solve this design dilemma, layer in some white/off white decor - pillows, throws, accessories, or even rugs against darker surfaces to reflect the light more effectively. Amp up artificial light with higher wattage bulbs and lamps, along with increasing sunlight penetration by opening up hard window coverings, removing window screens and removing dark drapes.
To finish the transformation, introduce a few livelier elements such as white orchids, green plants, and brighter accent colored decor juxtaposed against white accessories to create a sense of life in the dead of winter.
Karen Mills – www.karenmills.net
Bryonna WilliamsWhy wait for spring cleaning to give your space a face lift? Winter has always been a great excuse to stay in and cozy up, but it can also be a reason to spend those days rearranging and brightening your space. Here are my top 3 tips to do so:
1.) PAINT! Painting can make a huge difference in how large or small, dark or bright, and open or closed a space can feel. A few of our favorite colors are Sherwin Williams Alabaster, Sherwin Williams Hazel, Benjamin Moore Hale Navy as an accent wall & Benjamin Moore Cloud White.
2.) POPS OF COLOR! This is a more inexpensive way of brightening your space in a short amount of time. By adding knickknacks in bright colors such as vases and small decor items, it keeps it simple but fun. You can go even bolder by adding bright pillows such as oranges, pinks, and greens or wall art. Adding pops of color in this way is good for those who want a more temporary solution.
3.) ADD MIRRORS! Not too many people think about this when they are looking for ways to brighten a space, but it works wonders. Place a mirror or gallery wall of art and mirrors across from a window to double the amount of sunlight in the room. The same applies to all reflective surfaces, such as a mirrored coffee table or metallic finish on a lamp. They reflect the light coming in, opening your space up even more.
Bryonna Williams – www.tabinteriordesigns.com
Kathy Appel, ASID1. Change the color of your light bulbs, 2700k to 3200k emits a warm yellow light. A bulb that is 5000k emits a brighter light with a blue tint closer to daylight. Using the brighter light during the day will energize and motivate you. As lighting technology has advanced, there are lights that can be changed from warm to cool with the touch of a remote control button. This allows you to use brighter light during the day and then tone it down to a warmer light after dinner to prepare your body for sleep.
2. I keep a cube shape glass vase nest to my kitchen sink and treat myself to a bouquet of fresh flowers from the market. On cold days, I spend a lot of time in the kitchen cooking warm meals. Positioned by the sink, the flowers are always visible and the arrangement is small enough that it doesn’t interfere with kitchen tasks. From the first day of Winter Solstice until the Spring Equinox I remind myself daily that the days are getting longer.
Kathy Appel, ASID – www.hearthandhedgerow.com
Denise O'ConnorI had a client recently who has a north-facing sitting room, which she painted white to try to make it brighter – a very common mistake – and it resulted in the room feeling cold. My client said that she can’t bear to go into the room during the day in the winter months.
I suggested that she try to make the room cosier rather than trying to brighten it – we have no control over orientation so it is impossible to get more sunlight into a north facing room. However, by going for a darker, warmer shade on the walls and improving the lighting, a north-facing room can be a very pleasant place to spend time regardless of the climate conditions outside. For darker rooms, what you want to go for is a warm rather than a bright colour palate.
I’m often asked for advice on how to choose colours, and while your preferred colour is a totally subjective thing, we’ve all been faced with trying to choose a blue and struggled to choose between the vast spectrum of blue shades available.
So here are my top tips when picking paint colours. In general I would steer clear of any shade with a hint of pink or peach tone in it. I know these tones can be tempting as they appear to be warm but they are very difficult to live with. This is particularly true with neutral shades. My advice when picking a neutral or off-white is to go for a colour with the slightest hint of green in it. You will find that these colours react really well in the light that comes with the Irish climate. When selecting a more definite colour, slightly muted or chalky shades work better than those with strong primary hues.
Denise O'Connor – www.optimise-design.com
Interior Designer Brenda ThompsonYour home doesn’t have to feel cold and gloomy during the winter months. There are three main ways we love to brighten homes during the colder times of year when most of us are forced to spend more time inside.
Our first go-to is bringing the outdoors in by incorporating seasonal greenery. Some examples of great faux greenery that are winter appropriate are eucalyptus stems in a decorative container, twigs displayed in a vase, moss balls (we use these year round) in a wood bowl or basket, magnolia wreathes, and preserved boxwood topiaries.
A second tip for warming up a space, (literally and figuratively!) is accenting your living/bedroom areas with thick, textured throws. We recommend faux fur or cable-knit sweater blankets to keep a cozy vibe. A neat way to add texture and functional storage is to display your throws on a blanket ladder. Functional and pretty - win win!
Our last pro tip is accessorizing with candles. They can instantly make your space feel warm and alive. Battery-operated candles are now readily available, often with the option to set them up on a timer. Many even come with a remote that can be used to turn on several at a time. Our favorite type of battery-operated candles are the flameless wax ones with a flickering light. They typically cost a bit more but are more realistic looking and worth the extra money.
Brenda Thompson – www.houseliftdesign.com
Nicole LeeThe winter can be dreary but adding pops of color can brighten any environment. I always choose fun colors and accessories such as pillows and art to add to an existing design. It’s easy and affordable and adds instant charm. Don’t be afraid to choose your favorite color to incorporate into your home.
Nicole Lee – www.nicoleleedesign.com/
Donna Grace McAlearA cost-conscious way to brighten a dreary room is to pop an assortment of colorful and patterned pillows onto neutral-toned furnishings. Go bold and express your personalty by mixing textiles -- faux furs, faux velvets, colorful solids and lively patterns. Hanging a striking artwork on a feature wall will also make a unique statement. Support a budding artist by exploring student art shows and community art events where reasonably priced, original art can be found. Finally, the addition of a dramatic lighting fixture is essential. Today's lighting is artistic and sculptural while also providing functional illumination.
Donna Grace McAlear – www.newmooddesign.com

 

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