With the temperature dropping, our mood often follows. It’s hard not to feel a little down when it’s windy and rainy (read soggy feet and frozen hands the moment you step out the front door). In fact, 10 to 20 percent of Americans struggle with the transition into the winter season and experience the “winter blues”.
Luckily, there are actions we can take to combat this, starting with our homes. Here at Minky Couture, we’ve put together a few tips on how home decor can help fight the winter blues and boost your mood during the colder months of the year. But first, let’s look more closely at the “winter blues” and what they really are.
The truth behind the winter blues
Most people start to feel down in the fall and won’t feel consistently better until spring knocks at their door. Common symptoms of the winter blues are:
- Feeling flat and sad
- Nothing is interesting or ever happens
- Being sleepy and struggling to find energy for everyday activities
- Having no motivation or energy to work out
- Experiencing increased hunger and overeating, resulting in weight gain
- Being restless and unfocused
In extreme cases, what people think it’s just a bad case of the winter blues is actually seasonal depression, also called SAD for Seasonal Affective Disorder. This is a serious clinical condition that should not be left untreated. A trained medical professional can help you understand if you suffer from mild seasonal moods or SAD.
- Being restless and unfocused
Ideas for fighting the winter blues with interior decor
If you have the winter blues every year and you want to make a positive change in your life, home design can help you. The interior decor of your living space can strongly affect your mood. So let’s get going with our top six decorating tips for boosting your mood this winter.
1 - Let the light shine through
Science can’t yet pinpoint what causes us to feel down in winter, but most experts believe that the reduction in sunlight plays a key role. The limited daylight hours supposedly affect your circadian rhythm, which is your inner biological clock. It also lowers your serotonin (the “happiness hormone”) and melatonin (the “sleep hormone”) levels. Because of this, make sure you are smart in your home decorating and let as much natural light in as possible. If you are moving into a new place, try and have the room you use the most during the day — living room, dining room, or study — facing south. This will maximize sun exposure, letting more natural light in and making it warmer. For lived-in homes, tweak your existing room design to ensure you soak up all those precious sun rays where possible. A great way is to have the spot you sit at for most of the day near a window. Whether you work from home, relax on the couch every afternoon or only have the weekends to enjoy your place, make sure you are not confining yourself to a dark corner! On that note, take a look and make sure that potted plants, windowsill decorations, and heavy curtains are not blocking out too much of that precious sunlight. Declutter your windows, invest in roll-down curtains, and rearrange your furniture to let the sun shine through. Hanging a mirror on the wall opposite the window is a clever way to reflect the light into the room and make it even brighter.
2 - Bring more plants into your home
There is plenty of scientific evidence proving that plants can quickly improve your mood. They affect all of our senses — we feel calmer when we look at the lush greenery, become more grounded when we touch the leaves, and relax when we smell their fragrance. So why not harvest indoor plants’ psychological and physiological benefits in our homes? Head out to the shops and get yourself a few great winter houseplants! Once you have chosen your new leafy lovelies, place them around the home where they can catch some natural daylight. One study reports that just 20 minutes within ten feet of a potted plant will boost your mood and reduce negative feelings. This winter, say hello to nature and goodbye to the winter blues.
3 - Replace screens with books
We’ve all experienced firsthand how sleep affects our mood. After a restless night, we can be irritable, short-tempered, and moody until we catch up on some Zzs. Research shows that screen time before going to bed is damaging to your sleep quality. Scientists recommend putting down your phone, turning the TV off, and picking up a good book instead. Reading before bed is a tried-and-true way to relax and forget about the stress of the day, which is proven to result in better sleep. So, when it comes to home decor tips to banish the winter blues, we suggest hiding the TV and grabbing your books. If your TV isn’t visible, and the whole living room isn’t set up around it, you are more likely to reduce your screen time. You could get a cabinet that slides closed or try other clever design ideas to hide it away. With the freed-up space, display your books and magazine so they catch your eye, and don’t forget to set up the rest of your space optimally; add a magazine holder and lamp by the couch so you can easily put the remote down, turn the lamp on, and get lost in some wonderful literature.
4 - Make room for your hobbies
When designing the interior of your home, dedicate a corner or whole room to your favorite indoor pastime. We’ve already talked about reading, but other activities like adult coloring books, arts and crafts, action figures, and writing are other great wintertime hobbies. Pursuing a hobby positively impacts your mental health and enhances your well-being all year round, but it’s especially important during the sluggish winter months. Making space for your passion can be as easy as decluttering the living room table and freeing some storage space for your supplies. If you want to go all out, repurpose a room or unused area to become your “hobby space”. For a halfway point, consider adding a "flex room" to your home. This is the new buzzword interior designers use for a room with multiple functions. An example is a double-purpose guest bedroom and hobby room. Indulge in your hobby when you have no guests, and bask in your visitors’ company when you have them.
5 - Trick the eye with a homey focal point
If you have an eye-catching, heartwarming focal feature, your gaze will often return to it and fill you with happiness and relaxation. Some options don’t take much time or work, like displaying pictures of your family and friends in gorgeous frames or adding a wooden focal piece to house your indoor plants. For those who want to roll up their sleeves and make some significant home improvements, you could build a large bookcase and put two of our decorating tips into practice at once.
6 - Make time for snuggling
Lastly, fight off the dread of the winter months with some minor warmth-seeking tweaks to your home. Start in your living room and swap out any accessories in cool and fresh colors for warm and energizing ones. Out with the blue pillows and purple throws and in with the yellow cushions and beige plush blankets. Planters, nicknacks, candles, and other small decor items can also be part of the seasonal overhaul. Many studies have covered the close connection between colors and emotions. This article from 99designs has some great recommendations on which color schemes can uplift your mood and reinvigorate you even in the middle of winter. Choose yellows, oranges, pinks, and reds — in all their hues and shades — and experience firsthand the difference well-chosen colors can make to your mood.
Happy winter redecorating!
We hope these decorating tips will help you enjoy the holiday season and keep the winter blues at bay. Check out our blog about ways to style your bedroom for winter for more tips and if you have any other tips, let us know!
Sewn with love,
The content of this article is prepared for information purposes only. The information provided by Minky Couture is not designed as a treatment for individuals experiencing a mental health condition. Nothing in this blog entry should be viewed as a substitute for professional advice. Minky Couture has, to the best of its knowledge and belief, provided information that it considers accurate but makes no representation and takes no responsibility as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this website. Minky Couture disclaims to the maximum extent permissible by law any liability for any loss or damage, however caused, arising as a result of any user relying on the information on this website.