Say goodbye to socially distanced picnics and outdoor dining: as the temperatures continue to drop, we can expect to spend even more time at home. And, if we’re being honest, that’s a total bummer. While we firmly believe our homes should be our happy places, the past few months have created a very complicated relationship with our spaces.
At the beginning of 2020, our homes were our everything: our offices, private gyms, go-to restaurants, and, of course, the place where we could score some much-needed shuteye. But, after staring at the same four walls for months on end, our spaces have started to feel claustrophobic. Combine that with winter’s typical gloominess, and you’ll have a one-way ticket to Doomsville.
That said, just because you can’t escape to your friend’s house, go-to museum, or favorite restaurant doesn’t mean you have to spend the entire season in despair. To help, we’re sharing six easy and effective ways to make your home feel a lot less gloomy. Because after a year like 2020, we could all stand to brighten our spaces.
Get Your Glow On
Lighting can make or break your space on any given day, but, during the winter of 2020, it’s imperative. Layered lighting is a surefire way to create a warm, welcoming ambiance, but you can make your space appear even brighter with some strategically placed mirrors. The reflective surfaces can bounce the light just so, creating a bright and oh-so-joyful room.
Embrace Plant Parenthood
Listen up, plant parents: your leafy greens have a lot more to offer than creating a cool, botanical atmosphere. Not only can houseplants improve your air quality and minimize stress, but taking care of plants can also help combat the winter blues.
We know what you’re thinking: keeping leafy greens alive during the winter feels like a tall order. However, it’s very possible with a little dedication. For starters, direct-to-consumer plant service The Sill recommends cutting down on waterings, forgoing fertilizer, and keeping your leafy greens far away from the radiator or open windows.
If your home doesn’t get a lot of sun in the winter, you can always opt for a species that requires medium to low direct light, like a ZZ Plant. That way, you can enjoy all the benefits of live plants—minus the stress of inadvertently killing your greenery mid-winter.
Bye-Bye, Blackout Curtains
Is it just us, or are blackout curtains a design catch-22? The thick shades are known to block out any and all outside light, making them a godsend for stubborn sleepers. However, if you spend the entire day at home, they can make your home feel darker and gloomier.
It doesn't have to be either darkness or harsh sunlight. If you’re looking for a happy medium, consider a set of sheer curtains. This airy style will filter out those ultra-bright rays—and give you some privacy—without feeling claustrophobic.
Stay Sane With Scents
In case you didn’t get the memo, scents don’t just smell good, but can make you feel good, too. Research suggests that certain scents can completely change your mood. For example, lemon and lavender are known to alleviate stress, while jasmine can instantly boost your well-being.
The good news is there’s more than one way to incorporate fragrances into your home. While candles and room sprays are traditional ways to get your scent on, you can always pick up a diffuser and add a few drops of essential oil.
See You Later, Clutter
Let’s get one thing straight: nobody wants to live in clutter. But, one thing leads to another, and your space is covered in worn clothes, dirty dishes, and stray pieces of paper. Our spaces aren’t the only things that suffer from mess. In fact, excess clutter can do a number on our sleep habits, anxiety levels, and ability to stay focused.
If you want to make your home look its best—and take care of your mental health in the process—tidy up your space. And if you need some inspiration, fill your e-cart with some pretty storage bins like these from Open Spaces.
Dare to DIY
One of the biggest culprits behind a gloomy home? Design fatigue. After looking at the same four walls for weeks—or months—it’s possible to fall out of love with your home décor.
If you’re looking to breathe a second life into your home and make your space appear less gloomy, flex your DIY muscles. From experimenting with wallpaper to trying an IKEA hack or two, brightening up your space has never been so easy.
Thompson R. Gardening for Health: A Regular Dose of Gardening. Clin Med. 2018;18(3):201-205. doi:10.7861/clinmedicine.18-3-201
Sowndhararajan K, Kim S. Influence of Fragrances on Human Psychophysiological Activity: With Special Reference to Human Electroencephalographic Response. Sci Pharm. 2016;84(4):724-751. doi:10.3390/scipharm84040724