Let’s not sugarcoat it: the winter blues are a real thing. Sure, the season feels somewhat manageable during the holidays, but once you take down your holiday décor and make your New Year’s resolutions, you start to realize just how cold, dark, and isolating winter can be. It’s enough to put even most positive people in a bad mood.
While there isn’t one surefire way to get rid of those winter blues once and for all, there are a few things you can do to improve your mood. To help, a handful of design experts share the one thing that never fails to shake those winter blues.
From product recommendations to design hacks, the tips below are bound to lift your spirit.
Wake Up and Smell the Coffee
“There are a few things that I do at home to keep my mental health positive and one is making sure I have a perfect, comforting, and warm drink throughout the day, whether it's coffee or tea. I love having pretty things around me that make me feel good and put me in an elevated mind frame. I think not only what you drink but what you are drinking that beverage in is just as important, and so I love a beautiful mug.” —Cara Woodhouse, interior designer
"Plants are a great decorative accessory and a mood booster, but if you’re like me and don’t have a green thumb, you want the aesthetic without the caretaking. I opt for faux plants, which are easy to care for and come in a wide variety of types to fit your style. For example, you can find everything from faux succulents in ceramic pots to tall floor faux fig leaf plants that look elegant but won’t break the bank at a store like Home Goods. Faux plants can also live in otherwise inconvenient spots, such as a high-up area above a refrigerator or hanging from the ceiling, and you’ll never have to worry about watering them.” —Beth Diana Smith, designer
“One simple element that we find to be so impactful in our own personal space and those we design, particularly in the winter months while we are all still hunkering down at home, is greenery. A beautiful vase with branches or a potted plant can help to bring life and vibrancy inside when we can't always go outdoors. I also find that looking at and tending to plants creates a sense of calm in my day and a moment just to pause.” —Gretchen Krebs, co-founder of Medium Plenty
“I like taking some quiet time alone to meditate and do some yoga for my mind and my body. We have these cool, soft King euros and I pile them around on the floor, light some candles, and close my eyes to get centered.” —John Robshaw, textile designer
“An easy way to freshen up your space and your mood is to change out decorative throw pillows in your space for something new.” —Elizabeth Sesser, senior associate and studio director of interiors at Ike Kligerman Barkley
Turn the Beat Around
“My secret to beating the winter blues is to appeal to the five senses. After a long day—or week—I love to turn on some music on my Sonos speakers. I have them in almost every room in my home. Music is always good for lifting my spirits, and I think it’s important to turn off the TV and take a break from the news and Netflix.” —Ellyn Murphy, designer
“I was an English major, so this answer is easy: books. Sure, coffee table books are often used as props—guilty as charged! But for me, nothing warms up a room and gives me more pleasure than a bunch of books. Particularly, when the days are short and the weather is cold, there's no better antidote than sitting in a comfortable reading chair with an old favorite or a new adventure in the form of a novel.” —Clara Jung, principal at Banner Day Interiors
“My number one suggestion for brightening your mood is simple and free: declutter. This time of year, I can often feel buried after so much time indoors, and with many of us working from home this is even more crucial. I swear I can breathe easier after a good purge of the excess clutter around the house.” —Mel Bean, designer
“I recently converted my spare bedroom to a gym. No one is coming to visit, and I think exercise is so important for mental health. I covered the original wood floors with these inexpensive floor tiles.” —Mary Patton, designer
Sealed With a Scent
“Always consider aroma. The beginning of the new year is the time that I swap my candles and diffusers from the cozy and woodsy scents of winter for brighter and more lively scents, such as the much-loved Volcano scent from Capri Blue.” —Mel Bean, designer
Get Some Fresh Air
“My number one recommendation is to throw open the draperies, crack a window, and let in that light and fresh air. Now, with more people working from home than ever before, I suggest setting up a small work station by the window so you can enjoy a view, daylight, and a crisp breeze—even if it's just for half an hour a day before getting back to your more serious WFH setup. Consider swapping out dark and heavy drapery for lightly lined white linen to keep things feeling bright and airy.” —Tiffany Leigh Piotrowski, designer