Don’t let winter doldrums get you down. These easy ideas will perk you up.

By Carol Brock

OK, we’re in the thick of winter. It’s dark. It’s cold. It’s dreary. But there are simple ways to blast those winter blues, and they all begin and end with your home. Here are ideas to make long winter nights more bearable.

winter_colormeColor Me Joyful

It’s dull and drab outside so don’t make the same mistake inside. Color always brightens a space, so go bold and think big. Contrast table colors with vivacious runners, chargers, napkins and place mats. Don’t be timid; layer different patterns, textures and colors together. And pillow-up that plain couch.

winter_lightupLight Up the World

Extra lighting is essential in winter. When the sun sinks early, it’s time to brighten your space with lamps and lanterns. Be sure to use natural-spectrum bulbs to better approximate sunlight. Clean and store window screens to let in more natural light and views, and replace heavy drapes with light, airy curtains (if you have highly efficient windows). For festive ambiance, string popcorn lights in different colors and motifs. And go crazy with candles—flameless ones make it easy.

winter_soundofmusicThe Sound of Music

Julie Andrews sang it best: “My heart will be blessed with the sound of music.” When winter gets you down, it’s time for a blessing, and music does the trick. So pull out your iPod or start up your CD player. And don’t forget the soothing sounds of water. Put mini fountains in the most-often-used rooms for tinkling tones, and a needed dose of humidity during dry winter.

 

winter_snugSnug as a Bug in a Rug

There’s something cozy about lying on a thick plush rug by the fireplace—or watching your dog do it. If your rug’s threadbare, dirty or just plain ugly, it’s time to shop. Choose warm colorful patterns and go for the luge touch.”

winter_forceForce of Nature

When everything is sleeping under snow, houseplants bring cheer to the coldest nights. In late winter, buy some bulbs you can force into flowering, like fragrant paper whites, lilies and amaryllises. And of course, fresh flowers brighten any room. Or place dried or silk flowers in vases around the house.

winter_soothingSoothing Scents

Balmy breezes aren’t happening in winter. The next best thing is to create your own. Buy a dwarf orange, lime or lemon tree and let the blooms invigorate your space while you overwinter the tree inside. Alternatively, try potpourri, simmering pots of cinnamon sticks and apples, scented candles or aromatherapy oil lamps. Be sure to choose naturally scented products, as opposed to artificial chemical scents.

 

winter_funFun with Food

If your coffeepot lacks a timer, it’s time for a new model. Waking up to the scent of freshly brewed joe makes it easier to face a cold winter’s day. And pull the crock pot out of storage. When you get home in the evening, there’s nothing better than the scent of supper wafting through the house. In addition to soups and stews, you can cook just about any dish in a crock pot. Invest in a crock pot cookbook.

 

winter_beddyBeddy-bye

When the day is done, retire in style. Old, outdated bedding doesn’t add to the comfort quotient. Bedding shams, pillows, quilts, Egyptian cotton sheets and plump comforters do. If you don’t know the difference between Euros, bolsters and squares, visit a linen shop and see how to turn a bed into a thing of beauty. Sleep tight!