Easy Ways to Warm Up Your Home During the Winter

Winter days can often be dreary and gray, with little warm light breaking through the clouds overhead. Living with a long succession of gloomy days can wear on us, bringing down our moods and general outlook on life. There are, however, many strategies to help brighten and warm your home during the shortest and darkest days of the year!

Bright Lights

Standard incandescent light bulbs produce a dull yellow glow, which only adds to winter’s dreariness in your home. Exchange these bulbs for brighter compact fluorescent or halogen bulbs, which emanate a purer, whiter light and provide a bit of warmth to your home. If you’re unsure about which kind is best for you, consult with your local hardware store lighting specialists for your specific needs.

Warm Up With Candles

Candles provide a cozy glow on stormy afternoons and chilly evenings. For safer candle burning, place candles in sconces that hang on the walls of your home. This keeps the flames away from children, pets and loose paper or fabric. If you want an even safer alternative, purchase a collection of battery-operated candles. These have a wax-like outside surface and tiny bulbs that emit flickering light like a candle.

Mirror, Mirror, On The Wall

Like the moon reflects the sun’s light, mirrors can help spread daylight around a room. Hang a variety of well-placed mirrors around your home. Larger mirrors will help distribute more light than smaller mirrors, and they don’t have to be framed. Consider using a few on select tabletops as well.

Also, take the opportunity to update family portraits displayed on the walls. Spend a few dollars on trendy or matching frames, using coupons at from your local craft store.

Add Color

There are many ways to add splashes of color around your home to alleviate dreary days. Purchase brightly-colored throw pillows for the living room and a matching cozy blanket for the couch. Add items around your home in accent colors in the form of candles, prints or decorations. A few green plants or seasonal flowers, whether real or silk, can help brighten up a dark corner and is an inexpensive way to add color.

A Pot of Soup

Nothing warms your home and your soul better than a great-tasting pot of soup. Start a hearty chicken or bean soup from scratch in the morning, letting it simmer through the day. The scent will cheer up your mood and your home at the same time. If you want the same result but don’t have an entire day, break out your crockpot for a nourishing stew or chili.

Invest in a Light Box

If you find that you need more light than what’s available in the winter, consider a nominal investment in a quality light therapy box. Traditionally used to treat Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), light boxes can be used to alleviate the blues in the middle of winter. These boxes contain special bulbs or tubes, and the effectiveness of a light box depends on intensity, duration and the time of day the box is used.

The intensity of the light emitted is measured in lux – 10,000 lux is typical for a light therapy session. Generally the higher the lux, the less amount of time is needed for exposure. For 10,000 lux, a session is about 30 minutes long; for lower lux, the session times need to be lengthened. It’s recommended that light boxes are used upon waking or during the morning hours for maximum benefit.

There are many different styles and sizes of light boxes, and they can generally be found at a local hardware store.

During these tedious winter days, make the most of any light available!

Kelly Wilson is a freelance writer and author of Live Cheap and Free! Strategies to Thrive in Tough Economic Times. She lives with her family in Portland, Oregon.

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