5 Ways to Brighten Your Home During a Dreary Winter

Don't let the dark, cold days of winter get you down. Check out these easy ways to freshen your decor to help keep your home sunny and warm.
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The days are short, and many of them, gloomy, cold and full of dramatic weather. Make the most of your long days spent inside by trying to make your home as bright and cheery as possible – a few simple changes can make a big difference.

1. Remove your screens.

Mesh screens aren’t necessary if you aren’t opening your windows. Remove them, and be surprised how much extra light streams through when there isn’t an extra layer blocking the flow.

Rustic Vacation-Style Home

Rustic Wood Home

Natural wood and large windows give this home a warm look even in midwinter. The bank of windows lets in lots of sunlight.

Photo by: Daniel Pratt © 2013, Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Daniel Pratt, 2013, Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved

2. Use lighter-colored slipcovers.

Invest in ivory, white, or any other light-colored fitted slip cover for your sofa and sectional. The brighter colored fabric will feel lighter, and the room as a whole, brighter. Same goes for light-colored tablecloths on your dining room table. They may need to be washed more regularly, but light will deflect from your table and make the room feel brighter.

French Country Living Room

Personalized Wall Art in French Country Living Room

As seen on HGTV’s Fixer Upper, host Joanna Gaines created a personalized piece of art for this living room using a metal letter “g” framed with an old screen door. A slipcovered white chair and country blue window treatments enhance the room’s French Country style.

Photo by: Sarah Wilson/ Getty Images © 2013, HGTV/ Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Sarah Wilson/ Getty Images, 2013, HGTV/ Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

3. Let the hardwoods shine.

If you have hardwood floors, consider removing area rugs in rooms where natural light is at a minimum. The light that does stream in will reflect off your shiny hardwoods and onto your walls.

Neutral Transitional Dining Room

Modern Neutral Dining Room

This modern dining room features a dark wood table with Parsons chairs upholstered in a cocoa-colored fabric. The white walls and hardwood floors are left largely unadorned with the exception of a large painting.

4. Swap your light bulbs.

Time to pay closer attention to the coloring of your home’s light bulbs. The difference between a warm white, a cool white, and daylight bulb can greatly change the feel of a room. If your home is anything like mine, you might find that some bulbs work better in some rooms than others; selecting a few and comparing live in your fixtures is the best way to see how it will really look. Those in-store displays situated beneath the fluorescents don’t always do the bulbs justice. Also, this is as good of a time as any to upgrade to LED bulbs for efficiency. For more tips on lighting, refer to this guide and learn how to choose it, what lighting works best in your home, and more.

Modern Bedroom with Dark Wood Headboard

Modern Bedroom with Wood Headboard and Floating Shelf

Clean lines and neutral tones defines this sleek, modern bedroom featuring a dark wood headboard and matching floating shelf. Fresh white flowers compliment crisp white bed linens as the only decoration in the space.

Photo by: Jonathan Rachman

Jonathan Rachman

5. Select light-colored drapery.

Curtains with saturated colors and dark patterns will make the room feel darker. Install lighter-colored curtains in their place for the winter months. While you’re at it, install the new drapes at the far edges of your window, so as not to block any portion of the window and to let as much natural light in as possible.

Cottage Living Room

Cottage Living Room With a Bright Palette

Taking its cues from a budding spring garden, this cottage living room features soft green walls and marigold drapes, as well as a creamy floral sofa and dotted pale pink armchairs. Plenty of plants and cut flowers add life to the space.

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