As much as I love the cosiness of gathering around a pub fireplace, the heavy feel of a high tog duvet as I sleep, snuggling up under a faux fur throw to catch up on my favourite shows and pulling on knee-high boots and knitted jumpers, there is one downside to winter.
The shorter days can wreak havoc with my mood and the prevailing dark clouds day after day is enough to make anyone feel like hibernating until spring.
I live in the North West – Manchester to be specific – and lots of natural light is difficult to come by at this time of year. So, as a lover of light, I make certain adaptations in my home to give me a brighter home, even on the darkest winter evenings.
Today, I thought I’d share a few different ways I light up my space and tactics you can use too – whether you want to brighten your own or simply give in and create a lovely cosy atmosphere to make the most of the season.
It may be tempting to keep the curtains closed during the day to maintain the heat but we still need the Vitamin D that elevates our mood during winter. So on those days when the sun manages to break through the clouds, draw back your curtains to soak in every stray beam of light. Make the most of it by hanging your curtains high and wide so that when the curtains are drawn back, the entire window is exposed, allowing as much natural light into your home as possible.
Once the sun goes down, however, we do need to rely on artificial sources of light and most of us will be depending on what is affectionately known as ‘the big light’. This is normally the ceiling light that is in the centre of the room and acts as the star player in your lighting scheme. While it may be tempting to depend on this light fully, it’s always better to have this on a dimmer switch. This allows us to choose just how bright it needs to go depending upon the activity taking place in the room. For a cosy winter’s evening, it’s always nicer to have the dimmer set to a low warm glow rather than at the brightest setting. No one wants to feel as though they are under interrogation under a blaring light!
One of my favourite ways to get cosy in winter is to use candles around my home. They emit such a warm and festive glow and can look beautiful flickering on a table or mantle. If you are worried about safety, consider opting for LED flameless candles which will give you that soft flickering glow without an open flame. Cluster smaller candle votives together and dot along bookcases or sideboards for a stylish look.
Light your fireplace
The smell and sound of a real log burning fireplace are universally loved. If you have one, it’s certainly the best time of year to take advantage and let the glow and embers add some natural light and warmth to your home. Dim the rest of your lighting down to truly appreciate the soft light emanating from a fireplace and consider adding floor cushions or a deep pile rug as an invitation to sit and relax a while.
An often-missed opportunity, adding wall lights can create drama, shining directly onto a wall and creating soft pools of light directly above or below the fixture. These are suitable for darker alcoves which may not get much in the way of ambient light or you can use them to highlight architectural features of your home, a bookcase or a favourite piece of art.
Encourage a bit of ‘me time’ by creating a cosy reading nook with an armchair, cushion and a small side table with a floor lamp casting the perfect glow onto your favourite book or magazine. There are so many different styles and finishes available to suit your own decorating style – from traditional to contemporary, industrial to vintage and everything in between.
These smaller lamps are hard workers, providing a handy light no matter how you may be using a room. Consider matching them on either side of a sofa or bed for a more formal look or give in to your eclectic side with different styles for a more casual approach.
And finally, fairy lights aren’t just for the festive season! Consider trailing them along a fireplace mantle or around a mirror or stringing them in a corner of the room to add some much-needed glow on a dark night.
As you can see, there are lots of ways to add a little extra light to your home during the darkest months of the year!
Kimberly Duran is an award-winning interior design blogger who chronicles her decorating journey in her blog, Swoon Worthy. Her style is unashamedly eclectic, bohemian and glamorous and when she's not helplessly drooling over design websites and adding things to the imaginary 'shopping basket' in her head, she likes to get messy tackling DIY projects, stalking eBay for bargains, taking Instagram pictures of her cats and investing time in her ongoing love affair with gold spray paint.
Image sources: SF Girl By Bay - photos by Petra Bindel for Elle Décor UK / Fenton & Fenton / House & Garden – photos by Damian Russell, styling by Gabby Deeming