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Stories for being at home.

How to Fend off the Winter Blues

Light up your life.

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Floyd bed in a white painted room with a round mirror.

White sofa in front of several noguchi lantern lamps.

1. A strategically placed mirror bounces light around Kameron Richie's minimal apartment. / 2. Glowy Noguchi lamps grouped together in the home of Madelynn Furlong.

The shortest day of the year is just around the corner, and though the evenings will soon begin to lengthen, it can be tough to cope with limited light and time outdoors. It’s only natural to feel a little bummed out, especially once the cheer (and twinkle lights) of the holiday season is in the rear view mirror. So, we’ve pulled together some of our favorite advice for tweaking your space to stave off the winter blues. Read on to see how small adjustments can make a big difference.

The single most important way to keep your mood high in the winter time is to invest some serious energy into your lighting scheme, even if you have great windows. The fact of the matter is that in the winter, the lower angle of the sun dramatically lowers the amount of light entering through east and west exposures. It also almost entirely eliminates light coming through your south facing windows. All this to say that while you should clean your glass, take down your summer screens, and trim branches that are blocking precious light from your windows….you should also try adding in lamps.

One of our favorite ways of coping with cold weather is to create a super warm, cozy feel inside. To do that, add in secondary light sources (aka “not overhead lighting”). We love a glowy lantern, like these Noguchi staples, for adding gentle, warm light into your space. As you’re likely working at home, don’t forget to set up your work area with a practical task lamp. You can even eliminate some of those shadowy corners in your kitchen with small puck lights that are easy to mount underneath your cabinets. Expand the lighting in your bedroom beyond your bedside and place a sculptural lamp in a corner that doesn’t get much attention. You can experiment with your arrangement — don’t be afraid to put a lamp on a stack of books, on the floor, on a chair or stool, on a window sill —treat your lights like the mood-boosting art that you need them to be. Choose a “soft white” lightbulb, which will give you that yellow-toned light that feels so comfortable.

To really boost the natural light you are getting, try playing around with mirrors. It sounds a little bit hokey, as if you are trying to signal a passing ship on a deserted island. But, mirrors will bounce natural & artificial light around your space. Think about the angle of the sun in the late afternoon when you place your mirrors, then try orienting them to refract that low-angled sunshine into the darkest spots in your home. You don’t need a gigantic floor mirror for this: small accent pieces work well and are easy to move around whenever you like. You can also get a similar (if more subtle) effect with metallic or light-colored furniture, and with art framed with glass.

Now that you’ve dialed in your lighting setup like a scientist tracking the trajectory of a satellite, think about the other small changes you can make in your space to make it feel as welcoming as possible. Consider re-arranging your furniture slightly, if only for the novelty of a new setup. Treat yourself to some fresh bedding, and consider trying a bright, sunny color that will bring you joy. If you’re ready to throw your phone alarm clock out of your window, try switching it out for a “sunrise” alarm clock that will slowly wake you up with increasingly bright light. Buy yourself tropical flowers, a shiny new candle, or a new piece of art that evokes your favorite vacation destination.

Don’t tackle this advice all at once. Instead, try making small changes slowly. Just keep in mind the ultimate goal: to make your space as utterly delightful as it can be. For now, it’s where you’re going to be spending quite a bit of time, so it is worth it to make sure you can do so happily!

Explore the homes featured in this piece, in order of appearance: Liron & Gal's Brooklyn loft, Madelynn Furlong's LA apartment, and Kameron Richie's minimal Berkeley studio. Check out more interiors inspiration on the Floyd Instagram.

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