If you experience serotonin depletion and low moods in Autumn/Winter you are not alone. It’s a common occurrence for many to notice a dip in moods – as many as one in three Brits are affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). If this sounds like you, tailoring your decor and creating a bright, cosy space for Autumn/Winter would be beneficial.
A connection has been established between sunlight and the brain’s release of serotonin. Studies have shown that serotonin boosts a person’s mood whilst also providing a calming effect and allowing more focus. Without enough exposure to sunlight your serotonin levels can drop, resulting in a higher risk of low mood and depression. As a result, many people suffer with this mood disorder which follows a seasonal pattern.
Whether you are affected as extremely as this or not, there are still mental health benefits associated with increased, or at least maintained, sunlight levels.
Read on for some useful tips on how to create a bright but cosy space over the winter months to maximise the available sunlight in your home.
First things first – clutter
The simplest and best place to start is to clear clutter. In small rooms especially, unnecessary furniture, piles of miscellaneous items and packed shelves not only close a space, they can also disrupt the flow of light in a room. The more items in a room the more shadows and the more potential obstructions to the natural light.
Clearing surfaces, shelves and floor space of unused items will instantly brighten a room, reduce dark corners and offer more surfaces for light reflection. Keeping the room clean and dust free will maximise this also.
You’ll want to keep some furnishings and accessories for contrasting (more on this later) and to create a cosy, lived in feel but many of us go way too overboard. Strip it back to the basics, and as you work through this list reassess the space at each step and work out what you can and can’t get away with. A minimalist theme is the way forward when wanting to keep your living room light and airy.
The exception to the clutter rule here is mirrors. Cleverly placed mirrors can make a room appear larger whilst also bouncing any natural light around the room. Including metallics and glossy surfaces in your overall aesthetic helps with this too.
Try placing a mirror where the light reflects onto a matte white surface. This offers a diffusion effect which creates a cosy glow.
Be thoughtful with your mirror placements, too many, or any in the wrong positioning, can result in an undesired glare. Experiment with a couple in different areas of your room to see what produces the best results.
White = light!
The lighter the colours used in the space, the lighter the result. If you are looking to redecorate completely, look at any existing colours on the walls and go a few shades lighter. Where you have dark feature walls, switch them up to be bright and light colours. Whites, creams and light greys reflect sunlight which make rooms look clean and brighter. Similarly using pastel colours can produce a bright and calming effect.
If your ceiling is any colour other than white, repaint it to make the most of the reflective properties and give the illusion of a higher ceiling.
If you don’t have the budget or just are not looking to redecorate use neutral styling to brighten the space instead. A cream throw over a dark sofa offers a contrast whilst covering a large surface area of darkness. Similarly a nude colour rug on a dark carpet can instantly brighten up a room.
You can even use wall art to brighten the space. Hang large white, pastel or neutral canvasses, prints or paintings over dark walls to offer relief from the gloom during winter months.
Contrast is Key
Using whites, pastels and neutrals are great for brightening up a space but can often leave a room feeling void of personality or a little on the cool side. Cosiness in a living space over Autumn and Winter are essential and you can have them both! Contrasting darker autumnal colours with the bright and white neutrals effectively injects a bit of personality and warmth back into a room, without undoing all the hard work you’ve put in to make the room bright and airy.
Layering is the trick here. Use scatter cushions in an earthy fabric or a second throw over top of your neutral throw to offer a colour splash. Include a piece of wall art using autumn tones among your neutral artwork and look at any other accessories which you can switch or add to provide the warm layer – candle holders, curtains, plant pots, lamps and lampshades or even furniture such as a new chair or sideboard.
Selecting the right fabrics is essential when creating a bright and cosy Space for Autumn/Winter. Contact us today to talk about our fabric range and request your free samples.