4 Ways Designers Make Homes Feel Brighter in January — "These Tricks Will Really Lift Your Spirits"

Days are still feeling far too short, so I asked interior experts how they make light of the darkness. Discover their top 4 tips

Bright living room during winter.
(Image credit: L.Ercolani)

With its late mornings and early nights, winter's dreariness might be upon us, but I'm not ready to let that get us down. Particularly because of the extended time spent indoors during the colder months, it's crucial to infuse our spaces with as much cheerfulness as possible.

To prove that winter doesn't have to be dull, I've sought advice from my favorite interior experts, as there are little tricks you can make which change how you feel and will really lift your spirits. 'I like to swap out my accessories for lighter, colorful options,' says Mel Bean, founder of the Oklahoma-based studio Mel Bean Interiors. 'Neutral and moody coffee table books can be swapped with vibrant art books, dark textured bowls with chunks of amethyst, selenite, and translucent resin pieces.'

In fact, with the help of items from the best home decor stores, get ready to transform your home into a haven that feels like spring.

Expert Tips for a Brighter Home During Winter

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Light Neutrals

Neutral interior.

(Image credit: L.Ercolani)

It's no secret that light colors contribute to a brighter-looking space. NYC-based interior designer and founder of Arsight Artem Kropovinsky recommends going beyond accents and decor, advocating for the use of light neutral colors like beige, taupe, or cream on walls. He asserts that this choice creates "a feeling of spaciousness and freshness." Large surface area objects, such as a couch or dining table, can also achieve this effect.


Vanity mirrors in bathroom.

(Image credit: Davey Lighting)

Mirrors have long been a favorite trick of interior designers to enhance the perception of space, but their role in enhancing brightness is often underestimated. According to Artem, the larger the mirror, the brighter your space will appear. Placing mirrors opposite or near windows can "bounce natural light around darker rooms." In a similar vein, he recommends incorporating mirrored objects and glass tabletops, which not only spread light but also add an air of elegance.

'One of the most important decorative ideas for a gorgeous living room is a mirror,' says Brooklyn Brownstone designer, Jarret Yoshida. 'Most cities have apartments that are too dark or cramped so when my New York interior designer brain turns on as I enter my client's apartments, I immediately want to either reflect on the view or create an idea of space. Mirrors visually capture the ongoing drama outside or can double the sense of space.'


Pendant light in bathroom.

(Image credit: Davey Lighting)

"During the darker months of winter, the right lighting is key for brightening things up," says home and lifestyle content creator Meghan Olivotti. She suggests using color and hue-changing bulbs throughout the house, noting that "something as simple as scheduling bright lights to turn on at a certain time in the morning can help break up the monotony of a gloomy winter day." 

Dara Greaney, CEO and founder of LED Light Expert, emphasizes the importance of indirect lighting, such as wall lamps or ceiling lights, to illuminate surfaces and "expand the perception of space, particularly on dim and cloudy days." Artem adds that combining main, work, and side lighting creates a brighter, yet nuanced atmosphere.

Semi-Sheer Drapes

Sheer drapes in a living room.

(Image credit: Jonathan Adler)

In winter, maximizing natural light while maintaining privacy is a challenge. Artem's go-to solution is semi-sheer drapes, providing a layer of privacy while allowing sunlight to filter through. 

Aligning with Artems's aforementioned advice on using light neutrals, opt for transparent materials in colors like white or beige to complement the overall brightening effect.

Style Editor

Formerly covering fashion at L’Officiel USA, style maven Julia Demer brings her love of design to Livingetc’s world of interiors. As the title’s Style Editor, Julia's work reflects a sharp eye for detail and an innate passion for aesthetics. Her journey began with a strong foundation in design, honing her craft at renowned establishments like The Row and even establishing her own eponymous fashion brand. Julia’s design background is evident in the way she thoughtfully curates shopping edits, always maintaining a focus on emerging trends while preserving timeless sensibilities. For Julia, fashion and interiors go hand in hand, reflecting her lifelong commitment to perfecting the art of style.