They say it’s the most wonderful time of year.

With holiday parties, out-of-town visitors, and plenty of excuses to try a multitude of tasty treats, there’s definitely lots to look forward to—even as the days get shorter and the weather turns colder.

Of course, the change in seasons can also bring on a case of the winter blues, a persistent gloomy feeling accompanied by exhaustion and melancholy. To combat this wintery gloom, we know one tactic that can call back holiday cheer all winter long: add light to your life—literally.

Go Au Naturel

There’s nothing better than natural light streaming in through a window as you enjoy a well-deserved beverage or curl up with a good book. During these dark winter days, it’s time to assess whether you’re getting the most natural light possible. Take a look at your current windows and assess what might be blocking sunlight. Clean windows and trim large trees or plants. Keep blinds and curtains up during the daylight hours. And if you’ve been wanting to get rid of heavy, dark curtains or replace broken blinds, now’s the time to make the change.

Fake it til you make it

Sometimes natural light isn’t a possibility; maybe your kitchen doesn’t have large windows, or maybe it’s simply dark outside when you leave for work in the morning and dark again when you return in the evening. It’s time to trick your brain into thinking that if it’s bright inside, it’s bright outside too. Consider lightening up dark walls or trim (just keep in mind that an off-white or pastel color makes a room feel warmer than stark, pure white). Place lamps in darker areas of the house and consider purchasing a “smart” lamp that mimics sunlight. Mirror decor can also help to reflect light in smaller spaces.

Renovate the house, restore your health

With the new year on the horizon, perhaps it’s time to take the plunge and invest in some serious structural changes to your digs. Bring in natural light by adding a skylight or window to your favorite spots. Switch out heavy, windowless doors with wood and glass replacements. Take out old carpet and install wooden floors that reflect light throughout the space. Take down the wall separating you from living room light—and the open floor plan—you’ve always wanted.

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