From Spotlight: Light up Your Home This Winter

9 Mood-Lifting Ideas for a Cozier Home This Winter

Try cleaning your light fixtures. Amazing how much brighter things look.

A light and bright kitchen with houseplants that will give a warm and cozy vibe year round.
Image: Thomas Barwick/Getty

It’s been a freakin’ long day at work, and you just want to get home and relax on your deck. But nooooooo, it’s already dark outside, and that chill in the air is telling you it’s time to pull out your parka. OK, inside it is. But then it hits you: Indoors feels more like a dank cave than a welcoming oasis. Depressing.

You don’t have to succumb to the winter blahs. Just implement a few of these ideas, and you’ll be warm and comfy inside until winter’s worst blows over.

#1 Clean Your Light Fixtures and Bulbs

Your home will appear 30% brighter — without turning on more lights.

Related: Did You Know Dirty Bulbs Are Energy Wasters?

#2 Keep the Cold Air Out

A grumpy cat door stopper

Window and door leaks aren't the only things killing your cozy vibe. Don’t forget to plug stealthy gaps around recessed lights, electrical boxes, and wall outlets. Use a lit incense stick or scented candle to hunt down drafty spots while leaving behind a cozy scent.

#3 Dig Out Your Slow Cooker

Red peppers in a slow cooker on a kitchen countertop

Nothing says warm and cozy like opening the door to an enticing aroma that makes your mouth water. Even better, slow cookers are more energy efficient than electric ovens, typically using less energy than a light bulb.

#4 Bring Home Some Nature

A bright bedroom with a blue tapestry and lots of plants

Many indoor plants, like golden pothos and gerbera daisies, are particularly adept at sucking up nasty volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, the vapors emitted from household cleaners, paints, and dry cleaning. And since plants increase humidity levels, they help decrease household dust.

#5 Vacuum With Your Thermostat Fan On

Run the fan to help filter dust that gets kicked up while cleaning. Leave it on for about 15 minutes after you finish vacuuming, and switch it back to “auto” afterward. HVAC blowers aren’t intended to run all the time.

#6 Change the Furnace / AC Filter

Change your filter every couple months (monthly if you have pets) to prevent excess dust and allergens from circulating. All that bad air just gets you down.

#7 Let the Sunlight In (It’ll Make You Happy)

Bright white kitchen with a window over the sink

Clean your windows. Sparkling glass not only lets more natural light into your home, but also makes you feel good, according to a survey by the American Clean Institute. When ACI asked consumers what clean surfaces make them happy, “gleaming windows” made the top five, above a “spotless sink.” Besides all that, daylight is a great mood booster.

#8 Put Your Window Screens Into Hibernation

They trap dirt and can make your home appear darker inside and out. Screenless windows also boost curb appeal.

#9 Add an Interior Window

If you’ve got a that’s next to a sun-drenched space, putting a window in the shared wall will let the natural light in.

Deirdre Sullivan bio photo
Deirdre Sullivan

Deirdre Sullivan is an NYC-based writer who's obsessed with maximizing every inch of her urban dwelling. She's a former fashionista who has worked for Lucky Magazine and InStyle. She recently traded her high heels and Fashion Week pass for a drill and bandsaw. Follow Deirdre on Twitter, and Pinterest.