As the bright yellow, orange, and red leaves of autumn fall to the ground, the landscape is suddenly void of color. The bare trees and frostbitten grass take on a gloomy gray color – paired with an even gloomier gray sky. As the days get shorter and the darkness comes earlier, it is not surprising that many find this time of year depressing. Oh – and then there’s the cold itself. Brrrr!
Winter is coming! While there is nothing we can do to stop the seasons, there is much we can do to chase away the winter blues and even enjoy the most wonderful time of the year. This is so important whether you’re selling a model home or working from your home.
One trick we have learned from real estate agent showing houses, turn on all the lights! Not only do our houses look better in light, but the light is also amazingly uplifting.
Consider adding joyful lights with unique and playful pendant fixtures and wall washers that light up colorful artwork.
Don’t forget the power and impact of outdoor lighting. Transform the black abyss of a dark backyard into something delightful and sculptural using low voltage lights to reflect water, light up trees, and highlight the landscape. Create a ceiling with lights strung from trees above that invite outdoor gathering.
With so much emphasis on outdoor living in today’s homes, houses will shrink in size if the outdoor living becomes too cold to use. Taking a lesson from restaurants with outdoor dining, add heaters. You can add portable outdoor heaters, or you can install heaters in the ceiling.
Of course, let’s not forget outdoor fireplaces. They do wonders to heat the space along with adding a charming flickering of light that warms the soul. If you have a wood burning fireplace, you will also get the lovely cracking and popping sounds as the wood burns. While there are many types of fireplaces and fireplace fuels, get the one that produces the most BTUs for the outdoors.
Inside, the fireplace also plays a key role in adding warmth. BTUs of the fireplace are less critical here as most house have heat. Indeed, an indoor fireplace that is too hot will often make other parts of the house cold. Consider an indoor fireplace with its own outdoor air intake.
Friends of mine have an alcohol fireplace which needs no flu and produces no messy ashes to clean up. And while it produces significantly less BTUs than a gas fireplace, it does add warm and a wonderful glow.
As the leaves fall, our landscapes become dramatically devoid of color. This is where we add color back both inside and outside. Outside, the landscape should include both deciduous and evergreen trees and shrubs. In the south, evergreen trees include live oaks and magnolia trees. One community in Jacksonville lined the entrance medium with magnolia trees, then cleverly up lit them at night to add elegance and drama both day and night. Further north, the evergreens tend to be more conifer trees – just don’t rely on me when it comes to plant species suited for colder climates.
You can also add outdoor color with pots at either side of the front door. Consider ornamental cabbage or pansies for winter color.
It is also important to add color inside. An interior that was perfectly colorful in the summer may need a little pick-me-up. My friend Susan always gets a bouquet of flowers when she does her grocery shopping. It is a small indulgence that can have a big impact. You can also add colorful throw blankets both inside and out that add both color and coziness.
My first winter
I vividly remember my first real winter. I had moved from Southern California to Dayton Ohio in early December. I had pictured arriving to a bright, snowy white landscape only to discover the suffocating gray of winter. It was quite a shock and has had a lasting impression on me. And since my seasonal change was sudden rather than gradual, I was less accepting of the gloom. That was 1971 – and I guess I have been chasing away the winter blues ever since then.
Is there anything that you do differently to chase away the winter blues?
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This post was written by Housing Design Matters