Colour splash to lift winter blues

Yolanda Mkhize

Yolanda Mkhize

The interior of your home can affect how you start and end your day, your general outlook on life as well as your mood.

Evidence of this is seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a mild to serious depression during winter. It is said to be caused by lack of light from not having enough sunshine and vitamin D.

So allow as much light as possible into your home, failing which get special lamps designed specifically for SAD, to simulate daylight and sunshine.

But why start and end there when you can rid yourself of the winter blues by being a little creative and using colour?

As old man winter knocks at your door, greet him with an attitude. Instead of hibernating and hiding under greys and browns, tease the senses and give the spirit a shot of sunshine.

Without breaking the bank, break the rules a little. Think festive, rich, luxurious and bold colours and textures. Take from the primary colours, and if it's not in the rainbow, ditch it.

This does not mean going crazy with colour, but blending the right shades and hues enough to give the wow, without the freak, factor. Create an atmosphere that is contrary to what is going on outside. This is your sanctuary and it should uplift, delight and represent you. Even the bathroom, if not especially.

It is always safe, if not smart, to start with what you have. Until you are brave, start small, experiment with a splash here and a dash there. Choose objects that will accentuate and give pop to your decor.

You will need light, colour, texture and flair.


Light not only uplifts your mood as prescribed for SAD, it can be an accessory that serves to illuminate your surroundings and favourite things. For more light, use furniture and accessories that reflect light, such as crystals, glassware, glass tables, glass cupboards, mirrors, some steel etc. Not all at once of course.

To minimise dark corners and have more than one source of light, the window treatment should be light enough to let the light in, but still give privacy. This can come in the form of shades or blinds. If it is the same colour as the wall, it will give the feel of a larger space too.

Funky, colourful lamps, with interesting shades and bases in the right proportion and scale to your furniture, add personality and warmth.

The hue you choose:

You have to remember the purpose of the room, and the atmosphere and mood you want to have greet you every day. Colour is the easiest way to make a statement and make a room interesting - and size does matter. The darker you go, the smaller the space appears.

You might want to hold on to your basic pieces as background. It would be wise to keep this relationship open to allow for the limitless possibilities in accessories. Ceiling to floor, you get to play and you are only limited by your imagination.

Choose yellow to drench your home in sunlight, red for bold and dramatic appeal, green could be your earth tone and the rest can add whimsy. You can even bring the outdoors inside, in the way of plants that survive winter or dried ones.

A bright cushion or two on a plain chair or sofa can pump life into it as can a colourful abstract painting or framed poster on the wall behind a couch. Even linens with bold graphics, framed photos, a painted wall, exotic flowers or plants, tableware and other accessories that have colours you would not normally go for but like.

Texture: If it feels good, do it:

You can't have everything soft and silky. Offset it with some plain materials and textures so it does not look overdone.

Flair: Only you can do you:

Show your personality and taste. What you choose to decorate with expresses your artistic inclination, taste or sense of humour. Decorate with your objects of affection. They serve no purpose sitting in a box. Create space that says "welcome home" and "life is beautiful".