This Is the One (Super-Simple!) Home Hack to Prep Your Home for Winter, According to a Design Psychology Expert

published Nov 17, 2022
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Credit: Sylvie Li

It’s no secret lighting can define a space, brighten up a room, and reinforce a particular aesthetic style. Even designers agree it’s the ultimate make-or-break decorating detail in a room. That being said, lighting is about way more more than just the look of your lamps or pendants. The type of light bulbs you use — specifically the temperature they emit — is actually a huge contributing factor to how effective your lighting may be in a given space.

Lighting temperature is measured in Kelvins (K), and the higher the number, the “cooler” the glow, whereas “warm” light sources typically fall at or below 3,000K. Of course, both sides of the spectrum vary in terms of aesthetic and ambience, as well as their underlying cognitive effects. According to Hoda Jaludi, holistic designer and certified design psychology expert, warm bulbs in your home “make the space feel more relaxed,” since their predominantly red, orange, or yellow glows are “similar to a sunset, which is when your brain starts to produce melatonin.” Meanwhile, she adds that “cool light bulbs, which have a color tint of white and blue hues, help improve productivity and activeness,” and essentially “mimic the daylight.”

On that note, with less sun exposure nowadays (thanks to daylight savings time in most of the United States), interior lighting seems to play a bigger role than ever in homes and lives, even if you aren’t fully aware of it. “Research has proven how poor lighting can affect your mood and can lead to depression,” Jaludi explains. “This is why, during winter months, some people suffer from seasonal depression because of the lack of daylight. Less daylight means less vitamin D, which drops our serotonin levels.”

So, with all this in mind, what’s the best kind of lighting to have in your home for winter and beyond? Two words: color-changing bulbs. “Having the ability to change the colors and brightness based on your mood is a great life hack for your well-being,” says Jaludi, who specifically recommends the GE CYNC Smart LED Color-Changing Light Bulbs. At $49.99 for a set of four, the pricing is splurgey for light bulb replacements throughout your whole apartment or home, but these can actually help you cut down on costs in the long run. “LEDs use much less energy, which is a must during the winter months because the lights will be turned on a lot longer compared to the rest of the year,” Jaludi adds.

Back to their color-changing feature: these versatile bulbs come in handy for casting different light temperatures throughout the day. “When it comes to brightness/color levels, your brain only knows one thing: Bright means staying awake, dark means time to sleep,” Jaludi says. The GE bulbs, which sync with your smart devices via Bluetooth or WiFi, allow for the best of both worlds — meaning you can count on a cool, energizing glow surrounding your WFH space by day as well as relaxing, sleep-signaling warmth in your bedroom at night — and that’s especially strategic if these spaces are one and the same (hello, fellow winter-friendly lighting tip. “To help fight seasonal depression, keep your lights bright a couple of hours before it is time to sleep,” she says. “Since in most places, it gets dark at 4 p.m., your body starts to unwind a lot earlier.” When you do start getting ready for bed, though, “try to keep the warmer tones for a few hours right before you sleep,” adds Jaludi.