15 Ways to Brighten Your Home During Winter

Updated: Feb. 14, 2024

Winter doesn’t have to be dark, drab or dull. Use these inexpensive ideas to brighten up your home this winter and it’ll be spring before you know it.

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Lamp examples of different bulbs
Family Handyman

Swap Light Bulbs

Check to see what type of light bulbs you’re using. There is quite a bit of difference between cool white and warm white, so you may find a simple switch could add new brightness to your space. The best way to do this is to take one of each type of bulb and test it out in a room at different times of day. While it’s cold outside, be sure to try out this ice cream that’s made with snow!

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Bold sunflower artwork

Hang Bold Artwork

Think color when it comes to artwork. Hanging a couple bold pieces of artwork in a room will brighten things up this winter (and throughout the year!). Don’t hang anything on your walls until you read these nine tips.

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Window screens
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Remove Screens

Unless you live where it’s warm throughout the winter, you don’t need the screens on your windows year-round. Remove window screens and you may be surprised by how much more light streams into your home.

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Woman painting wall

Use the Right Paint Color

Painting a room a light color will make the room look bigger, but pops saturated color can make it feel brighter. Consider adding a bold color to an accent wall. You can also paint the ceiling a bright white to lighten up the room even more. If you’re planning on painting your kitchen cabinets, be sure to check out these handy tips.

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Sofas with slipcovers

Use Light Slipcovers

Dark furniture can make a dark room feel gloomy. Instead of buying new furniture, invest in a light-colored slipcover for your couch or loveseat to help brighten up the space. While you’re out shopping for slipcovers, be sure to stop at Goodwill and hunt for these 10 items.

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Vase of purple tulips
Africa Studio/Shutterstock

Display Flowers

Fresh flowers add a pop of color and life to an otherwise dark and dull space. Brighten up your kitchen this winter with a vase of bright flowers and use a colorful arrangement to bring a fresh look to a living room or home office. If greenery is more your thing, check out these houseplants that are easy to take care of and will improve your air quality.

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Room with brightly colored accessories

Add Accessories

Be smart about accessories. Accent pillows in a bold color or pattern, a bright-colored or white throw blanket and colorful fixtures will brighten up an otherwise dull room during the winter. This is what your kitchen would look like if you decorated based on your zodiac sign.

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Room withy large rug

Be Smart About Rugs

Does your area rug make the room brighter? If you have a dark rug, there’s a good chance it makes the room a little too dark in the winter. Try swapping it with a lighter area rug for the season or just remove it for a few months to let your shiny hardwoods reflect natural light.

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Man sitting on a dark, cluttered couch


Clutter can make a room look messy and even darker than it should be. This winter, take 10 minutes a day to declutter and stay organized.

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Indoor plants

Bring the Outdoors In

Plants give life to any indoor space, so bring in some plants to brighten up a room this winter. If you don’t have a green thumb, there are plenty of plants to choose from that don’t require much care. Here are 10 indoor plants you probably can’t kill.

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Woman drinking in front of a window
Ana Blazic Pavlovic/Shutterstock

Check Window Treatments

Are your curtains too dark for the winter months? Brighten things up with light-colored curtains. You can also open up the curtains to let the sun in during the day, then close them at night to help keep the cold air out.

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Mock candles

Light Candles

Candles aren’t just for romantic nights or to add coziness to a room. Brighten things up by lighting some candles on the darkest of winter days. Battery-operated candles are a good option and they eliminate the fire risk.

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Gold accessories in a room

Go Gold

Gold brings brightness to a room. Look for gold picture frames, gold bookends or a coffee table with gold accents to make a room feel brighter during the winter months. While you’re adding accessories to your home, check out these adorable DIY centerpieces that would look great on your coffee, side or dining room table. 

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Man cleaning counters

Keep it Clean

Make a point to keep up on cleaning during the winter months. Windows that are free of grime, a crumb-free kitchen and a freshly vacuumed carpet or mopped floor will help keep a room looking bright and fresh. Make your home shine with these 50 cleaning tips and tricks.

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Bedroom with huge mirror
Africa Studio/Shutterstock

Use Mirrors

Hang a mirror to help fill a room with natural light and make it brighter. To do this, hang a mirror opposite a window or sliding glass door so the light bounces off the mirror and floods the space. These 15 ideas will make a small room look bigger.

The Family Handyman
Originally Published on The Family Handyman