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Beat The Blues

It’s cold outside, the weather is miserable and the days are getting shorter. Brighten up your home and lift your mood with these top tips from Northern Woman’s Róisín Carabine on how to beat the winter blues.

1. La Vie en Rose

There’s such a thing as the ‘pink effect’ and studies have shown that exposure to large amounts of the colour can have a calming effect on the nerves. In interiors, even the smallest amount of pink, picked up in furniture, cushions, rugs or throws, can create a soothing and calming atmosphere.

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Opera three-seater sofa in a choice of colours from DFS, £1,198 & Peony light fitting, £180, Asso extending dining table, £499 & Luna dining chair, £79 from Harvey Norman.

2. Let There Be Light

Well-lit rooms can instantly lift your mood and make you feel happier, especially on dark nights. For maximum effect opt for a mix of lighting – floor lamps and table lamps as well as task lighting – rather than one central pendant. Consider fitting dimmers so the atmosphere can easily be controlled from sunlight bright to cosy and comfortable when required.

3. Colour Me Happy

Paint is one of the easiest ways to bring a touch of colour and happiness into your home. As the colour of the sea and sky, blue evokes calmness and tranquillity making it the perfect shade for bedrooms – and research proves it. According to a new study by hotel group Travelodge, blue is the best colour to decorate your bedroom if you want a good night’s sleep, with this colour scheme resulting in an average of seven hours and 52 minutes’ sleep each night.

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Wardley chalked oak four poster bed from £2,170; Tolsey loop pile rug in Navy £410; Cley stripe throw in Navy £155 & Grace cushions £53. Walls painted in Neptune Teal paint, Neptune Belfast & Pax Wardrobe from Ikea, from £592

4. On Reflection

Mirrored furniture is great for visually opening up small spaces and making them look bigger. Another great thing about mirrored furniture is its ability to reflect light and bounce it around a room – so your interior will never look dull or gloomy.

5. Plant Power

According to website Thejoyofplants.co.uk, having plants in our home not only adds greenery and interest but they can actually make us feel happier, reduce stress, give us more energy, help us concentrate better and even improve air quality. Boston Ferns and potted Gerbera are ideal air purifiers, while Alocasia, also known as elephant’s ear, is a great statement plant thanks to its height and spectacular leaves. For novice gardeners, cactus, Aloe and succulents are perfect green companions and near impossible to kill.

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Frosted Window Film (FB102) from windowfilm.co.uk. From £30

6. Undress to Impress

Maximising the amount of natural light in your home will help beat the blues this winter. If your dining or living space is on the dark side, consider ditching the curtains and blinds and embracing the current trend for bare windows. If privacy is an issue why not opt for window film. The Window Film Company offers a huge selection of designs and frosted patterns, allowing you to easily create an eye-catching feature of your glazing, while still letting in natural light.

7. Mirror Mirror

Besides knocking down walls and opening up rooms, one of the easiest and cheapest ways to allow more natural light into dark rooms, is with cleverly positioned mirrors. Hanging a mirror on a wall adjacent to a window can make it seem like you have more windows in the wall. In a living room with a view out to the garden, placing a mirror on the wall opposite the window will not only help to reflect light but also the views outside.

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Salvage window mirror from Next Home, £140 & Wall art from £7; Cloud Chair, £645 from Oliver Bonas, Belfast

8. Art Appeal

Wall art can have an uplifting effect on the mood, especially images of nature or scenes that evoke happy memories. For on-trend ways to create interesting displays of art visit Pinterest and be inspired to create a salon-style gallery, portrait walls or DIY framed art using bulldog clips, shelving and string.

9. Weathered Wood

This season wood effect wallpaper is making a big style statement indoors. The new sophisticated designs range from aged grey planks and coastal weathered wood wall murals, to driftwood and even timber textured reclaimed wood papers. They’re a perfect cost-effective method to add a touch of cosy character and ‘natural’ charm, creating a calming atmosphere.

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FD41959 Loft Wood Walnut/Copper wallpaper by Fine Décor from Noblett’s of North Street, £8.99 a roll & Cushions from £5 & large throw from £9, Primark

10. Layer Up

Throws, cushions and rugs not only provide cosy comfort on a cold winter’s night but they’re also perfect for adding a pop of affordable colour and help to brighten up a gloomy interior. High street clothing favourite Primark has just launched a collection of soft home accessories to satisfy your day-long lounging needs. Think sumptuous plush velvet cushions and throws in opulent shades of teal, pink and mustard.

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