After a recent visit to Scandinavia and seeing how well they cope with short winter days, I learned about Hygge, the art of staying cozy, happy and positive during the winter months.  During this extra wet California season, we need this more than ever!

Capture as much light and sun as possible in these 5 easy ways:

1) Grab a Sunny Spot – Pull your favorite chair up to a window or glass door.  Not only can this be your personal refuge for reading or enjoying the change in seasons, the chair captures warmth from what sun there is and makes you feel comforted and safe. Just 30 minutes a day sitting there will give your body the amount of vitamin C it needs to keep your mind alive.

2) Let the Sun Shine In – Open up the window treatments.  Many of us grew up with the concept that to keep the cold out, close blinds and drapes.  This is not only unnecessary but makes our rooms darker and dismal.  If you have double paned windows, you don’t have to worry about heat loss and the morning sun is the best for starting your day off right.  In the winter, take down valances and cornices to expose as much of the window as possible.

3) Winter White – Scandinavians knew the secret to surviving winter darkness.  Living without sun for months on end made them experts.  Their secret was effective use of color.  White painted furniture and white washed walls made any room bright and cheerful, no matter how black the night (or day!).  Use light colors; add white, cream or linen colored pillows and throws around the room.  Ban dark and harsh colors from your home.

4) Grow a Winter Garden – You may not be able to plant outdoors, but this is the time for flowers and plants inside.  Succulents in a long wooden bowl in the kitchen window do great and add the green you crave. Start an herb garden! Bring home an orchid or bromeliad for the table and watch the smile it brings to your family’s face.

5) Get Motivated – Now might be the best time to plan ahead. Start thinking about changes and renovations you’ll be doing when it warms up. These gray days inside don’t have to be dismal – start that list, collect those links, talk to your designer, architect or landscaper – get them lined up and scheduled and on the calendar. It’s always nice to be ahead of things.. when spring comes, you’ll be ready!

Add your personal suggestions below.  Love to hear from you!