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In The News - Harvard Post

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Oct 21, 2013
Home Help: Fight SAD with home lighting

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Change the clocks, change the batteries and change the bulbs.
Beat the winter blues with compact fluorescent bulbs.

Tip of the Week

Change the clocks, change the batteries and change the bulbs.

"Shorter days and longer nights can cause seasonal affective disorder and your best antidote is a bright home," says Debbie Wiener, a Washington, D.C.-based interior designer with www.mydesigningsolutions.com. "If you took a survey and asked homeowners what bothers them most about coming home during Daylight Saving Time, it would be coming home to a dark home after the sun sets. It does seem to be up there on the top 10 list of problems my clients want me to solve.”

Wiener offers some tips to beat the winter blues on your own:

• Make the switch. With the phase-out of incandescent bulbs, you'll want to invest in fluorescent and LED light sources now. Wiener suggests compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) because they are relatively inexpensive.

• Choose the right color. "Think of an office space," Wiener says. "Those big, long fluorescent tubes are anything but CF bulbs and give off a gray light. Put them in your home and you have SAD 12 months a year." CFLs have temperatures, just like incandescents have wattage. You can simulate pure sunlight (5000 K), which Wiener uses for outdoor lighting, or 3000-3500 K for a bright, warm glow throughout the home. A lower temperature, like 2000 K, translates to a 40-watt incandescent bulb.

• Bathe in the light. Other than bulbs, Wiener advises to "surround yourself with yellow" — either by painting with the bright color or decorating your home with throw blankets, toss pillows, throw rugs or insulating shades and blinds.

• Insulate your windows. "You can add roller shades made from thick insulating material and install them on the window frame, just under draperies, or you can add colorful patterned fabric as a roman shade or drapery and line them with an insulating liner," Wiener says. It’s important to use a weather block on your windows to keep the heat in, the cold out and your mood up.

• Go green. From bamboo stalks to poinsettias to potted herbs, adding a live plant indoors will remind you of the soon-to-come spring.



Home-Selling Tip

While there are many home improvement projects you can do yourself, there are some jobs that are best left to professional contractors. If you're dealing with electrical, plumbing, gas or structure, use a pro.

Did You Know

Sparked from the sustainable living trend, reclaimed, recycled and repurposed wood floors have become one of the hottest green design and remodeling trends. The popularity of this trend has grown from the demand for the unexpected rustic touches, warmth and story that reclaimed wood adds to your home.

Decorating Tip

Rearrange furniture for upcoming gatherings as you move from outdoor entertaining to indoors. Depending on how you like to use your space during the colder months, you can easily make a room feel more formal or more casual. Bringing in a bar cart and arranging your furniture into small group seating areas for cocktail nights, or set up a cozy spot in front of the TV for family movie time.



Garden Guide

Sometimes a sanctuary space is most needed when the moon is shining brightly. Plan for this with a lighting design in the backyard. Provide illumination to pathways, the deck area and in garden clusters to give a new sense of beauty to the plants.



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