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Got the after-holidays blues?

Studies show that the weather can directly affect our spirits, and many of us struggle to stay upbeat this time of year. Fortunately, there is a way to beat the seasonal “blahs,” say the experts at CIL Paints: Surround yourself with uplifting colours.

“For less than $50 for an average-size room, you can bring a space to life with “pick-me-up” shades of paint such as reds, oranges, yellows and pinks,” says Alison Goldman, brand manager for AkzoNobel, makers of CIL paint.

According to a 2011 Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) study, more than half of the 1.7 million households surveyed engaged in a painting project for their home that year, ranking painting among the most popular renovation jobs undertaken in Canada.

“It’s evident from these figures that people realize that paint is a simple and inexpensive way to freshen up a home and feel better in their surroundings,” Goldman said.

“While each person’s experience with colour is unique, studies show that in general, certain colours affect people in specific ways,” said Goldman. “The colour green, for example, is popular in home décor because it evokes a sense of serenity. Yellow, red and orange also work well because they are cheerful colours that can inspire feelings of well-being and higher energy.”

To choose a colour that has a “feel-good” effect that works for you, consider what colours you tend to gravitate toward in your home and even in your wardrobe. Then think about your emotional needs. If you have a hectic life then calming, serene colours might be a good choice. If you feel down, fill your home with cheerful, energetic colours like yellow, pink or orange.

Combine grey days and frigid temperatures that tend to keep us indoors, and you have a recipe for the winter blues. This is the perfect time to be a little bold with colour to lift your spirits and update your décor.

You can certainly feel the positive vibes from the colourful room featured in the photograph. A bright colour can reflect light and visual warmth, which is a great asset in the shorter days of winter. Imagine the room in plain white and you can envision how the addition of colour can both inspire and lift your spirits.

If you can’t decide on one colour, then use two or three to give your décor an entirely new look and feel. CIL has an array of interactive colour tools at www.cil.ca to help people visualize colour choices before beginning a project.

The very act of making the decision to change your décor, and then completing a project, can evoke feelings of well-being. A fresh coat of paint in a shade you love can do wonders for both the home and psyche. In those décor changes include items that comfort and soothe, like cosy furniture throws, thick area rugs, soft bed linens, scented candles and window treatments that let the sunshine in to help ward off the gloom. Bring back a sense of warmer days by including fresh flowers, photographs of summer fun, CDs of summer sounds like birdsongs, waves crashing or night crickets (great at bedtime) to your home.

To take advantage of the winter sun you may have to rearrange your furniture. Find the spots in your home where the sunshine floods in during the shorter days so that you can be near that sunbeam while it’s available. Doing this for even short periods can help elevate your mood.

Additional lighting can also help brighten things up. When the sun sets early it’s nice to have a brightly lit room to offset the doldrums. As well, the additional lighting will help highlight your bright, new colours well into the evening.

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