This article orginially appeared on Houzz.com.
After the festivities of the holiday season have passed, it’s common for a case of the blues to settle in, with a few months’ wait until spring arrives. If this syndrome calls at your home, combat it by treating yourself to a gift of flowers. And since so much time is spent in the kitchen, it’s where you’re likely to get the most enjoyment from a cheerful arrangement.
A simple galvanized tin bucket filled with several gladiolus stems of varying colors is sure to brighten any day. Luckily, these flowers tend to be available throughout the year at many grocery stores and floral shops.
Tip: While the typical vase life is six to 10 days for gladiolus, a few steps will ensure that the blooms last as long as possible. Flowers have the best chance of remaining fresh if the stems are cut on a slant with a sharp knife and plunged immediately into water. (The immediate part is to prevent an air bubble from forming near the cut that may keep water from traveling up the stem.)
What flowers are available during these months depends largely on the region you live in and the stores you frequent. Many rose varieties are seen during the winter months in a wide range of colors, and should a bunch grab your eye, don’t hesitate to treat yourself to a bouquet.
Tip: Remove any leaves that would otherwise fall beneath the water line, but leave the thorns since removing them shortens the life of the flower.
Hydrangeas are another flower that tends to be found year-round at floral shops, and if properly taken care of, they’ll last for an extended period.
Tip: Consider drying a bouquet of hydrangeas for an arrangement that will brighten a room for months. One popular method is to put the stems in a deep vase of water, set it in a cool, dry area away from direct sunlight and simply let the water evaporate. This will take 10 to 30 days, but once the water is gone, the blooms should be dry.
If one vase of flowers is good, several in front of the kitchen window multiplies the cheer.
Tip: To keep cut flowers fresh longer, make your own preservative, similar to the ingredients in those little packets often included with a purchase from a florist. Fill a large vase with about a quart of warm water, adding 3 tablespoons sugar and 2 tablespoons white vinegar. The sugar nourishes the flowers, while the vinegar inhibits bacterial growth in the vase.
Related: How to Make Cut Flowers Last Longer
For additional color, set out bowls of fresh fruit in a coordinating hue for an extra dose of happy — and then make sure to eat the vitamin-rich fruit to help ward off winter colds and the flu.
Tip: If there’s room, put your bouquet in the refrigerator overnight. Florists do this to help lengthen the life of an arrangement.
Branches tend to last much longer than freshly cut flowers, so be on the lookout for available options at your favorite floral shop. Sweet huck and winterberry branches have bright red berries and will look pretty for weeks.
Tip: Simply changing the water in the vase every few days will go a long way in preserving stems and branches.
As another alternative to flowers, look for large leaves to display in a vase. They offer a cost-effective way to bring life to a room during gray winter months and can last a long time.
Related: Fill a Beautiful, Brand New Vase
Yet another option is to bring home a potted plant that blooms. This easy-to-grow geranium is a good choice and, with adequate light, has the potential to flower throughout the year.
Fragrant paperwhites are popular in winter and bloom from bulbs. Plant the bulbs anytime from early fall through winter and expect to see blossoms four to six weeks later. To prolong their prettiness, place the plant out of direct sunlight once blooms appear.
Vases of sunflowers and snapdragons are lovely in a kitchen already cheerful at any time of year with its bright cabinetry and trim. Inspired to paint something this cheery yourself? The paint is Babouche by Farrow & Ball.
Blooming lilac on an island painted in a similar (custom) color looks downright joyful in what can only be described as one very happy-looking kitchen. Spending any amount of time here surely would chase away the winter blues!