Light is very, very important in hygge. Its role cannot be stressed enough since light can have such an impact on the overall mood of your entire home while also relaxing you and allowing you to unwind.
However, keep this in mind: hygge originated in Denmark which, in winter, has several months where there are only a few hours of actual daylight, and this means the Danes have had to turn to alternative options for the sake of light.
Light is capable of bringing a sense of magic to the home. It can illuminate. It can bring comfort. It can completely change the mood and atmosphere of a room or even just a corner. It can also be used to differentiate between spaces that are for different purposes.
In other words, light is more powerful and useful than you may have initially thought.
Once again, we will look at examples to stress what you should be hoping to achieve with light. You want to create that cozy and comfortable atmosphere as much as possible, don’t you?
Light and Leading into the Home
The art of hygge and your home begins from the moment you walk toward your house. How inviting does it look? Is the front dark and, to be frank, scary, and intimidating?
Well, if it is, then you are missing the point already.
Walking up to your home should result in your house is well lit making it more appealing to guests. It should have an outdoor light at the front door that is also not too strong, giving it a warm glow. It’s the kind of light that makes people feel welcome, while also giving your home the appearance of being alive. That, in itself, is a huge part of this entire process.
Also, as you enter your home, what would be the better option? A dark hallway waiting for you to remove your shoes and coat before you venture forth? Or, you open the front door and are welcomed by a warm space alongside a gentle light that provides a glow and a certain degree of richness?
The second one is the most appealing for the majority of people, and you have to think about how it makes you feel about the rest of your home. It should, by all accounts, make it easier to appreciate being home and that you have moved into your own space. It’s amazing the difference in feelings that you can have just by using light at this point.
But let’s move into other rooms of the home and look at how light can have a profound impact on the atmosphere.
Bright Light is Not Always Good
Too often, we have this mistaken belief that everything in our homes should be well lit, resulting in us sitting in a room that resembles the light in a sports stadium. However, the Danes do not entirely agree with this approach, and they have their own opinion of how light works in a home.
The one thing that they do love is natural light flooding in. There will often be light-colored furniture, or mainly white, to allow the light to bounce off the surfaces and further illuminate the room. Windows can be large and uncluttered to allow the maximum amount of light to shine in for as long as possible.
However, things will often change when it comes to dark evenings or while entertaining. At that point, light is not seen as being a functional tool to help you to see, but rather a tool to help add a certain ambiance to the room. This is something that the Danes have perfected over the years, and it is down to a fine art.
To copy their approach, you need to study your lighting in each room. How many lights you need and how strong the wattage of the light bulbs can vary according to the size of the room, but you are going to find out that you need less than you initially thought.
Adopting the Hygge Lighting Methods
To perfect the hygge lighting methods and to then create a wonderful atmosphere in your home, you must begin by turning on the various lights as you would normally do. After this, step back for a moment and observe the room. What do you see?
With this, you need to be able to stand back and look at the direction of the light. How much of the space does each light illuminate? Is it harsh or soft? What is the purpose of the light in its current position?
You need to become aware that the Danes will tackle light from a completely different perspective. They don’t see it as just being a way to illuminate a room. Instead, it’s more about using it cleverly to enhance what is already there and to create a cozy and comfortable atmosphere.
They are still going to have those high wattage bulbs, but they are not the main light source and are merely there if required. They much prefer either lower wattage bulbs, fairy lights, and they are the biggest purchasers or candles in the world, which also tells you something else about their most preferred light source.
Also, a light needs to have a purpose, which is a recurring theme throughout this book, rather than just being stuck in the middle of the room and attempting to light every single corner at the one time.
However, how light is applied to your rooms can be rather specific, so it’s best we check that out next.
Applying it to Your Rooms
The Danish idea is to create special areas in the room due to light and that’s easier to do than you may have been expecting. Once again, if we can think of the living room as an example, remembering that the same ideas can indeed be applied throughout the home.
To correctly apply lighting in the living room, you have to stand back and view the room as a whole. Look at the shape of it and where all of the items in the room are positioned. Also, you must think about the purpose of the room as this ties in with the kind of feelings and atmosphere that you will want to create. As light is playing a central role in this, it makes sense to have a firm idea of this before you begin.
The main things that you will be using in this instance are; small lights with lower wattage bulbs, candles of various sizes, and also fairy lights. You might even lights that can stick onto furniture and are powered by batteries. This mixture of lighting can add something else to the room, so mixing and matching them makes sense.
With the living room, you may have a favorite spot where you sit and read, so for this, hygge would essentially demand that you have a light near that spot that is not too bright, but also not too dim to allow you to do this. You should be able to reach the light to switch it on and off when required since the ease of access concept is also very important.
There is also the sense of the correct placement of lights elsewhere. Candles on the fireplace can add a certain sense of warmth and delicacy to the room, as well as providing that cozy feeling that you should be seeking. Besides, adding candles to the top of a table rather than a lamp, or having the ability to switch between the two, can also make a difference. You may also find that placing candles by the window for those dark evenings adds a healthy glow to the room that is both warm and inviting.
It is also an option for you to look at furniture and how it can be softly lit to brighten up those dark corners. Once again, you don’t want to just have a lamp as an option as versatility and the ability to change the atmosphere is an important part, so you may wish to consider using lights that are battery powered and draping them over objects to bring light to those dark spaces. Doing that in various areas of the room can just add some life without it being overpowering, resulting in the perfect atmosphere.
Considerations for Other Rooms
Now we will move away from the living room for just a moment and consider the other rooms in the home and how different lighting can be used for various purposes.
The bathroom really should provide you with the opportunity to change the lighting depending on your needs. At times, brighter lights are required for the sake of personal grooming, but even with this, there are ways in which you can alter your approach.
For the Danes, this could involve not using the bright overhead light, but rather having a mirror with lights around it so you can still see what you are doing. They will also try as much as possible to have a bathroom with a window to allow natural light to come in, which is no surprise considering the role it plays in hygge in general, as well as using candles. This will allow you to create a relaxing atmosphere in the bathroom.
The bedroom is another important room where lighting is going to be key. The Danes don’t generally believe in using bright lights as the bedroom is a place to rest and be comfortable, and strong lighting doesn’t tend to lend itself to that.
With this room, they will usually have small bedside lamps with low wattage. You might want to take things further and use lamps that have various settings that alter the brightness. This provides you with the opportunity to change the light according to the atmosphere that you wish to create.
Even the kitchen is not exempt from this attempt at lighting and, yet again, there has to be some kind of balance between safety and providing atmosphere.
One thing that Danes do is have the main light as well as other, softer lights in darker corners. They may even apply lights underneath cupboards to shine down on worktops with these being softer but just being enough to add a warm glow to the room.
The Conclusion on Lighting
The point we are making here is that the Danes believe in the power of light to do more than just allowing you to see in a room when it’s dark outside. They believe that it can change a room and set the scene, whether the goal is relaxing or entertaining.
What you must do is assess your lighting situation. Throw out the majority of those bright bulbs and lights that dominate, and replace them with light sources that are softer and more pleasant to sit around.