Create a Cozy Home with Hygge
Want to make your home as cozy, calm and relaxing as possible? Try hygge (pronounced: hue-gah), a Danish lifestyle trend that has captured the imagination of the interior design profession. More than just a décor trend, hygge is a state of mind – one of cozy contentment while appreciating the simple things that bring joy to your life.
Lighting is a key element in hygge, which takes a minimalist concept and punctuates it with warmth, texture and glow. One of the most effective ways to create a warm and cozy atmosphere is by the placement and adjustment of lighting in the home.
The gentle glow of candles, which symbolizes the hygge trend, is complemented by soft, mood-provoking electric lighting. With hygge, interiors are lit to create a pleasant ambiance. Light and shadow are equally important elements, as they contribute to a feeling of warmth and naturalness.
For hygge, use several light sources to scatter warm light throughout a space. Table and floor lamps, wall sconces, and pendant lights provide light as well as a soothing and inviting feel, giving plenty of options for different moods and settings.
Transform space with shadow and light by placing lamps in spots chosen to highlight a room’s decorative elements. Adding a few softly lit pendant lights brings a serene, diffuse glow that creates areas of darkness as well as light, increasing the sense of tranquility.
Something that won’t be found in hygge décor is harsh overhead lighting. To quote the Swedish fashion and lifestyle Youtuber Jenny Mustard: “Ceiling lighting is where hygge goes to die.”
To add a comfy, hygge-worthy glow to your home, follow these lighting tips: - Limit the use of ceiling lights. If overhead lighting can’t be replaced with lamps, install a dimmer on the ceiling light to make the room glow with warm, low light. - Select light bulbs with a low lumen number that are warm white or soft white in color. A bulb's lumen number determines how bright it is. The higher the lumen number, the brighter the bulb. Try for a comfortable brightness that still gives good visibility. - Use LED candles for a pleasant flickering glow. It is always wonderful to walk through rooms lit by the magical radiance of candlelight. - Choose LED light bulbs that can be dimmed to a warm white color temperature to create a soft aura. - Place darker shades on table lamps and floor lamps for a deep, soothing glow. - Bring the outdoors in through lighting. Heavily influenced by nature, hygge style, much like Scandinavian style lighting, nods to natural phenomenon like the colors of sunsets and wood burning in a fire. Organically shaped light fixtures, reminiscent of tree branches, and the use of natural fibers and fabrics epitomize the hygge style trend.
While cozy lighting is essential for dark winter nights, the long, light-filled summer days also harmonize with hygge. Light, in general, is critical to hygge, whatever the season.
In the summer, hygge capitalizes on outdoor living. As the sun sets, light outdoor spaces with twinkling rope lights and table lamps, pendants and chandeliers made specially to withstand outdoor conditions. Inside, use natural decorative elements and highlight them with fairy lights or electric lanterns. Take advantage of natural light flowing through the windows to create dramatic dark and light contrasts.
Place well-designed lamps and light fixtures thoughtfully throughout the space. Play around with combinations of lighting to create the perfect hygge setting for every occasion: soft summer evenings, crisp mornings, rainy afternoons, chilly winter nights.
When the light in your home is sufficiently hygge, there is a greater sense of wellbeing that leads to a feeling of pure contentment and bliss accomplished through finding pleasure in small, everyday moments.
Written by Cathy Miglorie Catozzi for the American Lighting Association