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 lighting and interior designers, as well as homeowners. 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.
According to the American Lighting Association (ALA), 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.
“Lighting is a critical element for a hygge atmosphere,” says Tim Stumm, creative director for Z-Lite. “Of course, there is the warm glow of candles, but make sure you incorporate the proper lighting design using Kelvin temperatures 2400K to 2700K. These temperatures are best to create intimate, calm and the most soothing lighting possible.”
Using several light sources that scatter warm light throughout a space is the best way to create hygge. 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, diffused 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.
“A great lighting design is the quickest, easiest way to create a warm and cozy atmosphere,” says Stumm. “To ensure the best lighting design for your own hygge atmosphere, it’s best to talk with a lighting professional at an ALA-member showroom.”
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.
Find the perfect lighting to achieve hygge coziness in your home by visiting a local ALA-Member Showroom.
The American Lighting Association is a trade association representing over 3,500 members in the residential lighting, ceiling fan and controls industries in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean. Its member companies include manufacturers, manufacturers’ representatives, retail lighting showrooms and lighting designers that have the expertise to educate and serve their customers.