the comfort things of
There are certain things in your home that are like old friends: they always cheer you up. We feel the love for a warming light or two
Scandinavians know a thing or two about lighting. They tackle being plunged into almost non-stop winter darkness by filling their homes with bright and twinkling light. Numerous winter traditions involving candles and lanterns are held to generally raise spirits. Lights (notably multi-branched candelabra during Advent) are placed in windows day and night to cheer passersby with a glowing beam.
The Swedes’ example is one we would do well to follow. Coming home and switching on the lights banishes the darkness, replacing it not just with visibility but with emotional reassurance. How you choose to light the home is worth giving some proper thought. A single overhead light is cheerless and depressing (even more so if it’s a single swinging bulb), whereas pools of localised lighting are cocooning and mood-enhancing. Rather than see each room as a single unit to be lit from one source, the way to master lighting is to think of it in terms of different zones. In the living room, for example, you may have an armchair you read in, a sofa to watch the TV from, a few pictures and plants that you would like to show off. Light each differently – a floor lamp over the armchair to read by; a table lamp beside you on the sofa; spotlights on a picture – and any bleakness is replaced by a sense of purpose and a mood-boosting atmosphere.
Advances in technology, notably dimmable switches and LEDs, mean any lighting is controllable. It has the power to affect mood like no other element of the home, whether boosting the wattage of a bulb to illuminate a dingy corner or dimming a lamp to make an area cosier.
Once you’ve got the lighting how you want it, boost it by adding things that catch the light or extend it, such as a large mirror. Finally, don’t forget the power of a simple flickering candle to bring a little magic to a gloomy corner – something Scandinavians know all about.
“Coming home and switching on lights banishes the darkness”