Mette Theilmann shares her tips on how to bring light into your home during the long dark winter months.
Yes, it’s that time of the year when we start thinking about bedtime at 4 o’clock because it gets dark so early! But maybe we can embrace and enjoy these ‘cosy’ moments by bringing light into the house when we don’t get enough of it from outside.
In Denmark we take the light very seriously - the winters can be very long and sad without it! So, the interior of a house is often well set up for the darker months. For example, my house has light, simple furniture, cream curtains, simple lighting with soft low watt light bulbs and not much on the walls. This all adds to a brighter atmosphere inside. If you are not familiar with the word ‘hygge’, then light is very central to this Scandinavian concept.
Benefits of light:
- Welcoming light is a way of bringing people together, we all gather around light like moths to a flame!
- It makes us feel good - happy and positive - when we are exposed to light.
- Light helps to make the winter cosy by creating the right atmosphere.
- I guess we see it as a way of mentally surviving the long, cold dark days so we don’t raise a nation of sad people.
Here are some tips on how to bring more light into your home:
- Fairy lights, candles, and other ambient light sources around the house. Try to have small lights in otherwise dark corners. I recommend that you use natural candles (or maybe even try to make them yourself), with soy wax and scented with natural essential oils.
- Light outside. I really like to have low energy lights outside my house. This way I am not just looking out into the darkness but can see some cosy lit areas. Make sure they are not big, bright projectors, but small, dim lights. Also, when you come home when it's dark it’s welcoming and brightens the darkness outside.
- Pick lighter colours around the house. It doesn’t have to be much. A white or beige blanket over a chair or sofa, a light tablecloth, lighter cushions etc. Every little helps.
- The same goes with the flooring. Try to have bright rugs where you otherwise might have dark floors.
- Embrace empty walls. We really don’t have to have walls covered in pictures or dark colours. Try to have more bare and simple walls and you will find it brings out the brightness in the room. Have on the wall only what you really like and what matters to you. Don’t over clutter the walls.
- Get rid of dust. This might seem obvious, but having dirty windows really blocks out any little light there might be outside. And less is more. The less ‘stuff’ you have around the house (wall hangings, objects, furniture etc.) the less dust traps you have! Also, space creates light, so if you can do some decluttering try to do that now and enjoy the feeling of brightness and lightness that it leaves. But do put what you really need or love on the walls - the things that really matter to you.
- It also helps to have light beige curtains or none at all as they do in Holland.
- Last but not least, work on the indoor lighting. Your lights should be aimed at the wall or ceiling, not on you or the furniture. Have low watt light bulbs in the areas where you want to sit and chat and relax. Natural candles can really brighten a dark wintertime. Try to dim the lighting over the dinner table and add a few real candles.
Music in your home can make the atmosphere light and brighter and affect the mood too: If we feel the dark evenings are putting us in a low mood then music can change that. Choose music that you and your family like that makes you happy and chilled. I like classical music, something calm and not too wild.
When my kids were small, we would put on music to enjoy at the dinner table. Sometimes we would just sit together in relaxed silence, eating and listening to the music. Other times we would chat about the day but a bit of music in the background can really brighten up the evening. Maybe even some music you can get up and dance around to - why not?!
Mette Theilmann is a parent and family coach, author and founder of Predictable Parenting. If you need support you can book a free discovery call or sign up for more parenting tips on her website.