After summer’s deliciously long, sunshine-filled days, the arrival of winter’s dark afternoons and chilly, lengthy evenings can be hard to digest. Nothing remedies flagging spirits like embracing cosiness. Transforming your home into a winter sanctuary – full of warmth, comfort and cheer – starts with elevating your lighting.
“Every room should have a mix of lighting. Whether you are designing a warm and relaxing space for the evenings, carving out a nook bright enough for reading, or working from home, the key is to balance these layers of lighting to help bring a room to life and emphasise different aspects of a scheme for different purposes,” says Suzanne Duin, founder of Maison Maison – a global destination for bespoke lampshades.
Resist the urge to immediately flick on glaring overhead lights. Home shouldn’t feel stark and blinding like an Apple store. Instead, embrace layered lighting – the combination of multiple, varying sources of light which, when put together, cast a pleasing glow around a room. These could include an ornate, Rococo-style, gilt chandelier hanging from the ceiling, combined with a couple of sconces with endearingly petite, hand-woven lampshades on either side of a mirror, and a floor lamp with a curved brass stem, which softly illuminates a dim corner.
“Think of lighting like the sun. Big and bright in the day, then gradually becoming lower and softer by night,” advises Niki Wright, co-founder of lights&lamps, an ever-evolving curation of design-led lighting for every room in the home. “When ceiling lights are no longer needed to see by, switch to more subtle table and floor lamps. Imitating the setting sun organically transitions your living space throughout the day, bringing peace and calm before bed.”
Beyond basic function, a well-considered fixture’s design has the power to transform the way a space is lit altogether, altering moods and adding a dose of personality to a room’s design. For instance – along with its taupe, ribbed concrete base and aged-brass accents, lights&lamps’ Avero table lamp features a wide-profile linen shade and a top diffuser, which soften the bulb’s brightness, casting the room in a warm and tranquil glow.
Alternatively, the brand’s Orta table lamp exudes Scandi elegance, with its minimalist, clean lines. The white, shallow-cone-shaped brass shade beautifully focuses the amber light onto the table and the wall behind. Niki recommends layering several table lamps at different heights around a room for peak cosy ambience.
Dimmable bulbs are also key. Operational by app or via voice-activated technology (“Hey Alexa, turn on the lights!”), intelligent lighting systems such as Philips Hue and 4lite elevate this further, with wellness in mind. They allow users to sync illumination to their circadian rhythms, with colours that mimic the sunrise in the morning for a refreshing wake-up. Then, the bulbs slowly brighten to encourage energy in the daytime, and finally, they dim and warm up to soothe the eyes and promote relaxation in the evening.
Kate Baker, light and wellness adviser at 4lite, explains: “The reduced levels of sunlight [in autumn and winter] may disrupt your body’s internal clock and lead to feelings of lethargy. For some, this can even be a contributing factor to seasonal affective disorder.” She continues: “Our body clock develops over a lifetime, using the colour of the light around us to tell the difference between daytime and evening.” Smart lighting can be used to help regulate this.
Lastly, let’s go back to basics. We can’t forget a candle’s humble but mighty, glimmering light. For those winter nights when you need a double shot, look no further than Malin + Goetz’s Dark Rum three-wick supercandle. The vessel, which is an object unto itself, is crafted from a heat-resistant, amber-coloured glass that (oh so aptly) gives a nod to the soft geometry of a bauhaus lamp.
The bestselling scent is sweetened with ripe plum and crisp bergamot, while notes of leather, rum, and creamy milk are blended into an intoxicating mix. The fragrance is inspired by the old-world bay rum first loved by sailors travelling through the Caribbean. Capturing the essence of long days spent in the tropical sun and late nights with friends, this candle practically summons balmy, brighter days.
Join our commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies