It seems that with every passing day we are tunnelling further down into the depths of winter! If you’re like me – a lover of light and warmth – the whole season can be a bit depressing.
These tips may help to lighten the winter gloom
Candles any Time
The Scandinavians know how to cheer themselves up in the winter and the whole concept of Hygge is embraced whole-heartedly in the Northern Hemisphere. It seems that in the UK many of us save our candles for special occasions or, at least, until the evenings. But why? During deepest darkest winter some days can seem like perpetual dusk, so why not light a couple of candles or tea lights during the day, even when working. There is, on a primeval level, something enormously comforting about a flickering flame that makes me think we’re not so far removed from our cave dwelling ancestors
Personally I find some scented candles overpowering. One sniff in a shop can’t quite display how the scent will actually be after a couple of hours’ burning at home and some can become quite nauseous. I usually burn unscented church candles and my favourites are from the St Eval Candle Company made locally in Cornwall although they also do a very subtle festive range which I really enjoy.
If you like the effect of light reflecting on snow then you will love these wax crystals that bring a magical quality to any interior. Alexander Interiors sells bags of the crystal and the wicks separately, along with containers although you don’t necessarily need to buy these as you can set these crystals up in any container provided it’s not flammable. I use a large glass bowl and pour a good amount of crystals in and add about 5 wicks. They burn for hours and it all works out very economical as the next day you just dispose of the old wicks and clumps of melted wax, top up slightly, insert fresh wicks and start again
Free Standing Uplight
I will often incorporate integral LED uplights when I do a lighting design as it adds another dimension to the lighting but if we’re doing a quick fix a free standing uplight can work wonders. If you have a dark corner which just needs some soft light why not try something like the Marasino by Astro Lighting. This is made of paintable plaster so you can paint it to blend with the room if you prefer. The shape of it means that it can be positioned so you don’t get any glare
Soft Table Lamps
Opaque globes give out a soft light and as they have become very fashionable nowadays there’s a huge range of light fittings on the market. A quick fix is to incorporate a globe table lamp and the Castore by Artemide has been a favourite of mine for years. Available in various sizes from a lovely small one, that I had in my daughter’s bedroom when she was little, to the largest version that I put in my showroom Christmas window many moons ago
I’m also mad about the Rituals range by Foscarini and love the textured light that these emit. Check out their website for more details here: www.foscarini.com
I know that so many new-build houses are so well insulated these days that they don’t really need a fireplace or wood burning stove. Personally I think it’s a pity to miss out on the sparkle of a fire even if, technically, it may not be required. A flickering flame can always lift the soul.
Check Your Existing Light Bulbs
LED lamps (bulbs) give out less light as they get older and can lose their crispness. Try putting some fresh bulbs in where required and ensure that they are a warm white – 2700K is what I generally recommend.
High lumen output lamps can be very helpful and I’ve just ordered a small portable Beurer LED Daylight SAD Light for a very reasonable price. I’ll be testing it out over the next couple of weeks and will report back when I write my next blog on how our health is affected by light.
Claire Pendarves is a lighting designer with over 20 years’ experience
Luxplan offers an online lighting design service ranging from one hour zoom consultancy – ‘Ask me Anything’ to full lighting design and specification. I design and spec; you buy independently