By Helen Russell
An old Danish saying goes that it’s “better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.” During the long months of short days, this is a mantra Danes live by. In fact, the people of Denmark consume more candles per household than any other country in Europe. Good lighting, after all, is at the core of the quintessentially Danish Hygge.
Visitors to Denmark are often struck by that warm, soft glow framed in the windows of houses. How, they wonder, could this be duplicated at home. In most of the world, lamps tend to be in the middle of a room. Danes, however, use illumination artfully and to great effect—to produce dramatic pools of light, for instance, or define areas of cosiness. With a few strategically placed floor lamps, table lamps and candles, they can transform a simple room into a hygge haven. But the question remains: Which light sources exactly are the ones to look for? Here, our top five illuminators for creating a Scandi-inspired home:
1. Poul Henningsen PH5 lamp
This futuristic-looking hanging lamp was created in the 1950s to cast the perfect light for dining. Henningsen wanted a light that allowed people to see their food clearly but gave a soft enough effect to flatter diners. The multilayered result was a turning point in lighting design, and Henningsen’s PH5 is now so popular that half of all households in Denmark have one. Available through Design Within Reach and the Danish Design Store.