Lighting can make all the difference in how a space makes you feel. The Danes know this well. Difficult to translate directly into English, the Danish word “hyggelig” embodies a feeling and atmosphere in a space – coziness, warmth, low lights, candles, delight, in good company.
Rather than defaulting to overhead lights at night, I turn on a few lights depending on what I am doing, from preparing dinner to reading in bed. This is how I have lit my studio apartment:
Year Round Christmas Lights: This long string of white Christmas lights is enough to light my entire studio apartment at night, stretching from the kitchen to my bed. It’s my favorite way of lighting a space. I especially love that in England they call these Fairy Lights when it’s not Christmas time.
Kitchen Task Lighting and Paper Lantern Pendant: The most useful lighting I have is a simple string of Christmas/garden lights in the kitchen that provides under-cabinet lighting. I hung a paper lantern above my dining table for the main source of light in the kitchen. Functional decoration!
Candles: You can never have enough, and you can always find some on sale! I love working on my blog and sipping a warm cup of tea alongside flickering candles.
Accent Lamps: A lamp is an obvious way to decorate and light your space. It took me a while before I found the perfect lamp for this corner.
Accent Lamps for Reading: I directed a bright yellow IKEA desk lamp to the back wall at my bed to provide an ambient light for reading. It also dramatically lights a special work of art made by my boyfriend.
One trip to IKEA provided for most of my special lights. They have a great selection of affordable lights that look great and are energy efficient. I use CFL or LED lights whenever possible, keeping my electricity bill low.
When lighting your small space, strive for a hyggelig atmosphere!
What a fabulous post, Nicole! Our tiny apartment has REALLY poor lighting too, as a basement unit. Also its windows are in difficult locations and don’t pull as much natural light as I’d prefer. I don’t know why I’ve never thought to use string lights or spotlights. Great ideas! Thanks for this. 🙂
I got lucky, my studio apartment had it right from the start with huge, operable windows for completely natural lighting during the day. Basements can be tricky, but hey, that means more opportunities functional decorating with lights! I’m excited to see what you try!
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This is perfect! I just got a tiny place above a garage in Durham and I always ignore lighting. The ceiling lights are bright and harsh so I think I’m going to get some Christmas lights (which should be on clearance this time of year!) and string them above my couch. Also, thanks for writing about tiny living in the Triangle. I’m hoping to start a blog about living in under 400 sq ft with a 65 lb puppy! Should be an adventure 🙂
Thanks Bethany! Yes, great time of year to buy Christmas lights! Have fun decorating and lighting your new tiny place. Perhaps I can feature it on my blog sometime. I especially love that you share it with your huge pup. Definitely share your blog once you get it started!
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