Copenhagen has long been revered as a leader in quality design, from its 1950s Danish Modern furniture and lighting influences to its focus on unique contemporary architecture. It’s no mystery that this city knows its way around beautiful design. But what makes Copenhagen truly unique is the wave of cultural influence to live and breathe good design every single day.
At first, it was hard to believe that a place with more dreary, dark days than sunny ones could be considered the happiest city in the world. But after visiting Copenhagen, I’m a believer. In fact, I’ve begun implementing aspects of their customs, as a way to create a well-lived, happier lifestyle.
So how does Copenhagen do it? The simple answer: quality of life. The focus on good design is subtle, but pervasive. Each thoughtful design element adds up, making every experience you have comfortable and more enjoyable overall.
One of the first things I noticed about the city was its color palette. Beautiful pastels and warm muted tones are liberally scattered throughout apartment buildings, restaurants and street corners. These colors create an immediate sense of happiness, calm and peace. Copenhagen has minimal billboards, and is highlighted instead with great typography, greenery and architecture.
Light is also a huge component of life in Copenhagen. It was difficult not to be completely awestruck by the strategically placed and beautifully designed lighting that is prevalent throughout the city. Seemingly every home, restaurant and shoppe has drool-worthy lighting. The presence of the golden age of Danish design and its famous contributors–Arne Jacobsen, Poul Henningsen, and Verner Panton–continue to be a powerful influence in the city’s everyday culture.
Light not only plays a part inside the home, but outside as well. The street lights in the city are stylish and industrial, but also extremely functional. By using LEDs, the city cuts down on energy costs, while simultaneously adding extra brightness for the many cyclists using the streets.
Copenhagen wouldn’t be a design leader without the idea of thoughtfully organized spaces. Danish culture believes that a beautifully crafted environment makes life better. From the shared courtyards and green spaces to the easily accessible parks and waterways–even the ways that people create their own spaces in the home–every aspect is designed with thought, care and function.
So, how can we implement these ideas into our everyday lives outside of Copenhagen?
- Think about adding warm tones and pastel colors into your home’s interior. An accent wall is a good place to start, and has the ability to create a welcoming feel while also adding subtle elegance and interest to a space.
- Strategically place lighting in your home to enhance form, function and comfort. Focus on smaller pools of light to really capture the hygge effect. And, don’t be afraid to splurge on well-designed lighting; it will go a long way in the overall design of your home.
- Think about how a space feels (or how you want it to feel), and create a space that is representative of all the things you love. Improve traffic with a thoughtfully planned layout. Make frequently used items more accessible with mindful storage and organization solutions. All of these are simple ways to make a space feel better overall. And when a space is designed with more careful attention, and feels better, it eventually leads to a more balanced, productive and peaceful life overall.
The essence of a good life is found in balance, and in making yourself feel fulfilled. How will you add balance and fulfillment to your life? Share in the comments.