Lighting options in Nordic minimalism

"The Plane", our bi-directional luminaire with a minimalistic style free hanging in front of a window
Nordic minimalism, a combination of Nordic style and minimalism, is quickly becoming one of the most sought after interior design concepts globally. With strong roots in Nordic practicality and the desire for harmony with nature, the concept is all about simplicity, functionality. Lighting options combine Nordic design hallmarks such as light colour palettes and natural materials to create ultimate comfort in the home.  

What is Nordic minimalism?

When one thinks of Nordic or minimalist interior designs, one immediately thinks of the clean lines, quality materials, and sleek layouts that radiate peace and harmony. Nordic minimalism combines Nordic style and minimalist design, essentially taking the best of both worlds, and many perceive these two styles as nearly the same due to their overlapping characteristics. However, they also have their fair share of differences.  

Where did Nordic minimalism come from?

Nordic interior design has been around for nearly a century. It first originated in the 1930s within the Nordic countries of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden. The rise of minimalism began three decades later, in the early 1960s in New York, when artists participating in the Abstract Expressionist movement started looking for a new direction. The signature Nordic minimalist style we see today — white walls, wooden floors, and airy spaces flooded with natural light — emerged in the same decade and celebrated ever since.  

Making the distinction between Nordic and minimalist

As Nordic design favours simplicity and open atmospheres instead of excess and cluttered spaces, there is overlap with minimalist design. However, they vary in their visions, shown mainly through their different uses of colours and materials. Nordic designs favour practicality. In this case, it translates to a light colour palette of whites, creams, greys, and browns to keep interiors bright due to the region’s long periods of winter. They also favour open spaces and rely on natural lighting to make the space feel brighter. But when there is no natural light, rooms can be illuminated with minimalist lighting fixtures. Nordic designs do not shy away from contrasting accents of colour that can provide some depth and uniqueness to the space. Whether a mustard yellow sofa or a forest green rug, these items stand out without overwhelming the space. Nordic designs also incorporate earthy materials, such as wood, into furniture, and they favour softer textures such as woven knits and linen to create a cosy atmosphere. On the other hand, minimalist designs often favour a uniform colour palette such as black and white, and they enforce empty walls and blank space symbolically. In minimalism, this is to create an open mind so that new ideas can spring forth. Minimalist interiors incorporate high-quality furniture made from sleek and durable materials such as steel and chrome. In Nordic minimalism, there is an emphasis on practicality combined with naturalness. Notably, there is an emphasis on light.  

The role of light in Nordic minimalism

Nordic minimalist designs favour openness and transparency. In the winter, when there are long periods of darkness, lighting is more important than ever for practicality and personal well-being. Generally, indoor lighting is separated into two categories: natural light and artificial light. Nordic designs prioritise natural light, and interiors often have large, unobstructed windows, skylights, and glass doors. This allows light to penetrate each room during the day, and white walls reflect light to ensure each space is as bright as possible. When natural light is not available, artificial light steps in to take its place. Nordic designs favour minimalist lighting fixtures that will work in harmony with the rest of the furniture in the room, and there is a big focus on simplicity and functionality. These considerations are reflected in the user’s choice of light fixture material and bulb hue.  

Minimalist lighting options

There are three general areas of lighting to consider when decorating a home — ambient, task, and accent. Users can also consider additional details to transform these options and help each light fixture stand out as distinctly Nordic and minimalist.

Soothing ambient lighting fixtures

Ambient lighting lights up a room uniformly. It is usually the primary light source in the space, illuminating the room from the ceiling or a great height on walls. A popular ambient lighting option is a pendant light suspended from the ceiling and enclosed by a shade. To give pendant lights a more Nordic feel, users can opt for simplified versions of traditional lighting fixtures, such as chandeliers made of paper instead of glass. The material changes the whole atmosphere of the room, and a choice of warm white light further cosies it up. Alternatively, users can choose recessed ceiling and wall lights in a similar warm hue. Their sunken nature means they are not intrusive and will not disturb the clean lines of the room.

Focused task lighting fixtures

Task lighting focuses its beams on a specific area so that a user can accomplish a task, such as reading, working on the computer, or cooking. As Nordic minimalism celebrates brightness, users can place floor and table lamps next to sofas and on desks and cabinets. They can also equip lights with cool white bulbs to increase concentration and efficiency. Light, native woods such as birch and pine can be used in the supporting frames for the lamps in true Nordic style.

Cosy accent lighting fixtures

Accent lighting’s most significant function lies in enhancing the aesthetics of a room. They can be used to highlight decorations and objects or be a point of interest themselves. To create a comfortable atmosphere, light fixtures such as lighting strips and lamps may come in decorative table lamps made out of natural bamboo, wood, and even softer textures such as wool, linen, and felt. These fixtures can also come in more striking colours that stick to the Nordic minimalist and earthy style. These colours include walnut brown, forest green, and rosewood pink, and they can serve as a pop of colour against the room’s overall palette of muted neutrals.  

Minimalist LEDs with a Nordic feel

As Nordic design favours naturalness and harmony with nature, it only makes sense to employ minimalist LEDs due to its environmental advantages over traditional lighting solutions such as incandescent and fluorescent lights. Eco-consciousness is close to our hearts at LED iBond. We are an active contributor to four of the United Nations Global Goals, and we are committed to using our innovative and sustainable lighting technology for the good of ourselves and our planet. Additionally, the unique benefits of LEDs give them a competitive edge in fitting in with Nordic minimalism, thanks to LEDs’ long lifespan, small size, and availability in different shades of white.

LEDs have a longer lifespan

The average lifespan of an LED light source is 50,000 hours each, which is almost six years of continuous use. At LED iBond, our patented thermal management technology doubles this length, giving our light sources a 100,000-hour lifespan or over a decade of continuous use. Even when lights are on for long periods during the shorter days of the year, as experienced by the Nordic nations, there is no need to worry about light sources burning out quickly. The low replacement rates of LEDs help Nordic minimalists maximise their use of time and energy on other activities, making them the most practical lighting solution.

LEDs are most compact in size

One of the key principles of Nordic minimalism is its favour for functionality, and the compact size of LEDs is a big benefit in curating minimalist lighting.  At only 5mm, users can integrate LEDs into their lighting fixtures at home in various ways without bulkiness. Thanks to our LEDs’ superior thermal management abilities, they also have low heat output, meaning they will not be a hazard when placed closely together. This gives users great freedom in customising their minimalist lighting fixtures to their hearts’ content.

LEDs come in different hues and brightness levels

LEDs can also enhance users’ well-being by adjusting to their needs 24/7, as they come in different hues and can be toggled between brightness levels when installed with a dimmer. LED white lights come in cool, natural, and warm whites. Users who crave daylight simulation in the evenings can receive this from lamps and overhead lights with natural white LEDs. Those who want to focus on a task can opt for a cool white light, and a warm white light can be used to create a cosy living atmosphere.  

Incorporation with technology

Nordic style lighting options may be modest and minimalist in design, but they are anything but old-fashioned. Our products on offer are incorporated with full Internet of Things (IoT) technology so that they can be hooked up to connected lighting systems to increase convenience and functionality. With our TRACY® open platform, fixtures can output electricity and light, and users can connect sensors, speakers, and chargers and monitor all their devices simultaneously through their smartphone or tablet.  

Get in touch

Nordic minimalism is becoming a popular interior design choice not just in the Nordic nations but worldwide. As we move towards a more sustainable future, declutter your home and give yourself greater peace of mind by implementing our sustainable LED lighting options. For more information on our minimalist lighting fixtures or if you have enquiries on custom lighting designs, please email info@ledibond.com or call +45 7070 7855.

Lighting options in Nordic minimalism