Using Hygge in your home design
As our lives get busier and busier and stress levels globally seem to be on the rise, the Danes have established themselves as lovers of calm and in turn, consistently top the polls as the happiest people on earth along with many other Scandinavian countries. Many people argue that this is because of Hygge, a concept that graces every walk of Scandinavian people’s lives and one that is becoming increasingly popular across Europe. So, how can you benefit from Hygge and how can you use Hygge in your home design.
What is Hygge?
Hygge (pronounced ‘Hue-Gah’) is originally a Norwegian word meaning ‘wellbeing’ that has grown into a concept, way of living and home design ideal that dates back (in Denmark) to the 18th Century. Applicable to any time and space, hygge is relevant in both winter and summer but the idea really comes alive in the harsh and bracing cold season Scandinavia is renowned for. These bleak winters demonstrate the power of hygge even further, as even in the depths of the country’s coldest months when there is very little daylight, Denmark’s inhabitants remain the world’s happiest people.
An exact translation of the word is difficult to find, with some people saying it means cosiness and others saying it means togetherness. The best way to think of it is as a feeling. It’s that warm glow you get when you come in from the cold and you sit in front of a warm fire with a mug of hot chocolate. It’s a mental state rather than a physical one and creating it can be as easy as drinking good coffee in the morning sunshine, to cuddling up under a blanket with your loved ones on a summer evening.
How do we use Hygge in your home design?
Well, we’ve seen a trend away from sparse open plan design in homes, to semi-open plan with specific areas to get cosy. Lighting is incredibly important in Hygge and it’s something that the best architects (like the ones we work with) are considering in all their designs. One of the key ideas behind Hygge is to enjoy the environment around you and nowhere is this more essential than in your home. Each home in your house needs to feature a sanctuary to sink into at any given moment. Think of things like additional floor space in your kitchen, to fit a sofa or comfy armchair as well as the kitchen table, a wood burning stove in the lounge with lovely soft throws and cushions in front of it or even a large window sill with a cushioned window seat for you to sit and reflect on a view of the garden. Hygge in your home design is about creating spaces where you can reflect and sit peacefully.
Create informal spaces to get together with friends – one of the most important concepts of hygge is to get together with close friends and loved ones in a relaxed environment. We’re seeing a move away from formal dining rooms to larger open plan kitchens with areas for large refectory tables, where everyone can get together over a good bottle of wine, accompanied by hearty comfort food and homemade bakes served in rustic earthenware.
Use textures to add Hygge in your home design and add another dimension to your interiors – think chunky knit cushions, faux fur throws, and fluffy woolen rugs. Made from the softest of materials like merino wool & cashmere, textured accessories are a huge trend for 2017 with the layering of different tactile surfaces creating a styled look in any room and when combined with a roaring fire or soft candlelight, there is no setting more hygge.
Think carefully about the lighting in your rooms, and light more candles – The Danes light more candles per head than anywhere else in Europe and it’s not hard to see why. The warm glow of a candle is difficult to replace with artificial lighting, as a result, your lighting design needs to be about creating an inviting atmosphere and developing a soft, kinder form of light that’s perfect for relaxing and socialising.
There’s nothing worse than seeing mess and clutter, so banish the clutter with well-designed storage solutions that will help you create a serene space to relax in.
Above all, Hygge demonstrates that overall wellbeing can be enhanced by making small changes to everyday environments. Hygge in your home design will allow you to take the time to revel in the tiny moments that make you smile and uplift the soul.