ROOMS for life

Hygge might be on trend at the mo­ment, but there’s more go­ing for the danish way of liv­ing than sim­ply be­ing in fash­ion…

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How hygge can change the way you use your home

the danish con­cept of ‘hygge’ (pro­nounced hoo-guh) is less a style of dec­o­rat­ing your home and more an ap­proach to the way you live in it. the word is ac­tu­ally norwegian in ori­gin, with a mean­ing akin to ‘well­be­ing’, but it spread to den­mark in the 18th cen­tury and has been so widely used since that it now forms a part of the danish national iden­tity. de­spite the coun­try’s long, dark win­ters, which can have a neg­a­tive im­pact on men­tal health, den­mark con­sis­tently ranks as one of the hap­pi­est coun­tries in the world.

There is no di­rect English trans­la­tion of hygge but words such as cosi­ness, con­tent­ment, charm, com­fort and sim­plic­ity to­gether give a sense of the feel­ings as­so­ci­ated with it. Hygge is a life­style in which or­di­nary mo­ments or ac­tiv­i­ties, such as curl­ing up with a good book or en­joy­ing cof­fee with a friend, are recog­nised as cause for grat­i­tude and quiet cel­e­bra­tion. The beauty of hygge is that it can’t be bought. Rather, it is a men­tal ad­just­ment, an un­plug­ging from con­stant tech­nol­ogy and rush­ing around. Hygge is slow­ing down enough to be­come aware of, and to ap­pre­ci­ate, what is sim­ple but still special.

That said, there are some el­e­ments you can in­clude in your home to in­crease feel­ings of cosi­ness and calm, and to make it more hyggeligt (hygge-like). Tex­ture is an of­ten over­looked aspect of an in­te­rior, but is one of the things that can make the big­gest dif­fer­ence to how a space feels, both lit­er­ally and metaphor­i­cally. Com­bin­ing accessories like cush­ions, rugs and throws made from tac­tile ma­te­ri­als such as fake fur, chunky knits and wool will help set the scene for mo­ments of hygge. Sub­tle, tex­tured wall­pa­per is a great way to soften walls and bring them in, mak­ing large spa­ces feel less vast.

don’t for­get about the ar­eas of your home that aren’t so of­ten ‘on show’. Soft tow­els, mats and robes for your bath­room, and bed linen that in­vites and en­velopes you, will help en­sure that you en­joy ev­ery room from the start to the end of the day. A pal­ette of muted shades with nat­u­ral wood ac­cents and com­fort­able fur­ni­ture is also in keep­ing with the danish ap­proach to dec­o­rat­ing, and to life.

Per­son­alise your walls with art, fam­ily pho­to­graphs, shelves of books or what­ever makes you smile. An in­di­vid­ual’s his­tory and taste should be re­flected in a hygge home, mean­ing there re­ally is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to dec­o­rate – if it makes you feel re­laxed and con­tent, it’s hygge-ap­proved. in­vite the out­side in with the in­clu­sion of green­ery in what­ever form works for you, whether that be fresh flow­ers, herb pots in your kitchen or fake plants (be­cause the aim is less stress, not more and if you’re not green fin­gered that’s ok too)!

light­ing can­dles with a del­i­cate fra­grance is a sim­ple, af­ford­able way to add warmth and a sense of oc­ca­sion while cast­ing a gen­tle, flick­er­ing glow over the room. lay­er­ing your light­ing with ceil­ing, ta­ble and floor lamps to cre­ate sep­a­rate pools of light through­out your space will al­low you cre­ate the ap­pro­pri­ate at­mos­phere for what­ever you are do­ing.

Hygge means that ev­ery mo­ment can be trans­formed into a special one, so there is no keep­ing of items ‘for best’. Whether you are at home by your­self or en­ter­tain­ing friends, the time to use your fa­vorite crock­ery, nap­kins and glass­ware is now. in­dul­gence, not ex­trav­a­gance, is the name of the game, so treat your­self to whole­some, nu­tri­tious food (whether home­made, shop bought or or­dered in) served in calm­ing and cosy sur­round­ings.

it might be more as­so­ci­ated with a cool Scandi cli­mate, but with 2017 see­ing the launch of the UAE’S national Hap­pi­ness Agenda, and the long awaited ar­rival of the cooler win­ter months, there is no bet­ter time to add some hygge to your home.

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03 01. H&M Home 02. Ur­ban Nest 03. Zara Home

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