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…
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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