Scandinavian Interiors: The Art of Hygge

By Oliver Burns

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November 24, 2016|Trends

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  • ith the long winter nights drawing in and shorter days stretching ahead, the attraction of a warm and inviting home is all the more apparent. Scandinavian-style interiors lend themselves particularly well to this time of year with their emphasis on light, bright and welcoming spaces to counteract the cold and darkness outside. At the heart of Nordic design lies the concept of hygge; a term which derives from the Norwegian word for ‘well-being’ and the Old Norse word hygga meaning ‘to comfort’. However, this only begins to scratch the surface of everything hygge encompasses, breaching not only weather and seasonal barriers but also social ones too. Applicable to any time and space, hygge spans all seasons, but truly comes alive in the bracing cold of winter. Follow our design guidelines to creating a hyggelig home which effortlessly exudes warmth and comfort.
Image via Neptune

Scandinavian interior design has proved enduringly popular for its appealing simplicity and minimalist aesthetic. This love affair with all things Nordic is not showing any signs of abating with hygge being listed as one of 2016’s ‘words of the year’ by Collins and Oxford dictionaries. In many ways hygge can be viewed as a reaction to the times; with the modern-day emphasis on deprivation and living with less (whether that be food, exercise or the home) hygge offers an alternative that is about embracing life’s little luxuries. From slipping into a hot bath to enjoying a meal with friends around a candlelit table, the beauty of hygge is that it can be interpreted in countless ways.

Lighting is vital for dictating the mood and feel of a room, especially when natural light is at a minimum. This can be achieved through candles, a flickering fire or carefully chosen light fixtures. The aim is to try and replicate the warmth and glow of natural sources of light such as sunsets or wood and candle flames. Whereas incandescent lights measure around 3,000 Kelvin emitting a cold and sterile light, the hygge sweet-spot is much lower at about 1,800K. This type of light is dim and golden, infusing a space with a comforting glow. As such, it is no surprise that Danes burn more candles per head than any other European nation* and that 3 out of 10 homes in Denmark have a fireplace or wood-fired stove.** If your house is not blessed with a fireplace, consider investing in an iconic Danish lamp instead such as Poul Henningsen’s PH pendant light or a sculptural lamp by Le Klint for a touch of Nordic style.

Image via The Culture Trip

The brightening effect of candles or a lamp is further heightened when set against a white backdrop. Scandinavian homes often feature white walls and floors to reflect available light and increase the sense of space. To prevent the prevalence of white from feeling bare or cold, add texture and interest through an array of tactile materials. Cashmere and merino wool blankets and cushions placed alongside faux fur throws and soft rugs instantly create a relaxing ambiance. Further warmth is provided through items sourced from nature such as reclaimed wool, logs for burning and rustic arrangements of leaves, twigs and winter berries. Items of nostalgic or sentimental value complete this serene environment.

Image via Amara

If you don’t want to fully commit to a Scandinavian style home, reference the trend instead through creating a hyggekrog which roughly translates to a nook. Many Danish homes feature a bay window which has been converted into a cosy space through strategically placed blankets, cushions and candles. These corners of the home are so popular that Danish estate agents use this as a way to market the house. Table or floor lamps with parchment or cream silk lamp shades cast a flattering glow, whilst vintage-style filament lights add to the rustic feel.

Image via Pinterest 2

In our increasingly hectic lives, hygge serves as an important reminder to slow down and appreciate intimate moments of contentment in the everyday. Incorporate our suggestions to your home to maximise these moments and reap the benefits a hygge lifestyle can offer.

Composed by LE.


*European Candle Association

**Danish Ministry of the Environment


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