In 2016, the Hygge trend took the interior design world by storm, and homeowner interest in it hasn’t dropped in the slightest ever since. A combination of coziness, conviviality, wellness, and contentment, Hygge is difficult to translate and, as it turns out, just as difficult to achieve. Although there’s no shortage of sources of inspiration and a simple Pinterest search is enough to bring up hundreds of ideas, many people misunderstand Hygge, and, no matter how much they try to recreate what they see, the results still don’t feel “homely” enough.
Why does this happen? Because, unlike most other design trends, Hygge is not just about buying stuff and placing furniture mathematically. You will not achieve Hygge by throwing fluffy rugs around the house, nor by painting all your walls white. Hygge is the first interior design trend to be connected to mental health and to get it right, you have to learn to design for health and wellbeing.
According to a recent study, we spend up to 90% of our lives indoors. However, most of us live and work in spaces that harm our health and that are not adapted to our personal needs. To truly achieve a Hygge feel, you must first talk to your designer about what home represents to you and then make changes that meet your idea of functionality and comfort.
A hygge home doesn’t just look good when photographed. It’s also pleasant to live in and boosts your wellbeing, thanks to several elements that have been scientifically proven to work:
1. Roof windows
Exposure to natural sunlight helps us sleep better, reduces stress, boosts our mood, and may even strengthen our immune systems. Contrary to popular belief, we don’t necessarily have to go outside to get our daily intake of vitamin D because you can reap its benefits by spending time in well-lit indoor spaces. Unfortunately, in 2020, when social distancing guidelines forced people to spend more time at home, it became obvious that most homes weren’t designed with light in mind and that, over time, this can affect our mental health.
Most of us live in homes with small windows and rely on artificial lighting tricks to create the illusion of bright and open spaces. Fortunately, that’s starting to change, and one of the biggest home renovation trends in 2020 was roof windows. Although installing roof windows is not the easiest interior design project, you have a lot to gain from them: in addition to making your home brighter and more comfortable, roof windows improve thermal comfort and ventilation.
2. Natural elements
One of the core principles of Hygge is to boost our connectedness with the outside world, and natural elements are vital in achieving that. Notice we said natural, not nature-inspired. Many homeowners buy artificial potted plants, cotton flowers, and leaf-print wallpapers to get the Hygge look but, while this may fool you in photos, it doesn’t provide too many wellness benefits in real life.
For a genuine Hygge feel, nothing works better than real, organic materials such as plants, branches, seashells, cotton flowers, and furniture made from real wood. Our bodies evolved to feel at their best in nature, and by bringing nature in through these elements, we can alleviate stress and restore our connection to the outside world.
Another benefit of natural elements is that they aren’t treated with Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), which leads to better air quality.
According to data from Grandview Research, the global eco-friendly furniture market is expected to reach $59 billion by 2027.
3. Tech can boost wellbeing if used wisely.
Considering Hygge’s plea for natural elements, technology shouldn’t technically be allowed. And indeed, when it’s abused, technology can become invasive and distracting, and it can cause anxiety – which is the exact opposite of how you should feel at home.
However, not all technology is bad for our wellbeing. In fact, you can include tech strategically to boost comfort. Take the smart home trend, for example. Some are against it because smart home devices make us more addicted to technology when in fact it’s the other way around.
Here are some smart devices that designers agree can achieve Hygge:
- Smart lights.Smart lights offer a series of features that boost comfort. You can adjust the light intensity and hue depending on the time of day to prevent eye fatigue and fall asleep faster, or you can set the lights to a different color depending on the purpose of the room. For example, you have set the light to have a blue-ish tint in the office during the day, to boost focus, and you can make it yellow or orange in the bedroom before bedtime.
- Smart speakers.You can use smart speakers to connect to your favorite streaming services and create the perfect ambiance at home. According to com, one of the best ways to use music for relaxation at home is to play soothing nature sounds and meditation music.
- Smart thermostats. These thermostats automatically adjust the temperature depending on the time of day and the number of people inside.
4. Multipurpose furniture
The ideal home doesn’t look the same to everyone, and, in 2020, when the boundaries between work and home became almost non-existent, designers noticed a growing need for multipurpose furniture and flexible home design solutions.
According to interior design experts, if you want your home to have a Hygge feel about it, you shouldn’t treat this as an afterthought by buying a few Nordic-inspired inspired decorations and fluffy rugs. Instead, you should define what Hygge means to you and invest in items that balance ambiance with function. For example, installing a sliding door to separate your work space from the bedroom and provide sound insulation can boost wellbeing at home by helping you disconnect. Or, if you lack space, you can set up a minimalist office that can be hidden into the wall once you’re finished working. Ultimately, the purpose of a Hygge room isn’t to fit a universal checklist but to adapt to your lifestyle and turn your house into your definition of home.