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How to ‘hygge’ in your apartment

Lifestyle 18 March 2020 Read time: 4 minutes

In this current time of uncertainty, the necessity to stay in – reducing our contact with the world beyond our homes – means many of us are at home much more than we normally would be.

For this reason, its more important than ever to ensure we love our living space.

It’s no secret that Scandinavia has a long-reigning reputation for exquisite interior design. Across Australia, Nordic homes have been a source of influence for decades – we defy you to find a modern Australian apartment that doesn’t possess evidence of a trip to IKEA – and the trend isn’t going anywhere.

So, what is it about the Danish way of decorating and living that makes it so popular? Is it the high-quality materials? The soft and natural colour palette? The innovative designs disguised by simple presentation? It’s actually all of the above and one little added ingredient – ‘hygge’, the all-encompassing state of absolute comfort and happiness that lies at the very heart of Danish culture.

The word ‘hygge’ roughly translates to ‘cosy’ but, being more of a feeling than anything else, it is hard to pin down with a dictionary definition. So, we took a closer look at exactly what it is about these living habits that has had Denmark top the UN’s World Happiness Report time and time again and we found a few common traits.

In order to transform your apartment into a living space of Scandinavian serenity and achieve hygge, here’s what you’ll need to do.

1. Candles – lots of candles

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a home in the whole of Scandinavia that is plagued by bright, fluorescent lights. In Denmark, it’s all about dim, cosy lighting that warms the room and flickering candlelight romantically glowing on your coffee table. Replacing your light bulbs and starting a glorious candle collection is the first step to creating hygge in your apartment. And if your apartment allows for it, a fire lit during the winter to keep your toes toasty goes a long way.

2. Soft and snuggly textures

This part is key. Invest in some soft cushions (in keeping with the natural, Scandinavian colour palette, of course) and make sure there are a couple of blankets on your sofas so you can wrap up with a coffee and a friend. Another living room feature you’ll need is a rug – Danes tend to lean towards sheepskin and cowhide for their natural materials and colours.

3. It’s the little things

The final decorative touches will be in the smaller things which, in Denmark, happen to be very much the same in every home you visit, making them all the more easy to copy. You’ll be needing a collage of black and white family photos hung on your wall, a trio of Georg Jensen clocks and weather stations and this season’s trending candlesticks to hold your many candles, of course (you wouldn’t want to be seen without these).

4. Wardrobe of comfort 

In order to truly experience hygge, you’ll need to make sure your entire being is fully at ease. We’re talking luxury winter PJ sets, woolly cardigans (not the scratchy kind), dressing gowns, indoor slippers, fuzzy socks, the lot. If you don’t feel like you’ve reached the epitome of comfort and snugness yet, you’re due another trip to the shops.

5. What’s on the inside counts

Now that you feel like you’re walking on a cloud, it’s time to really bring hygge to the table. The Danes eat more than twice as many sweets as the average European. Part of hygge is about indulging in life’s comforts – and what’s more comforting than comfort food? Get the freshly baked cinnamon buns out of the oven and heat up some gløgg (that’s mulled wine to you and me) on the hob and you’ll be at risk of being altogether mistaken for a happy Dane.

Now that you’ve infused your apartment with hygge, it’s time to invite your friends and family over to bask in its lusciousness. 

To learn about IKEA's furniture buy-back scheme, click here. 

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