We’ve all heard of, and practiced, eastern home design principles like Vastu Shastra, Feng Shui and Wabi-Sabi. But the West too can teach us a thing or two about holistic home decor that helps us stay happy and healthy. Here are some cool trends that are super hot this year.
Hygge, Lagom, Friluftsliv, Fika, Niksen? Sound Greek to you? Well, European all right, but more up north perhaps. As the world struggles to survive the pandemic and return to normalcy, wellness home design concepts such as these are gaining converts by the droves. They may have different names but all point to the same principle — an improved quality of life.
Derived from an old Norwegian word meaning “wellbeing,” this is not only an important part of Danish culture as a minimalistic interior design style, but it has also gained huge popularity across the world.
Embodying the feeling of being content while enjoying life’s simple pleasures, it celebrates the values of home, hearth and the togetherness that bring us comfort and joy.
How to achieve hygge? Spend time with family, invite friends for dinner and get rid of distracting clutter. Besides that, the most important aspects of hygge decor are natural elements and neutral colour schemes—white walls or warm neutrals create a calming canvas, accompanied by natural elements such as wood, bamboo and plants.
Mood lighting is another big factor, as are scented candles, throw pillows and area rugs. Indeed, the Danes are considered the happiest people on earth, so it’s definitely worth taking a page from their hygge book.
Many see this design trend as the Swedish spin on Danish hygge. Rooted in the Swedish idea of “just right,” it’s about focusing on needs rather than wants and knowing when you have enough. So, rather than blind accumulation, lagom emphasises buying only the items you need to live. Yes, it focusses on decluttering, but no, it doesn’t mean Spartan living. It means you need to feather your nest with a soft, comforting vibe without over-decorating and over- accessorising. Part of lagom is connecting to nature, so do that by bringing plants indoors or capturing the view outside with big windows.
Incidentally, scientists have found a connection between acquisition and unhappiness, and the Swedes are certainly proponents of quality of life over material accumulation, and about being present in the moment rather than obsessing about what to buy or do next.
This Welsh term has a variety of English translations, the most common of which is “hug” or “cuddle,” and the Welsh use it to describe an act of love, comfort and coziness. Cwtch also translates to “cubbyhole” or “cupboard,” as the feeling of cwtch means to be surrounded by something or someone for safety.
Cwtch design, therefore, invites an element of comfort and familiarity into your home. Traditional and historical pieces are particularly relevant as decorators look to the past for inspiration. Plush furniture, antique decorative objects and deep-seated couches are just some of the items commonly seen in the homes of cwtch-embracing tastemakers.
A Swedish term meaning to “have a coffee,” fika represents the purest form of enjoying coffee, cake or any other tasty treat. It is focused on the experience of taking the time to fully appreciate a great cup of coffee with friends, family and colleagues. In a world where many of us end up quickly grabbing a cup before we rush out again, fika stands for a leisurely and enjoyable approach to connecting with people through food and drink.
Simply having a cup of coffee is not enough, it’s about making time for a quality break, full of your favourite drink, food and company. It could be in a cafe, in your garden or even over Zoom.
What’s even better? When it’s drunk out of a handmade mug that’s a work of art worthy of display on your kitchen shelves. Yes, make the effort to switch your regular basic crockery for something made with love, likely by hand at the potter’s wheel.
This Norwegian word coined by playwright Henrik Ibsen loosely translates to “free air life” or “open air living.” It describes the joy and contentment that comes from outdoor living and finding opportunities to socialise, exercise, play and dine outdoors.
Really, it’s no secret that getting outside is good not just for your physical but also your mental health—from the serotonin-boosting effect of sunlight exposure to the impact of a walk around your local park, many wellness experts have testified to the increased contentment, decreased stress and soul-stirring satisfaction we get from spending time outdoors. You can bring friluftsliv into your home’s outdoor spaces by kitting them out with bonfire pits and barbecue stations and encourage as many al fresco meals as the weather permits.
Unplugging, daydreaming, allowing yourself the opportunity to be still, this Dutch practice is basically about doing nothing, and most importantly, without having any purpose. As a consequence, niksen rooms inside homes have become a trend—a private, designated, sanctuary-like space away from media, televisions, charging stations and distractions where you can indulge in intentional purposelessness that can be as simple as sitting in a chair, looking out a window, and just letting the mind wander.
So, from a design perspective, a niksen room entails a number of performance home attributes— climate control, acoustics, lighting, and of course, clean air methodologies. Colours need to be calming and soothing and furnishings as pared down as possible. A daily dose of niksen will help you combat the stresses of daily life, and according to researchers, it’s just one way of creating a happy home.