What makes you feel happy, content and eager to soak in every moment? In Denmark, they have one word for this complex feeling: Hygge. This word or the “state of mind” rather, is growing in popularity across the world, and it has even been added to the Oxford English Dictionary.
Essentially, it means creating a warm atmosphere in which to enjoy the smaller things in life with good people. The Danes are renowned for being the happiest people in the world, which is why Hygge is everywhere. It is in design, cooking and also architecture.
At Veld Architects, one of our core beliefs is to create healthy homes that heal people, which is why all our homes include biophilic design elements as these have been proven to improve human wellness. Hygge ties in so beautifully with this belief because while biophilia looks at general human health, Hygge looks at human happiness. We truly believe that health and happiness go hand in hand.
Covid-19 and lockdown have taught us that it isn’t always possible to go somewhere else to be “happy”. The role of the home is, therefore, more important than it has ever been before.
How to apply Hygge in the design of a home:
Encourage a human-nature relationship
Exposure to nature has been proven to have a positive effect on the body, mind and soul. A Hygge home will therefore aim to bring humans and nature closer together. This can be achieved through large windows that bring in natural light and frame views of the garden, indoor plants, water fountains, and stacker doors to open the house up to the outdoors.
Include natural materials
In line with the previous point, the use of natural materials like clay, wood, leather, wool, and rammed earth walls in the house help to bring the outside in and instill Hygge. That’s because humans are inherently drawn in by natural textures and colours. They have the ability to calm us down and make us feel cosy and content.
Be attentive to space, air, and light
Rooms don’t necessarily need to be small to feel “cosy” and inviting. The key is to create functional spaces where the flow of air, the fall of natural light and the space itself integrate and complement each other.
Add objects of meaning
What makes the owners of the home happy? Whatever it is, include it in the home design so as to underpin a feeling of Hygge. These objects can be included in the exterior and interior of the home in clever, practical and beautiful ways.
Hygge is about mindful living with one another and our surroundings. Doing more with less and frankly being happy with less. These are the building blocks of sustainability which is why a Hygge home will be minimalistic and energy-efficient and will include recycled, maintenance-free and/or salvaged materials.
As we head closer to winter, every household can benefit from applying the principles of Hygge and find joy in small, often insignificant things. If the people of Denmark can find happiness in winters that are encased with 17 hours of darkness every day, surely those of us living in sunny South Africa can do the same…
Join the VELD Lifestyle.
Make your next home a VELD (Hygge) home.