Home Life: Springing Into Hygge

by Emily Kim

Room & Board’s Mark Riddle on how to incorporate the Danish trend into your home. 

Denmark is rated as one of the happiest countries in the world, and hygge might be the reason. Pronounced “hoo-guh,” this Danish word roughly translates to “coziness.”

But it’s not just one definition. Rather, it’s a concept made up of multiple components, like a candlelit family dinner, reading a book in a chair by the fire, and even having a cup of porridge from your childhood.

So how can Americans recreate this Danish trend? Mark Riddle, Room & Board design associate, says it’s more about the use of space, and not so much about objects.

At the Room & Board showroom, Riddle and other design associates focus on how customers can best utilize their space with comfort and aesthetics.

Sheepskin rugs add a cozy touch to the sensual experience of hygge. Riddle says there have been so many times when children in the Room&Board showrooms lay on top of sheepskin because they enjoy the soft texture.

“Put yourself in another person’s shoes and think how your guests would feel when they come to your home,” Riddle says. “Would they have a comfortable place to sit? Would the living room be laid out for engaging conversation? It’s [hygge] about understanding what the components are, and how they can make something enjoyable for a particular person.”

Danish winters are cold and dark, so light is an important component of hygge, Riddle explains.

“Lighting can affect how you feel about yourself and your interaction with others. You can bring natural light into the room by putting a mirror in a specific spot that reflects sunlight. Or you can put it behind a table lamp- that’s a double idea of pleasing light coming through.”

The Duo table lampshade comes in neutral colors, easily matching warm, wooden furniture and accessories.

Besides being interpersonal, hygge is a sensory experience. Soft textures like wool and sheepskin are popular for pillows, throws and blankets. But with spring coming up, Riddle suggests replacing thick fabrics with linen to achieve that same coziness.

Room & Board has introduced a new fabric called Sumner. It looks and feels like linen, but is actually made of 100% polypropylene, a stain-resistant and durable material.

Hygge is not just for the winter– homeowners can use items they already own to transition into spring.

“For that chair you like to sit in by the window to read, you can find its outdoor counterpart. If you have a deck or patio, you can recreate that same experience. Find a chair, place it there in a way so that when you read, the sun is behind you to illuminate whatever you’re reading,” Riddle suggests.

He also recommends blurring the lines between outside and inside. You can bring plants and planters inside the house and take advantage of natural light coming through the windows.

When the weather’s cold and you’re dreaming of spring, you can create your own greenhouse by bringing plants inside. You can achieve the minimalistic Danish aesthetic by transferring plants in Room&Board’s Era planters.

“You have so many opportunities for lighting and making it work for you, but it starts with understanding how you live in the space and figuring out what can compliment that,” he says.

For more hygge ideas, visit Room & Board at 1840 14th St. NW, 202.729.8300, roomandboard.com.

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