The keys to Nordic decoration to create a happier home

The same for a dinner with friends as for an evening of movies and a blanket, our house is our refuge. What can we do to improve its appearance and give us that peace we need with just a small investment?

 To achieve this feeling of well-being and comfort and improve our quality of life, architecture, decoration, furniture, lighting… can help us. Thus, hygge becomes the art of creating a welcoming atmosphere. Small changes, like lighting candles at dinner, can lead to big changes, like your teens talking more and not getting up as quickly after gobbling down their food. These are some of the basics that Meik Wiking compiles in the book to increase the pleasant sensation of living in our home.

The sunlight

Coming from a Nordic country where daylight hours are scarce for much of the year, it is natural that the sun is the most precious asset in a house . Location, location, location, says Wiking. And lighting. Following the trajectory of the sun, looking for the best orientation to take advantage of it is the key: the office where you work should be where the light enters in the morning; the table for lunches and dinners taking advantage of the afternoon sun… And also eliminate the elements that hinder your entrance: plants, curtains, furniture that block the windows. And white walls and mirrors that reflect it and extend its beneficial action in the rooms and corridors. “Behave like a cat. If there is a ray of light, sit there,” he advises.

And artificial light

The Danes know a lot about SAD, seasonal affective disorder , which is characterized by a depression that occurs annually, coinciding with the months of darkness. Sometimes it is treated with phototherapy, exposing yourself to a strong light for a few minutes each day. And they have thoroughly studied the effects of lighting. For example, in children, turning on a light bulb draws attention to the table, encourages concentration, emits a warmer light and creates an atmosphere of trust that makes them feel at home .

Wiking establishes four aspects that we can work on when lighting a room .

  1. The temporal pattern is how to use the lights at different times of the day.
  2. The spatial pattern leads us to choose one light or another depending on the function of a certain room. Whiter or brighter in an office or in the kitchen, more subdued in the living room.
  3. The light spectrum and light level are also important. Sometimes a room has different functions and a lamp that in the office is perfect for dining or having a wine, does not give enough light to later wash the dishes. That is why it is convenient to mix different lamps and types of lights creating what are called corners or “islands of light”.

 Add spaciousness, not space

Studies carried out by the Happiness Institute show that the number of square meters influences less than the perception of space in the satisfaction that some people have with their homes. A big house can look messy and small while a smaller one can look spacious. What matters is not the objective size of the house, but the subjective feeling of lack of space.

How to use design to feel happier?

  1. Select the furniture according to the size of the room.
  2. Consider that a space can be multifunctional.
  3. Open it as much as possible to natural light.
  4. Think in cubic meters. Take advantage of the heights to place shelves or a raised bed.
  5. Use sliding doors.
  6. Something goes in, something goes. Avoid the accumulation of useless objects.

Avoid the call effect

It is the so-called Diderot Effect: buying something new can lead to creating a circle of consumerism that makes us unhappy because we want more things that your old self did not need to be happy. Hygge is precisely about living a good life with little. He avoids storing junk. But neither is it an extreme minimalism that gives a feeling of coldness or emptiness in the house. “Plants give life. Books allow exploration and contemplation. Rugs and paintings provide warmth and texture…”. It is about applying the human scale.

Green areas

An outdoor space in the city is a treasure. Even if it is a minimal terrace with some pots that protect the area. And if you can’t, at least you have to have a variety of indoor plants in the rooms. There are convincing studies, says the author, that show that, in hospitals, viewing scenes of green or natural spaces can reduce pain and stress, avoiding its negative effects on the immune system.

Enjoy the process

In hygge calm is key. And understand that happiness does not have to have a price. You can live a good life on a tight budget. For example, knowing that your pantry and fridge are well stocked with homemade preserves and jams and that there is enough wood in the woodshed to keep the fireplace going all winter gives a lot of peace. Food waste is not hygge.

Fill the house… with people

To have a happy life, it is not enough to be calm and secure: we need others: love, relationships, self-esteem and self-realization. A home is not four walls and a roof, it is the people who inhabit it. An example is promoting family lunches and dinners, related to a higher educational average among adolescents, a stronger feeling of belonging and a lower rate of obesity, for example. The table is the place that connects you with loved ones , where you talk about the good and the bad, where you enjoy quality time. And an idea: “That there is always a free seat at the table, so that a newcomer can join the group”.