Beat the Winter Blues: 5 Scandinavian Design Tips
If you’re starting to feel like nothing but a very full, very strong pot of coffee will get you out of bed, join the choir. Holiday bills are high, the temps are low, the days short, and spring seems so far away. It’s no wonder we get a touch of the winter blues.
Nordic winters are also long, dark and brutal. Do locals dread the frigid weather? Surprisingly not. In fact, Scandinavians celebrate the frostiest season and boosting indoor coziness is a big part of the party. In fact, Norway tops the global happiness rankings moving from 4th place in 2016, up to 1st place in 2017, followed by Denmark, Iceland and Switzerland in a tightly packed bunch. So, how do they do it?
One way we’ve noticed is through their design aesthetic: creating spaces that lend themselves to happiness. Scandinavian design is generally characterized by simplicity, clean lines, and functionality. Here are 5 tips that just might help you beat back the winter blues.
#1. Maximize Natural Light.
Because it’s dark so much of the year in Scandinavian countries, natural light is an important thing to try and maximize. When thinking about your window treatments, we suggest focusing on muted, neutral tones with fabrics that are sheer or light filtering to let in as much light as possible.
#2. Big, Green, & Leafy.
How can houseplants make you feel better in winter? Plants purify stale indoor air so you can breathe easier. But their uplifting effects does not end there. Scientists say, just being around houseplants, flowers, and even artfully arranged branches (more on that later) can significantly boost your mood, reduce stress, improve concentration including ADHD symptoms, and even relieve aches and pains.
While experts have not pinned down exactly why this happens, in a nutshell, they suspect humans are hard-wired to connect with nature and other life-forms for the mutually beneficial feel-good benefits. For instance, taking care of houseplants can increase your happiness. No kidding!
#3. Add Some Wood.
Whether it’s on the floor, on the walls, used to make cupboards or toys, Scandinavian design includes a lot of wood. But not just any wood will do. In keeping with their light theme, the woods used in Scandinavian design are usually light woods, like beech, ash, and pine.
As well as having a warm appearance, it acts as a natural insulator too. Adding more wood will help create a cosy and welcoming home.
#4. Declutter Your Spaces.
Traditionally, many Scandinavian homes were very small and didn’t allow for excessive amounts of stuff. While homes are being built larger now and there’s more room for things, the idea of keeping a space free of clutter and mess has remained an important aspect of Scandinavian design. Consider getting rid of all clutter, and only keep on display those items that are a pleasure to look at. Everything else should be stored away out of sight. This alone will make for a calmer and less stressful home.
Images Via: Varpunen
#5. Cultivate Hygge.
Pronounced "hoo-ga," this Danish concept cannot be translated to one single word but encompasses a feeling of cozy contentment and well-being through enjoying the simple things in life. If you've ever enjoyed reading a book indoors on a rainy Sunday or a cup of hot cocoa on a snow day you've experienced hygge without even knowing it.
Hygge is perhaps the secret ingredient to the feel-good Scandinavian lifestyle. When it comes to thinking about your space, you should think: adding warmth through candles. Danes burn a whopping 13 pounds of candle wax a year per capita—more than any other country in the world. So turn off that unflattering overhead lamp and light some candles. Fireplaces, throw blankets, oversized sweaters and thick socks (really, anything knitted) also make things way more hygge..