5 ways your interiors can make you happier
The latest Scandi lifestyle trend to arrive on British shores is ‘lykke’ (loo-kah), roughly translating as ‘happiness’. According to the 2016 World Happiness Report, Denmark ranked as the happiest nation in the world. So, with the New Year about to start, could this trend help us lead a happier, more fulfilled 2018? Our own contentment is a result of complex social, biological and external factors, but living a happier life can begin at home.
Jayson Branch, creative director at Castrads, looks at five ways we can learn from our Scandinavian neighbours, and find happiness through smart interiors planning. This year, live more ‘lykke’…
Room to think
There’s an art to maximising space, and the Scandinavians have mastered it. A cluttered home equals a cluttered mind, so set time aside every six months to review the look and feel of your rooms. The days of garish colourful plastic storage boxes are over; help eliminate visual stress by installing clever storage solutions, such as under-bed rolling crates, floating shelves above your door frames, or adding a pullout sliding pantry between the fridge and the wall.
Be clever with colour
There’s a growing body of scientific research on ‘colour psychology’, which studies how colour can subliminally affect mood. Rather than following the latest design fad, carefully select your palette to encourage more positive thoughts and feelings into your day-to-day. Incorporate yellows (vibrancy and positivity), greens (soothing and natural), pinks (warmth and sensitivity), and blues (serenity and optimism) into your interiors. If bold colours aren’t your thing, try introducing accents of these colours in pastel shades throughout your home with patterned textiles, ornaments and furniture.
Not only is Denmark one of the happiest nations in the world, but it also ranks as one of the most energy efficient. After all, what’s better than feeling good and saving money? Improving your efficiency will save you money on bills, reduce air contaminants, and keep hold of more warmth throughout the home, particularly during the chillier months. Consider switching to LED bulbs, which are now available in varying degrees of brightness, and are becoming less expensive. If your windows need replacing, opt for triple glazing to keep in more heat and reduce outside noise. For your shower, consider a style of showerhead designed to aerate water and reduce usage, while retaining a high pressure.
‘Hygge’ (hue-guh) is the essence of Danish culture. Meaning cosiness, safety and comfort, it encourages socialising and relaxation amongst warming food, soft furnishings and candlelight, and is one of the reasons credited with making the country so happy. When we bond socially, our brain emits oxytocin – also known as the ‘cuddle hormone’. Having a room that’s the heart of the home encourages this closeness between family and friends. Try broken-plan living in your kitchen and living areas by adding open shelving, large houseplants or decorative screens, to create separate areas without making them feel isolated.
Invest in statement items
It’s true that ‘money can’t buy happiness’ – to a certain extent. However, spending a little more and buying high-end home items can provide pleasure for many years, as they’re likely to last much longer than cheaper mass-produced pieces. Look to the past to create a timeless statement that will stand the test of time. A cast-iron radiator is a great example of this, drawing inspiration from the industrial revolution, with un-adorned bare and aged metal finishes, romanticist Art Nouveau patterns and ornate Rococo scrolling.