You’re probably well acquainted with hygge, the Danish word for cozy contentment which is best achieved by minding your business, swaddling yourself in a plush throw, and cradling a hot cup of tea on the couch. Though coined at the end of the 18th century, the term rose to global popularity in the mid-to-late 2010s, earning a spot in Oxford Dictionary’s 2016 “Word of the Year” shortlist and influencing us all to stock up on thick socks, soothing candles, and all things shearling.
While the cuddly concept is on par with how many of us have spent endless days in quarantine, there’s a new Scandinavian word on the block, and it’s ready to take the crown. Friluftsliv, roughly translated as “open-air living,” is core to Nordic culture, in which a connection to nature reigns supreme. And while we may not have natural wonders like magical forests, mountainous landscapes, and the Northern Lights outside our backdoor, we can infuse our lives with nature from the confines of our own homes.
Road trips, picnics, and hiking have served as relatively safe ways to escape the four walls we’ve become uncomfortably accustomed to since last March, but staying home remains the most responsible move right now. So how does one bring some friluftsliv into their life without even venturing outside? By sprucing up your space with accents, textures, and fragrances that nod at nature—and showing what outdoor space you do have some extra TLC.
We reached out to plant whisperers, trend forecasters, and interior designers to weigh in on how to bring the outside, inside, which can help to quell your thirst for the great outdoors without leaving your nest. Ahead, get in on six simple tips to emulate the natural world all throughout your humble abode.
Open Up Your Space
“To create a room that feels airy and spacious, I encourage shoppers to be purposeful about the decor they select,” says Dayna Isom Johnson, Etsy’s resident trend expert. “Reflective wall decor, like statement mirrors or stained glass, can help make a space feel bigger and brighter, and decorating with light hues, like Etsy’s Color of the Year, sky blue, is an easy way to make a space feel more open and airy.” If square footage is limited, stock up on decorative mirrors that will instantly expand your space, bounce sunlight, and serve as a reflection when you have a sudden urge to snap a WFH OOTD.
Channel the Elements
“Opt for colors inspired by nature—there are so many hues of green which evoke a sense of calm, as well as natural materials like jute, wood and wicker,” says vibe curator and verified plant mom, Kerry Lockwood. Shades of green abound on style and home mood boards, and earthy tones like terra-cotta bring a natural touch to any plant shelf or bedscape. Don’t underestimate the power of framed prints to showcase your favorite destinations, and stock up on chic vases and objects that mimic water and organic shapes, like the hand-blown option below.
Create an Outdoor Oasis
If you’re lucky enough to have private outdoor space, now’s the time to make your patio Pinterest board a reality. With a whole lot of uncertainty ahead of us in terms of what summer 2021 will look like, it’s safe to say you’ll be happy you invested in your own little natural oasis. “Lean into friluftsliv by adding items like comfy blankets or accent furniture to create cozy yards, patios, stoops, or balconies,” Dayna suggests. Etsy, H&M, and Target offer textiles, objects, and furniture that will help rejuvenate a rundown patio into a mini retreat for less.
Plants, Plants, and More Plants
It’s no surprise that bringing botanicals into your home can instantly upgrade the natural vibes. If you’re worried about accidentally killing yet another green friend, go easy on yourself with plants for beginners that will weather the storm (ie. you forgetting about them for ten days). Pothos, snake plants, and succulents are all good starters, and Kerry “loves potting lots of spring bulbs around the house as a reminder that spring is on its way.” Sara Khodja, Lead of Product Development at CB2, suggests faking it ’til you make it if you must, while reaching for other natural homewares and textiles. “Fauxtanicals are an obvious choice, but materials can really ground a space. Try mixing airy linen fabrics and natural rattan with stone accents like marble, onyx, and travertine. Scents can also transport us—eucalyptus and pine are seasonal and refreshing.”
Strike Up Natural Aromas
When a breath of fresh air feels out of reach, candles and diffusers can transport your senses to greener pastures. Boy Smells’ metallic green candle includes jasmine and fig leaves for lushness, and a rich exotic base of macadamia nut offers a sense of grounding. Bedding brand Brooklinen launched fragrances with rave reviews to back them up, and Bodha makes chic incense with a range of notes from earthy cedarwood to florals like geranium and jasmine. If you’d rather not strike a match, opt for essential oils with Vitruvi’s photogenic diffuser, available in sea green, terra-cotta, and more.
Bring Botanics Into Your Beauty Rituals
If you’re cooling it on makeup and ramping up your skincare routine, beauty brands are developing botanical formulas with intoxicating scents that mimic natural sanctuaries. Supernal’s Cosmic Glow Oil will shower your skin with vitamins and make you smell like the Garden of Eden, and Bathing Culture’s luxurious body wash has nice silky lather and a decadent aroma inspired by the Redwood Forest. Aside from face and body care, bringing natural fibers into your bathroom can be a welcome breezy touch. “It’s all about natural material choices to help bring that fresh outdoor energy into your space,” says Sara. “Think woods and stones in your furniture pieces, candles at dusk to extend the daylight hours, and bamboo towels in the bath.”