Online estate agency Tepilo analyses the continuing importance of Scandinavian way of life ‘hygge’ to UK homeowners.
Fresh research has reaffirmed the British love affair with hygge – even if we don’t necessarily know what it means…
The survey, carried out by home improvements firm Everest, found that British people really do grasp the concept of hygge, even if they are unaware of it. While many of us are influenced by Scandinavian culture – including Scandi-noir crime dramas, IKEA flat-pack furniture, Swedish meatballs, and, in recent years, hygge and lagom – the research found that only 22% of those surveyed knew what hygge stood for.
A Danish word for a way of being – centring on the things that make us happy, cosy and content – the word has no literal English translation, but UK homeowners are more influenced by it than they might realise. A massive 98% of people said they feel their home has an effect on their sense of wellbeing, with the simple things in life helping most respondents to feel better and more content.
For example, just over a third of those surveyed (38%) said that nice scents create a feeling of contentment in their homes, while 40% prioritise natural light. What’s more, 58% said simply spending time with family, friends or partners is enough to give them a sense of wellbeing (or hygge). Security, too, can have an impact on our wellbeing, with 43% saying that the simple act of locking doors and windows gives them greater peace of mind.
We also copy our Scandinavian cousins in other ways, with 23% lighting a fire or log-burner – in true Scandinavian fashion - to help them feel more contented. Winters tend to be much harsher that far north, but in Britain we have our fair share of cold and rain and so the appeal of drawing curtains (52%) and opting for the intimacy and atmospheric nature of candlelight (32%) is obvious. That said, we also like to let the natural world in to boost our mood levels, with flowers, plants and pine cones being brought in from the outside helping to create a sense of hygge for 29% of those surveyed.
By contrast, communication with the outside world is generally bad for the hygge vibe, with only 11% saying their technological and mobile devices helped them feel content.
Other popular hygge habits in Britain included making beds up with fresh sheets (52%), turning up the heating (44%), cooking/baking (42%), enjoying the view from a window (34%) and decluttering (30%).
According to TV psychologist Emma Kenny, wellbeing in the home is of the utmost importance to help us lead a happy, balanced life. She says humans crave a sense of security and belonging, which the cosy, content feeling of hygge encapsulates, helping people to feel safe, warm and contented in their own home.
“Our homes are not simply bricks and mortar,” Kenny said. “They are the foundation and embodiment of personal sanctuary, a space where we truly feel ourselves.”
Organising and looking after our homes in the right way, and adding special features that can really enhance the properties we live in, can improve our sense of wellbeing. If your home is a safe haven, a happy, contented place to return to after a long day at work, it makes sense that you will generally experience a better sense of wellbeing.
Security and warmth are most likely to give us a sense of hygge, so sellers should be aware that these things are likely to be prioritised most by buyers. As we outlined in a recent blog, central heating, double glazing, energy efficiency and secure windows and doors are some of the must-have features that most buyers are after. If you are selling your home, you’ll need to ensure it’s safe, secure, warm, inviting and cosy in equal measure.
Creating a sense of hygge is impossible – given it’s not a tangible thing, and remains individual to each person or family – but making sure your home ticks the boxes when it comes to the above features will help to improve your chances of selling your home.
As a nation, we are already quite in tune with the hygge way of living, even if we don’t know it half the time or don’t yet have our own name for it. Brygge, perhaps? For now, the influence of hygge will continue to be as important as IKEA, ABBA, dark crime fiction and Danish beer on our lives, showing once again the easy melding of British and Scandinavian culture.