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Hygge and Friluftsliving: Danish Lifestyle Trends Embraced By Santa Barbara Homeowners

October 21, 2020

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Danish lifestyle trends: Feet in wool socks warming by a cozy fire

The Danish lifestyle trends of hygge and friluftsliving fit perfectly here in Santa Barbara thanks to our laid-back lifestyle and perfect year-round Mediterranean weather. Ask any Dane to explain the concepts, and they’ll probably say both focus on socializing with loved ones, feeling sheltered and safe, and enjoying, or appreciating the great outdoors.

Hygge focuses on creating such a cozy space at home that you’ll want to hibernate there. In other words, practicing these notions is a way to feel happier during an otherwise dark, damp, and cold season. Think soft natural light, crackling fires, warm blankets, hot tea, and a comfy pair of slippers.

READ: Wellness Living and Wellness Real Estate: The Next Trillion-Dollar Trend?

The friluftsliving Danish lifestyle trend is all about embracing the great outdoors, something we who live in Santa Barbara are known for with our indoor/outdoor living. The trend comes from the belief that spending time outdoors can improve stress levels and give your physical and mental health a boost. Think hiking, canoeing, paddleboarding, or just relaxing on any of our white sandy beaches. Any way you like to explore the great outdoors is considered part of this trend.

But it doesn’t have to be cold out to wrap yourself around both hygge and friluftsliving in your Santa Barbara home. In fact, for most Santa Barbara homeowners, these trends come naturally.

Danish lifestyle trends: man pouring milk into Hygge mug

What is hygge?

Pronounced “hoog-uh” (rhymes with sugar, kinda), hygge is a Danish concept about seeking joy in whatever situation you find yourself. While it doesn’t quite translate to English, a lot of people like thinking about it in terms of coziness. Perhaps that means placing candles around your home, adding fluffy pillows to your couch or infusing your house with a signature scent (perhaps lavender?) The philosophy of hygge is about creating stress-free atmospheres. Just follow these four tips:

1) Bundle up your wooden furniture
Rustic, natural woods are a core feature of hygge design. But to enhance the look, layer tables with coarse linens; drape seating surfaces in soft, fuzzy animal hides (there are some excellent fakes ones on the market today for those so inclined); and add cushions wherever and whenever possible.

2) Leave your bed unmade
To create a hygge home, beds remain mussed, nonplussed and nap time ready throughout the day. P.S. The more layers and textures, the better.

3) Use a neutral, monochrome palate
To enhance a space’s serenity, Scandi interiors keep it super simple when it comes to color.

4) Light your fireplace
What could be cozier than curling up by the fire for a warm night in? Bonus points if your mantel is decorated for winter.

5) Delineate gathering areas with undersized rugs
While Americans tend to go for oversize rugs to make a space feel larger, hygge homes employ petite rugs to make gathering areas more intimate. See an example in the image below where rugs are used to separate areas in the great room. 

What is Friluftsliving?
Friluftsliving (pronounced free-loofts-living) literally means “free air living.” This Danish lifestyle trend is about embracing the outdoors, living the inside/outside lifestyle so coveted here. The idea behind friluftsliving is to be out in the fresh air to commune with nature, even when the weather’s not great. Substitute taking a walk instead of spending time on your social media pages daily. An outdoor walk—even if the weather isn’t ideal—is most likely a better choice for your mental health.

READ: Ocean View Homes are Good for Our Health

Here’s how to add a little friluftsliving to your life no matter where you live:

1) Seek out beauty
The heart of friluftsliv is feeling at one with nature, so take time to really savor your surroundings. Enjoy the breathtaking views we have here in Santa Barbara. Coastal bluffs make for spectacular views as does our Santa Ynez mountain backdrop. While you’re outside, be on the lookout for birds or other creatures, and simply take a deep breath or two.

2) Make your outdoor area more comfortable
Who says the Danish lifestyle trends friluftsliv and hygge can’t peacefully coexist? Cozy blankets, pillows, patio heaters, and fire pits can all help fight off the chill and allow you to spend even longer outdoors.

READ: Who Says Fun Games to Play Outside Are Just for Kids?

3) Set up some outdoor games
Activities that can get people moving are an important part of this trend. Whether it’s badminton and bocce, ocean sports or relay races, being in Mother Nature can help get the blood pumping and fight off the winter chill.

4) Pack a picnic lunch (or dinner)
Eating al fresco can happen year-round in Santa Barbara. But to enjoy friluftsliv during the winter months, pack the thermos with some hot and hearty foods to help keep you warm when you’re outside.

5) Try something new
Now is the perfect time to explore some fun new outdoor activities or revisit an old favorite. Santa Barbara homeowners have so many activities to choose from that can add a little more excitement to their life outdoors. Try surfing, polo, hiking, fishing, boating, swimming, sand sculpting, or even Plein Air Painting from your own backyard.

OK, now what? Hygge and friluftsliving are healthy Danish lifestyle trends that Santa Barbara homeowners can continually work to create. If you’re interested in trying them in a new home in Montecito, Hope Ranch or any of Santa Barbara’s upscale communities, just check out my comprehensive website then give me a call at (805) 886-9378 or email me at Let’s find you the perfect cozy spot where you can practice these Danish lifestyle trends. (By the way, I can sell your existing property at the same time.)

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