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Dublin: 10 °C Tuesday 11 December, 2018

6 simple ways to make your home feel warm and welcoming

Welcome to the world of hygge.

HYGGE IS A Danish design concept, linked with warmth and comfort, that is making its way all across Europe and the rest of the world.

At its core, hygge – a word for which there is no direct English translation, but broadly means ‘well-being’ – is all about making your home a sanctuary. We spoke to Dublin-based interior designer Caroline Flannery about hygge and how you can make your home as warm and cosy as possible this winter.

What is hygge exactly?

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Flannery is a big fan of Scandinavian design and has worked in Denmark where she discovered the concept:

Hygge is about creating cosiness, togetherness, making your home a sanctuary. It’s not about spending a lot of money. It’s about surrounding yourself with things  that are useful, that you need but also things you really like.

How do you achieve it?

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At its heart, the concept is all about warmth so lighting candles and fires is a big part of it. If it’s too early or too warm for a real fire (not a problem right now) you could put a lot of candles into the empty hearth and light them to give a similar warm effect.

Here are some other ways to get that sense of hygge into your home.

Use texture and colour

Source: Shutterstock/Africa Studio

Colour can have huge impact on how warm a room feels and warm, earthy colours like reds, wines, golds and oranges will create a cosy space. In addition, keeping the palette neutral for soft furnishings and using lots of different textures is a nice way to add interest to the room without being overwhelmed by colour.

Flannery says:

Keep the palette quite neutral but mix textures… Cushions on the ground in front of the fire to create intimacy, foot rests, lots of soft fabrics.

Anchor your spaces with light

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Flannery suggests dividing open plan spaces such as kitchen/dining room/living rooms into zones. You can do this in a number of ways, one of which is to anchor your furniture with light. This can be achieved by dropping a pendant lamp over the dining room table, for example, or another over your favourite chair in the living room.

Decide where your furniture is going to be and don’t keep moving them around… Floor lamps, table lamps, pendant lights, task light, candle light. Lighting would be a big one for creating cosiness.

Make use of all your space

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There are probably lots of areas around your home where clutter can build up. The cavity under the stairs is often a culprit as household items such as the vacuum or cleaning equipment are thrown in there because it’s convenient. With a little thought though, you could turn what seems to be dead or useless space into something really functional or beautiful and where you’d be happy to spend time.

Under the stairs space – you can make a library out of it or have some kind of space with a chair, table, lamp. Make the spaces have a use rather than having lots of empty spaces where clutter can build up.

Splash out on the good stuff – especially for the bedroom

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Your bedroom is another place where the principles of hygge work really well. Changing your lighting away from overhead lighting to bedside table lamps changes the ambience of the room.

And having a warm cosy bed to fall into at night – well, that really is hygge, isn’t it?

Invest in good quality bedwear. Especially in the winter. It’s worth it – if there’s something that you really, really like, like silk or French linen, save up and buy it…

She continues: “Buy the thing you really like rather than buying something inferior. Go for quality. Rather than just saying ‘I need to get that’ and it’s on sale’, wait ’til you have the means to buy the thing you really want and it will bring you happiness and joy.”

Go wild in the bathroom… sort of

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Flannery says that the bathroom is somewhere you can be adventurous in in a way that you probably wouldn’t be with a bigger space.

For small bathrooms, especially hall bathrooms, you can use nice textured, weaved, fun papers – anything that you wouldn’t put on a larger expanse of wall.  You can go quite wild in a small bathroom where you wouldn’t spend a lot of time.

Make the outdoors welcoming

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The final element that Flannery speaks about is how to make the outdoors as welcoming as the indoors – and this tends to be done through lights.

Bring the outdoors inside. Even a simple lantern outside the door with a candle in it…is welcoming. Have lights out on the balcony – if you live in an apartment or you have a decking, you make that part of the warmth of your home.

Keeping your home warm and cosy is easy with natural gas. You can connect to the natural gas network from as little as €250. Natural gas is the fuel of choice for over 647,000 home-owners around the country. When choosing a new home or renovating an older one, choose natural gas. Find out more at gasnetworks.ie/choose-gas

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