Danish homes are where “hygge” or “coziness” originates from. Maybe it is the long dark winters that necessitate these homes be full of atmosphere, personality and style. The short winter days call for extra “hygge”, more tea candles, more hot chocolate – and wine – and more time spent together with the family in the home.
While there is almost always a big tv in the living room, a coffee table takes center stage. Around the coffee table people have coffee and cake together with friends and family while seated in comfy chairs or a couch. Guests are almost always invited into the living room. For some reason this doesn’t seem to be the case in the U.S. where the formal dining room or the kitchen island/table are the primary places for socializing.
I think it says a lot about Danish culture that we like to socialize around a coffee table. We just like to “hygge” with coffee and cake and sit down and relax together. Americans seem to be more “on the go” and ready to move on to the next thing. For example, Americans rarely sit down for longer periods of time at parties – they prefer to move around and stand up and talk with everybody whereas Danes sit in the same chair next to the same people for maybe up to four hours at dinner parties which can honestly be pretty boring…
Danes also spend a lot more time in their homes than Americans. American culture seems to be a lot about going out. In Denmark most people cook their own food and love to share it with good friends and family (plus it is really expensive to go out in Denmark).
With all this time being spent inside the home it is nice to have something nice to look at. Many people are willing to spend money on good design. Less is more. Rather a few expensive pieces you truly love than shelves cluttered with less expensive stuff.
Almost all Danish homes are very white inside. I am not just referring to wall colors. Also cabinets, floors, porcelain, you name it! It seems like homes get more and more white every time I visit Denmark! This way the bright Scandinavian light from outside is also captured inside – mostly in the bright summers. If furniture isn’t white it is typically black or some neutral color in natural material.
A more recent trend is to bring nature – nature prints and natural materials – inside the home. The boundary between inside and outside is becoming more blurry. I see a lot of backyards where furniture that looks like it could be for the living room has been moved outside with pillows and blankets to take the chill off in the evenings.
Even the backyards are created for “hygge”. They are typically fenced in with hedges so they become an outdoor extension of the home. There are no front lawns. Its all private and cozy and not about how you appear to the neighbors as I find it to be the case a lot of places in the U.S.