Do you know your Hygge from your Lagom? Five design trends explained

Do you know your Hygge from your Lagom? Five design trends explained – words Al Woods

Blame Instagram, Pinterest, coffee table books—whatever caused it, there has been an explosion in global design trends recently. Anyone with even a passing interest in the latest interior design trends has brushed up on hygge.

At least, they’ve tried to. Sometimes, these foreign design trends can be just that: foreign. And as the initial hygge hype dies down, there are countless new concepts to get to grips with. This guide should help you out with some of them, and give you suggestions on which to recreate at home next.



Unless you’ve been living, cosily, under a rock, you will have heard of hygge by now. Pronounced ‘hoo-guh’, the Danish concept is about more than just design. Marie Claire described it as translating to mean “warmth and friendship; curling up under a duvet with your friends and watching back-to-back episodes of The Gilmore Girls; feeling the weight of a purring kitten in your lap, or eating dinner with your family with fairy lights flickering in the background.”

From a design perspective, creating hygge involves fireplaces, candles, wood, wool, blankets, and a lack of technology. The trend peaked last year, but if you never tried it, this winter is not a bad time to start.


A major contender for hygge’s crown, many shops have replaced their How to Hygge books with lagom tomes already. Hailing from Sweden, lagom translates as ‘just the right amount’. Without some context, or one of those handy books, it’s tough to picture how this would manifest in home design.

Elle UK says it relates to “being frugal, fair and creating balance.” Don’t splash out on large room decorations, then. The trend is actual more about sustainability than aesthetics. Use recycled materials, conserve energy, create less waste. All of these things are lagom. IKEA has a ‘Live Lagom’ guide for more information, because of course it does.


Leaving Scandinavia now and heading to Japan, the trend of wabi-sabi has been bubbling under the surface for a while now. Japanese homeware store Sansho says wabi-sabi “resists translation, definition and analysis,” but goes on to explain in a blog post on the subject that the concept revolves around beauty in the imperfect, impermanent and incomplete.

It essentially amounts to finding beauty in imperfection. Design-wise, this means using rough and varied textures, and pursuing a handmade feel. Falling within the realm of wabi-sabi is the Japanese tradition of kintsugi, which manifests in fixing broken vases by pasting them together in the cracks. This is the very definition of finding beauty in something imperfect.


Heading back to Scandinavia, this time mostly Norway, we find friluftsliv. Like the trends above, friluftsliv is about more than just design. This one is about reconnecting with nature, and according to Business Insider, it can make you healthier and happier.

In interior design, this can mean incorporating plants, natural materials, and anything that evokes the outside world inside your house. To achieve true friluftsliv, you should spend a lot of time outdoors, camping and indulging your natural side.

Feng Shui 

Moving over to China, we find the trend that started it all. Feng shui may have peaked a long time ago but, at least according to Google searches, it still remains more popular than the ubiquitous hygge.

If you’ve never looked into it before, feng shui is about keeping things in harmony. In design, this can mean adding a small, trickling fountain, plants, and just generally keeping the place clean. Inhabitat suggests that steps as simple as washing your windows, covering your TV, and using your front door can improve the feng shui of your home.

Do you know your Hygge from your Lagom? Five design trends explained – words Al Woods



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