minimalist lounge designGet hygge with it

All things Nordic are hot right now – food, fashion, TV shows, design. With Scandi style often perfect for holiday lets, embrace hemtrevliga (homey) and ombonade (snuggly) when refreshing furnished short-term rentals in time for winter guests.

Beyond Volvos, pastries, Abba/Aha/Roxette/Ace of Base/Aqua/Ylvis (take your pick based on your generation), H&M, fjords, Nordic Noir, vodka/aquavit, saunas and IKEA, Scandimania has moved into our collective consciousness – and our homes.

It’s little wonder so many are keen to embrace the spirit of the land of the midnight sun, with Nordic nations consistently being rated the best countries to live in. According to the UN’s 2018 World Happiness Report, Finland is the happiest country in the world. Finland rose from fifth in last year’s rankings to the top spot. Norway was second (1st last year), followed by Denmark in third place (2nd last year), with Iceland coming in fourth (3rd last year). Sweden rose in the rankings (10th last year) to take out the ninth spot.

Scandinavian design has become a staple for interiors, with the natural timber tones, distinctively shaped yet functional furniture with streamlined profiles, clean monochromatic (black/white/grey) colour schemes (the favourite accent colour is blue) and geometric shapes with an industrial edge. Well suited to the Australian taste and climate, Scandi style is often ideal for holiday homes in both summer (pared back simplicity) and winter (made cosy with plush cushions, throws and rugs). Scandi style is so popular now that the most creative agents are managing to convince tenants that 70s era faux-wood panelling, evoking Swedish saunas, is actually bang on trend!

Recently, the Scandi vibe has moved from furnishings to lifestyle philosophies or ways of living. Two of the most popular – hygge and lagom – are worth considering for your winter-time holiday let.

Hygge (pronounced “who-guh”) is a Danish word (the Norwegian equivalent is Kos, in Sweden mys). It is used to describe the concept of inner warmth and contentment or cosiness. “It means the sublime state of inner warmth or satisfaction you feel when you are spending time with loved ones and nothing else matters. Hygge can be enhanced by the addition of a log fire, a good movie, a cup of something warm and a sweet treat,” according to author Brontë Aurell. Or simply explained by Meik Wiking, CEO of the Danish Happiness Research Institute, as “the pursuit of everyday happiness”.

To bring a little hygge to a holiday home in winter, update the soft furnishings with faux-fur throws on sofas and beds, soft, shaggy rugs for the floor and tactile, cable-knit cushions to add a chunky feel to sofas. Monochromatic bedlinens tap into the Scandi vibe and adding in thick blankets and extra pillows brings in the cosiness.

Mood lighting is also important. Illuminate rooms with table lamps, floor lamps and pendant lights. As Wiking puts it, “no candles, no hygge”, so leaving out quality scented candles (think spices for that Scandi feel) on the dining table, coffee table, kitchen benches, bathrooms and sideboards for guests to use might be worth considering (unless of course you prohibit candles on the property due to fire risk).

Create the feeling of a warm, earthy Nordic log cabin using wooden furnishings and decorations. A fireplace stacked with firewood is the ultimate, but making sure the home is well heated, but also not devoid of fresh air, is important. Strategically hang mirrors to reflect natural light and keep the rooms feeling light and warm. Stocking the kitchen with baking equipment can also encourage guests to indulge in hygge. Consider setting up a hyggekrog (hygge corner), near a window so guests can relax and watch the rain/snow fall, with a comfy armchair/couch, lots of pillows and throw blankets, a floor lamp and a small table.

While hygge is about savouring moments of pleasure – just what people on holiday are looking for – lagom is more of a lifestyle, with a design aesthetic that can be applied to a short-term rental.

Lagom (pronounced “lar gom”) is the Swedish concept of ‘not too little, not too much, just the right amount’. It expresses a sense of balance and satisfaction with having your needs met without needing excess.

To visualise lagom, think about Scandinavian furniture – it’s practical and functional, its components are essential and unadorned, and ultimately it’s comfortable, timeless and versatile. Holiday homes can be ideal embodiments of lagom as the concept relies on the home only having what is essential; every element should have a purpose and a place, which is precisely how to furnish a short-term rental.

Uncluttered rooms are key and once the clutter is gone, everything in each room should be considered – and there should be a place for everything (think smart storage solutions). Interiors should look and feel light, airy and pared back, while still being warm and inviting. Decorate with calming colours and limit the palette to a few key colours – complementary groups of neutrals are ideal as they provide elegance, simplicity and, importantly, won’t date. Choose natural materials that are organic and long-lasting – solid wood, soft cotton, woven linen. Take advantage of natural light and fresh air, and bring the outdoors in with some indoor plants. Lagom also embraces sustainability, which should guide furniture, fittings and homewares choices. Tech-free spaces also embody the concept.

With the holiday let now channelling the Scandi vibe, it’s also important to make sure that the property is protected with the right landlord insurance. RentCoverShortTerm provides comprehensive cover for contents, financially safeguards the property from damage caused by a range of defined risks, protects the owner’s liability and even covers loss of rent if the property can’t be let due to an insured event.

Word to the wise: If the property is being switched from a standard lease to a short-term let, whether as a holiday home or an Airbnb rental, it’s important to ensure that the landlord insurance is also switched. Talk to one of our team about landlord cover to suit the type of rental, because without the right insurance neither landlord nor property manager will feel much lykke (happiness) if something goes wrong and the property is not covered.