Danish and Japanese Interior Design Trends Take Hold in U.S.

Sandra Asdourian Inteiors Den LaurelHollow_004 (1)
Hygge, a hot decorating trend rooted in Danish culture, is all about creating a warm, welcoming home, such as this Laurel Hollow living room designed by Sandra Asdourian. (Photo by Brian Berkowitz)

Embrace life’s simple pleasures by finding joy in the warmth, beauty, and comforts of wellness décor. 

Anyone can create comfy, cozy-chic, uncluttered living spaces that promote emotional and spiritual well-being. So, why not do like the Danes — who may be the happiest people on the planet — and change things up in 2020?  

Declutter and cozy up to hygge (pronounced HYOO-guh) and discover what some say are healing benefits. This hot, Danish-inspired contemporary design trend, which goes well with a laid-back lifestyle, is based on a culture that believes in providing a warm, welcoming environment, finding contentment in everyday life, and being in the moment, as well as living with less. But adopting that philosophy can be challenging. 

“You have to live with intention and practice mindfulness every day, knowing that you have a goal,” says Certified Professional Organizer/Feng Shui Consultant Cynthia Braun, who has been helping many Long Island families find calm through order for years. 

“My clients say they would like to achieve a minimalist lifestyle, but most people have an emotional attachment to their stuff and can’t let go,” she adds. “There’s also a need to fill up empty spaces.”

And that’s a big no-no in wellness design. 


Sophisticated and eye-catching, hygge decor can be seen everywhere these days and is reflected in warm, sunny living spaces that feature a neutral color scheme mixed with earthy hues drawn from nature, streamlined furnishings (mid-century modern styles, etc.), furry accent rugs and snuggly throws, natural materials, and decorative pillows in a variety of textures, including faux fur.

At the heart of these spaces sits a cozy gathering spot where everyone feels welcome and families can unwind together. 

“More and more of my clients have been asking for cozy, comfortable hygge spaces in their homes,” says local designer Sandra Asdourian. “They want a room to relax in, something less formal. They may be having an elegant cocktail party in their living room, but want a family room that’s relaxed. 

“Big sectional sofas with lots of pillows in neutral nature fabrics and textures,” she continues. “A place to sink into and put your feet up while reading or watching TV. Also, room to play board games or cards with friends and family.”


Scientists have found a connection between acquisition and unhappiness.

A great way to jump-start your wellness journey at home and find more inner peace in the new year is by getting rid of things that don’t bring joy, clearing surfaces, creating more space, and moving furniture around to free up the circulation flow. Find a relaxing nook near a sunny window; reboot with a Zen meditation/yoga corner. Bring the outside in with nature views or greenery like spider plants and bamboo palms that purify the air (or use a room purifier); add an indoor fountain.

DIY hygge design ideas are easy to achieve. 

“It all ties into great feng shui,” says Braun, who’s a wiz at transforming spaces by bringing in positive energy, good fortune, and tranquility through the magic of furniture placement and symbolic colors.


Rooted in Asian philosophy dating back 5,000 years, another popular trend celebrates life’s imperfections, authenticity, and a lived-in feeling. 

The antithesis of a ‘too-much’ society, Japanese-inspired wabi-sabi is the search for timeless wisdom. In decorating, the key attributes are asymmetry, irregularity, simplicity, and modesty. Choose natural-looking pieces that show wear over time, such as leather, wood, and linen, and simple, modern furniture. Highlight old elements; objects with patina add charm and excitement. Honor ceramics; mix styles and finishes; avoid bright colors.

Both hygge and wabi-sabi philosophies promote a sense of well-being and value quality of life over material things.

So, celebrate the true meaning of family and snuggle up with loved ones, break bread with good friends, and reimagine your living space.

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