How Hygge Breaks the Ice: Tips to eliminate awkwardness

While we all hope that visitors to our home will always be pleasant and jovial, it's more than likely that won't always be the case. Maybe you're entertaining a new friend that you've only previously interacted with at the gym or in a class. Maybe you're hosting family from overseas that you haven't seen in ages and aren't really that close with. Maybe you're having someone round for dinner that you've never even met because it's actually your partner who has invited them. If you don't plan ahead, you may find yourself sat there in silence as if you were all stuck on some form of public transportation politely waiting for your stop. 

In snowy Scandinavia, they’ve cracked the code on how to break the ice, and it is evident in their home design. From furniture and lighting to colour palette and decoration, every aspect is geared towards fostering a serene and friendly atmosphere. Incorporating the classic aspects of Scandinavian style into your own home can very easily create that warm and fuzzy (or as the Danish put it, *hygge*) atmosphere you're hoping for to put your guests at ease. 

People cope much better with tension when they’ve got something to fiddle with or a task to complete. So, while most hosts strive to have everything ready, it can actually be better to leave something for the guests to help with when they arrive. For instance, start your gathering in the kitchen and ask guests to arrange a charcuterie board on your Large Wooden Chopping Board with Juice Rim by Skandium while you cut up the cheeses on your Small Sized one. Or, perhaps have them put together a specialty cocktail with your Stelton Cylinda Line Martini Mixer while you finish preparing the meal.

Once you retire to the lounge, you’ll want to avoid that doctor’s waiting room feeling by softening the lights and designating a central feature to help mitigate nervous eye contact. For example, an Aeris Hanging Cocoon Fireplace offers an entrancing focal point that as a bonus provides ambient crackling background noise and a warm comforting glow. The low, dancing light will help make your guests more inclined to open up as it minimizes that vulnerable deer-in-headlights feeling. Although, if the fire on its own is a bit too dark for your space, Verpan makes a beautiful Fun 0DM Pendant Lamp with cascading mother-of-pearl discs that create a lovely silhouette of lighting.

It goes without saying that you’ll want comfortable furniture that lets guests relax. You want to end up chatting and laughing, not sending them home with a sore back. Opt for plush inviting pieces like the Calmo 3 Seater Sofa by Fredericia and don’t be afraid to go a little crazy with the cushions, like the velvety soft Dot Cushion by Hay’s. And don’t forget the side tables! It’s really awkward when someone ends up holding an empty glass for 2 hours because there is nowhere nearby to set it down without causing a disturbance. The Cork Base Side Table by Sintra is a gorgeous little piece that is the perfect fix for this problem!

Finally, it is nice to have an easy conversation piece on hand. Having classic, simple games that are artfully made put out display is a fantastic way of lighting the spark of a small gathering. The Eames Memory Game by Ammo is a great example of this fashionable and functional idea. Besides the fun of playing, these may inspire a chat about old memories of happy times. Plus, a game is usually a perfect pass-time to keep kiddies busy while the mummies share a gossip over a lovely cuppa served from an elegant Hammershøi tea pot by Kähler.

If you’re hoping to avoid those awkward silences, we invite you to browse the beautiful selection of Scandinavian household items, furniture, and lighting available on Skandium. You’ll definitely find the right pieces to create relaxing spaces for quality time with both new friends and favourite family members. Everyone deserves a *hygge* home!