Brothers’ Hyggeligt Bedroom: One Room Challenge Week 1
Memories of Denmark and my introduction to hygge
Walking from the train through the frozen, glistening moonlit fields and into the warm glow of my host family’s home. Sipping tea with friends in candlelit coffee shops. Eating hot candied nuts with steam curling into the air on the chilly Strøget (walking street) in Copenhagen. Writing homework while tucked under a duvet. Studying abroad in Denmark in the winter of 2003 was an unforgettable introduction to the calming, cozy concept of hygge that has, understandably, captured the hearts of so many people around the world in recent years.
Warding off the chill and loneliness of winter through cozy time spent with friends and family seems quintessentially hyggeligt—I probably wouldn’t have gotten as much immersion in this vital component of Danish life if I’d been there in the summer, though I would have certainly had some longer, warmer days!
But now, as winter approaches here in the Boston area, I’m thinking again of my time in Denmark and how to bring some hyggeligt elements into our home.
Good thing it’s time for the Fall 2018 One Room Challenge™!
Created and hosted by Linda of “Calling It Home,” this is a twice-annual event where 20 featured interior designers and a whole slew of guest participants attempt to finish a single room or space inside or outside of their homes over a six-week period. I enjoyed the Spring 2018 ORC and have thought about trying it again, but without any of the extra challenges of plumbing or relying on contractors’ schedules as we needed to with our unanticipated tiny guest bathroom renovation.
Not so hyggeligt home (yet)…
Now, almost a year into living in our newly renovated 1930 house, it is still the opposite of hyggeligt in some rooms. This may be particularly true in our older son Danny’s bedroom. It’s got some Danish minimalist style going on (bed, single bookshelf, single dresser, single toy bin, mostly bare walls), but not much in the way of making him feel cozy except a really lovely handmade quilt. Our baby Glen’s nursery, which is a captive room off of our bedroom has a similarly minimalist feel, but with a little more warmth through some textiles. Neither is intentionally stark—we haven’t had time or energy to go beyond the basics of furnishing.
We’d like for our children to become best friends and hope to overcome some of the barriers that the age gap might pose, so we’re planning to have them share a room. Danny’s very excited about the idea (in theory—we’ll see how it goes in practice when baby wakes up in the night), and Glen adores Danny, so we think he’ll be into it. They both sometimes seem to get lonely right now, so maybe they’ll also sleep better. We can dream, right?
Danny’s room - Before: Long room of many personalities
Danny’s room is a rather long, cavernous space that’s the result of an addition the previous owners put on. On the lower level, the addition results in our family room; on the second story, they added on to the existing room. Before we moved in, it was a very interesting hodgepodge of finishes: textured ceilings of two different heights (the addition was two or three inches lower than the other), older walls finished with a textured plaster that was prickly to the touch and sponge-painted, red molding around the doors and baseboards, track lighting that put out a lot of heat, and different kinds of replacement windows.
As part of our pre-move-in renovation, our contractor and his team did a lot of work:
evened out the heights of the ceilings, smoothed them with plaster over new drywall, and painted them
took down the old walls and put up drywall over new insulation
added recessed lights, moved ceiling fan box to a more central location, installed new ceiling fan
removed old trim and doors and installed new trim, doors, and hardware (I still kind of regret not saving the old doors, but lead paint concerns won out here)
We painted the walls ourselves with the help of good friends.
Now, we have a room that is in pretty good shape, but not very cozy and not much fun.
The challenge: create a cozy, relaxing shared bedroom for big and little brother
We’d like to make Glen’s move-in feel special for Danny by incorporating elements like new bookcases and floor space for reading and playing, as well as family photos and other art. To give it a hyggeligt feel, we’ll add a rug (back in—we had one in there and moved it to another room, but realize it fits best in Danny’s room), some soft bedding and other textiles including window treatments, and other cozy elements. We’d also like to inspire some curiosity about the world around them, so we’re considering some global elements…maybe some art from travels or a world map…and perhaps a DIY nature art project.
Because Danny is so active and we’d like this to primarily be a space for relaxing, we’re going to try to keep the color palette calm: we’re keeping a weathered gray bed from Crate & Barrel’s Crate & Kids line (formerly Land of Nod) and a vintage mid-century dresser in a light walnut finish that I found last year on Craigslist. We’ll pull tones from these woods, include some white pieces, and add in some color through the wall art and books. The walls will stay a pale green color, but I think breaking up the space with shelves and wall art is going to make a big difference in helping it feel more like we’d envisioned it when we chose this paint color during our renovations.
Here’s what Danny’s room looks like now; next week, I’ll share more about the elements we’ll be incorporating.
And here’s a cute room by @chelseamohrman that has a different color palette but the same kind of vibe I’m going for: calm yet fun.
Hope you’ll follow along!
If you have any advice based on children’s bedroom renovations you’ve done or tips on making the transition to a shared bedroom go as smoothly as possible, please let me know!
I’m looking forward to seeing what the featured designers and other guest participants have planned as well. Say hi in the comments and share your site and Instagram handle if you’re participating! Because of some upheaval in our home life (dealing with kids’ school suddenly closing) I won’t be super-active on social media this time around, but would still love to see everyone’s projects when I can.