We’re all familiar with hygge, the concept of heightening our cozy and comfy experience at home, which became omnipresent just as Covid-19 — and all its stay-at-home mandates — came to fruition. And now, as the pandemic is allowing room for more socialization, comes “friluftsliv,” the al fresco Norwegian sister concept that entails embracing outdoor life (regardless of the season).
Highlighting fresh air, nature and adventures galore, the idea of friluftsliv — pronounced “free-loves-liv” — literally means “open-air living” and is rooted in activity and spending time with loved ones. Need proof of its popularity? Just take a peek at the phrase’s Instagram hashtag, which has a whopping 1.2 million posts, and you’ll find families and friends around the world camping, kayaking, hiking, fishing, foraging and more.
What is the friluftsliv interior design trend?
When interlaced with interior design, friluftsliv aims to bring the outdoor experience into our indoor spaces. “Nature has a profound impact on our overall well-being, both physically and emotionally,” says Chapel Hill, North Carolina-based designer Kristin Bartone of Bartone Interiors. “By infusing natural elements into our interior spaces, we stay connected even when we are indoors. Designing this way helps reduce stress and increase environmental stewardship.”
How, specifically, can we channel friluftsliv into our homes? According to Etsy trend expert Dayna Isom Johnson, “Shoppers can embrace [the trend] by incorporating items that help connect them with nature, like landscape-inspired wall art, indoor planters or organic materials. After a year and a half spent mostly indoors, and with many continuing to work or learn from home, friluftsliv offers shoppers a connection to nature and its calming, grounding effects.”
Wayfair Professional design manager Erin Dalton-Cooney compares friluftsliv to the quickly growing biophilic design trend of infusing the outdoors inside, both of which “bring natural elements (or the illusion of the outdoors) into the home or workplace to promote mindfulness and decrease mental fatigue.” To do so, she recommends wallpaper with texture, such as grasscloth or sisal; lots of greenery; earth tones; furnishings made from natural materials like rattan and cane; and “placing furniture near windows or with a view outside to create a restorative connection.”
Adds Heather McKeown, founder of New Jersey-based Land and Sky Designs, “Incorporating a floral wallpaper or hexagonal tiles in your bathroom can subconsciously create an association or memory to time spent outdoors.”
And, fear not, friluftsliv can be applied in your open-air spaces too. “Friluftsliv is [also] meant to make the colder winter months more bearable if you choose to be outside,” says Kristen Gall, Rakuten Rewards’ president and shopping expert, adding that even if our houses are cozy as can be, shoppers still want to head outdoors — even in the middle of winter! “This urge to get outside calls for home decor shoppers to buy things that make outdoor spaces warmer — like fire pits and tables, space heaters, thick blankets and slippers — so that they can still enjoy the winter while being outdoors.”
Below, find your friluftsliv cheat sheet, chock-full of artwork, candles, decor, furniture and entertaining essentials all meant to connect you more to nature, both inside your home and out. Summing it up perfectly, McKeown says, “It is in our core nature to be connected to the outside world and elements. Incorporating natural associations into our home environment is a fantastic way to inspire and remind us of the simple pleasures of being in the great outdoors.”
L’or de Seraphine Whitby Candle (starting at $32; lordeseraphine.com)
We love nothing more than a twofer here at Underscored, and this stunning candle by L’or de Seraphine is just that. Housed in gorgeous ceramic vessels, the candles can become beautiful catchalls for pens on your desk, cotton balls on your vanity or keepsakes on a bookshelf long after the wick’s last burn. Regardless of how you repurpose the candle, trust that it will look gorgeous wherever it lands — and it will smell delicious during its 45 to 80 hours of burn time. We’re partial to the Whitby’s sea salt-infused aroma, which harkens days at the beach, and boasts a mesmerizing wave pattern on its exterior.
Sweet Water Decor Leaves Candle ($24; amazon.com)
Minimalist in design, this Sweet Water Decor candle from Amazon Handmade is going to mesh beautifully with your existing decor scheme — while bringing with it the crisp scent of leaves on a fall day.
Rifle Paper Co. High Peaks of the Adirondack Forest ($34; riflepaperco.com)
Housed in a forest green glass vessel, the candle’s label is bursting with whimsical florals, bold colors and chic metallic gold fonts — making it the perfect accent for a powder room or coffee table. If you’re looking for something a bit lighter in scent, try the brand’s lemon-infused Amalfi del Mar or the utterly feminine Jardin de Paris.
Hearth & Hand with Magnolia Harvest Spice Textured Glass Seasonal Candle ($14.99; target.com)
If you love all things autumnal, then you’re going to be sold on this fall-inspired candle from Joanna Gaines’ Hearth & Hand with Magnolia line at Target. Priced at just under 15 bucks, the candle combines cinnamon, clove and nutmeg spices creamy vanilla notes, and is guaranteed to make your home smell like a Vermont cabin — even if you’re based in a California condo.
Vitruvi Stone Diffuser ($119; vitruvi.com)
Looking for a flame-free scent? Vitruvi’s Stone Diffuser is the answer. Beautiful in its natural shape and design, the diffuser’s cover is crafted from a matte ceramic (it comes in eight earthy hues) material that will infuse your space (up to 500 square feet) with relaxing scents from the brand’s non-toxic, all-natural, 100% pure essential oils.
Lettuce Grow Farmstand (starting at $348; lettucegrow.com)
You know that glow you get when hitting up your local farmer’s market? Imagine if you could access that Mother Earth vibe 24/7 at your home… oh wait, now you can, thanks to Lettuce Grow’s genius Farmstand.
Founded by Zooey Deschanel, Lettuce Grow gives everyone an instant, fool-proof green thumb with its vertical hydroponic system dubbed Farmstand. It is self-watering, self-fertilizing and can grow up to 36 pre-sprouted plants simultaneously in a fraction of the time it would take if you were, say, starting a home garden. Buyers can choose from more than 200 seedlings (everything from berries and veggies to flowers, herbs and leafy greens), and fear not, if the weather takes a turn for the worse, the Farmstand can be moved indoors or out — all you need is four square feet and electricity (and Glow Rings if you’re headed inside). Ranging in size from 3’8” (12 plants) to 6’1” (36 plants), Farmstand is going to make an impression wherever it lands.
Bloomscape’s Prickly Pear Cactus ($69; bloomscape.com)
There are a lot of cacti to choose from, but we’re completely smitten with the beavertail-shaped pads of this prickly pear option from Bloomscape, a direct-to-consumer houseplant delivery company. Channeling the deserts of the west, this plant is low-maintenance, pet-friendly and removes toxins from the air in your home. More to know: The cactus comes with soil and in a recycled plastic pot, which is available in five muted colorways.
The Sill Easy Care Bundle ($45; thesill.com)
Ready to become a plant person? Let online plant delivery company The Sill get you started with this easy-care duo that doesn’t require a ton light of light or water (seriously, you only have to water them every two weeks!) — but will surely bring a whole lot of fresh greenery to your space. More to know: The plants come in terra cotta-hued grow pots, if you want a more polished planter, check out The Sill’s selection here.
Threshold designed with Studio McGee Artificial Rubber Leaf Tree ($50; target.com)
We think this 3-foot artificial option from Target collab Threshold designed with Studio McGee is a total winner. Not only is it maintenance free, but it’s also ultra-realistic looking with vibrant green leaves that are shiny on one side, matte on the other, and with a trunk featuring faux bark that looks just like the real thing. Our favorite detail, however, is the rattan basket that is included.
Nearly Natural Artificial Ficus Tree (starting at $55.73; amazon.com)
A key way to embody friluftsliv at home? “Decorate with nature,” says McKeown. “Try putting a large tree in your living room, the bigger, the better!”
This ficus, available in sizes three feet to nine feet, from Nearly Natural will certainly do the trick. Beloved by more than 11,000 Amazon reviewers, the faux tree features hundreds of leaves (1,0008 exactly for the six footer!) and comes in a non-decorative pot… meaning you might want to invest in something with a bit more style if basic black isn’t your thing.
EucalyptusBlooms Shower Eucalyptus Bundle (starting at $15.12; etsy.com)
Self-care plus friluftsliv? Yep, it exists. Just take this bundle of eucalyptus, which can be hung in your shower head and emits a completely relaxing, spa-like aroma under the heat and steam. Great for everything from reducing anxiety to opening your sinuses, the eucalyptus bundle is also super pretty to look at as you make your way into the shower every morning.
Idyll The Dip (starting at $168; idyll.com)
If you’re like us, you’re going to take one look at this stunning print and book your next vacation. Embodying all the friluftsliv values — wide open spaces, adventure, fun and happiness — this gorgeous piece from Idyll Collective photographers (and twin sisters!) Lindsey Bundschuh and Rebecca Amber will add just the right amount of wanderlust to your space.
Available in six sizes, from small (14- x 18-inches for $168) to statement (40 x 60-inches for $1,828) and with a matte or full bleed, the boutique art gallery’s luxurious prints are created through archival techniques and comes with a real wood Larson Juhl frame handcrafted in the US. More to know: For every print sold, Idyll is planting five trees. If that’s not friluftsliv-friendly, then we don’t know what is!
LemoneeOnTheHills Rainier National Park Art Print (starting at $7; etsy.com)
Channel the stunning snow-topped vistas of Washington’s Mount Rainier with this crisp print on matte paper. Did we mention the photo starts at just seven bucks? Proof that friluftsliv doesn’t need to break the bank!
Minted Gone Coastal by Jess Franks (starting at $24; minted.com)
Not all art needs to be so literal, which is why we love this abstract take on Maine’s coastal islands by Minted artist Jess Franks. Depicting the rocky coasts, green hillsides, choppy seas and gorgeous skies the Pine Tree State is known for, this piece is also perfect for adding a hefty dose of color onto a blank wall.
We love all of Minted’s flexibility when it comes to customizing your art — Gone Coastal, for instance, can be purchased as a print, a framed print (with or without a matte, float mounting is also available), a canvas or a framed canvas in sizes small (5 x 7) to massive (40 x 54). Regardless of what you choose, trust that the quality of the artwork and the craftsmanship of the framing is going to far exceed the cost, making it a worthwhile investment.
Project 62 Van and Surfboard Framed Wall Art ($50; target.com)
Is your gallery wall begging for some beachy vibes? Look no further than this adorable set of 16 x 20-inch framed prints from Project 62 that are sure to evoke memories of adventures past and spark ideas for new ones in the future. Pro tip: Scoop these up now, they are going to go fast because they’re a steal at this price.
Minted Hilltop by Stephanie Goos Johnson (starting at $24; minted.com)
We’re not sure about you, but every time we look at this stunning piece all we can hear is Julie Andrews singing, “The hills are alive, with the sound of music!” And yeah, maybe we want to run and twirl around that meadow, too. Point being: Hilltop by Minted artist Stephanie Goos Johnson stirs up all the best friluftsliv feelings — and it will bring a lovely (and wee bit melancholy) dose of green landscape into your space. Like Gone Coastal above, Hilltop can also be purchased as a solo print, a framed print, a canvas or a framed canvas.
Our Place Walnut Cutting Board ($95; fromourplace.com)
A key aspect of friluftsliv is activity and spending time with loved ones — achieve both while entertaining inside your home this winter with nature-inspired must-haves. Case in point: This stunning cutting board from Always Pan brand Our Place. Perfect for meal prep, meat carving or as the backdrop to a badass cheese spread, the board is made from American black walnut wood that is utterly gorgeous in real life. We love the deep trench for catching juices and those super helpful inset handles.
Wüsthof Gourmet 16-Piece Knife Set ($349.95; williamssonoma.com)
Ensure your dinner party goes off without a hitch with this must-have set of high carbon stainless steel knives from legendary German cutlery company Wüsthof. Housed in a beautiful hardwood block, the sprawling set covers all your needs — from basic kitchen knives and four steak knives to specialty knives for advanced chefs. Oh, and it also includes the best pair of shears on the planet.
Laurie Bed Tray ($99; urbanoutfitters.com)
Breakfast in bed is always a good idea, especially if you’re entertaining a special guest. Don’t be fooled by this feminine bed tray though — made of bamboo and rattan, it’s durable despite looking dainty! Our favorite design detail is the side pocket that can be a catchall for napkins and utensils, a magazine or whatever you need to tote up their bedroom.
Ribbed Ceramic Mixing Bowls, Set of 3 ($79.95; williamssonoma.com)