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)
Baking is the ultimate inside friluftsliv activity and this beautiful set of mixing bowls will ensure you’re well on your way. Made from natural, scratch-resistant stoneware, the bowls come in white or red and they nest when not in use — a space-saving design detail we can get behind! If you’re looking for something less breakable, we suggest the brand’s cult-favorite melamine bowls, which come with spouts or in a stackable set of six.
CBYMCreative Floating Mountain Shelf Shelves ($158; etsy.com)
Mountain-shaped shelves that are hand-milled and -crafted from locally-harvested wood in Oklahoma? Yep, these Etsy stunners are guaranteed to spark all the friluftsliv joy in your space.
MelanieAbrantes Modern Cork Planters ($89; etsy.com)
Surrounding yourself in greenery is a key friluftsliv tenet, and all your new plant friends are going to need containers! Enter: These cute-as-can-be planters that are handmade from cork and beeswax. Available in four sizes, the vintage-esque planters have a shellacked interior to prevent any leaking.
Natural Tree-Stump Side Table ($299; westelm.com)
Two things we love? Side tables and natural wood materials. And this West Elm beauty is exactly that. Made from fallen cypress trees, each of these solid wood side tables is completely unique and chock full of gorgeous knots and divots. Evoking nature walks of yore and inspiring future hikes, the table is the perfect perch for your morning cup of coffee.
Tempaper Linen Burlap Removable Peel and Stick Wallpaper ($39.99 per roll; amazon.com)
Peel-and-stick wallpaper is all the rage these days, understandably so — what’s not to love about a high-quality, but totally temporary wallpaper? We’ve tested out this Tempaper beauty and can confirm that the burlap texture is equal parts subtle and chic. Available in a creamy white “linen” or a light blue “ocean mist” hue, the paper is going to lighten and brighten your space.
Adds Dalton-Cooney: “As biophilic design creates a connection to the natural environment, recall what elements in nature inspire or calm you. Wallpaper with texture that you not only see but feel will add visual interest to your space.”
Bearaby Tree Napper ($269; bearaby.com)
Weighted blankets are nothing new, but weighted blankets that are gorgeous enough to be on display 24/7? Well, yeah, that’s worth a double take. Enter: Bearaby’s handknit Tree Napper blanket that has a cult following — seriously, it once amassed a waitlist topping 80,0000.
Available in 15-, 20- and 25-pound weights, the blanket is crafted from plant-based Tencel and just dropped five new nature-inspired colorways, from a marigold-esque “maple” to an oatmeal-ish “driftwood,” all of which will look gorgeous on your couch, chair or bed. Read our Bearaby review here.
’Overview: A New Perspective of Earth’ by Benjamin Grant ($22.99; amazon.com)
According to McKeown, books are a friluftsliv must-have. “Depending on where you live, getting into nature may be difficult,” she says. “No matter what your location, one way to channel Friluftsliv at home is to keep a collection of books that can mentally transport you to the outdoors. By keeping books about or inspired by the natural world around your home-on coffee tables, side tables and nightstands, the connectivity to the deep natural world in your mind is just an arm’s reach away.”
We couldn’t agree more, and this book, “Overview: A New Perspective of Earth” by Benjamin Grant is among our favorites. Boasting more than 200 aerial images taken via satellite, the book highlights beaches, farms, cities, islands and more that will have you drooling… and ready to plan your next adventure.
Opalhouse designed with Jungalow Carved Wood Mirror ($80; target.com)
Ask any interior design expert and they’ll attest that the quickest way to enlarge a space — without knocking down walls, that is — is to invest in mirrors… lots of them! We love this option from Target’s Justina Blakeney collab, which is pretty big at 24 x 36-inches and comes with hooks for mounting. Our favorite feature, however, is the gorgeous carved detailing throughout. It’s the perfect addition to your wide open space.
Serena & Lily Hanging Rattan Chair ($498; serenaandlily.com)
This chair is a best-seller for Serena & Lily and it’s easy to understand why — ultra-sturdy and cozy, the chair is also stunning to look at and totally fun to sit and swing in! Sculpted from hand-bent rattan, the chair’s open-air structure ensures it won’t block any sightlines to outside, while still providing some much-needed seating. Trust us, everyone will be fighting over this perch.
Tavi Rattan Room Divider ($399; urbanoutfitters.com)
Tell us you’re two separate areas, without telling us you’re two separate seating areas, mmk? Luckily, with some help from Urban Outfitters’ boho-inspired Tavi room divider, you can do just that in a way that won’t darken or depress any space. Crafted from rattan that has been twisted and tied in a geometric pattern, the airy room divider will allow you to create distinct zones within your big ol’ space. More to know: The tri-panel screen can fold flat too.
A cozy outdoor spot
Birch Lane Lebeau Rectangular Fire Pit Table ($699, originally $880.99; birchlane.com)
To truly harness the friluftsliv spirit, one must head outdoors. But as anyone in the Northeast can attest, the temps are going to be dropping fast in the upcoming months. The solution? A fire table! We’re obsessed with this chic steel slatted option from Birch Lane that mimics the look of shiplap and will blend in beautifully with your existing outdoor setup.
Available in white, gray and black, the table can work with natural gas or propane, and it’s large enough to conceal the tank inside the table — a major win. More to know: The table comes with filler, a lid and a cover. Did we mention it’s also majorly on sale right now?
HBeeFire Large Hot Rolled Steel Fire Pit ($296.81; etsy.com)
If a wood-burning fire pit is more your speed, this artistic option from Etsy top retailer HBeeFire is a sure bet. Easily assembled and disassembled without tools — it comes in four pieces and has a sliding slot system — the steel fire pit takes up literally no room when not in use.
Fab Habitat Outdoor Reversible Rug (starting at $55; amazon.com)
A quick way to hygge up your outdoor area is by adding a rug to anchor the footprint of the space, but not just any rug will do! Made from recycled plastic, these reversible options by Fab Habitat are an Amazon favorite — they’ve amassed more than 6,600 positive reviews already. Available in a dozen colorways (from muted greys to sunny yellows), the rugs can be hosed off and are mold- and dirt-resistant, making them an option even for uncovered spaces in wetter climates.
Ooni Koda 12 Gas Powered Pizza Oven ($349; ooni.com)
Get your friends and family outside interacting this fall with an al fresco pizza night. How? With the Ooni Koda, of course! The gas-powered outdoor oven churns out restaurant-quality Neapolitan pizzas all day (and night) long — seriously, it can fully cook a pizza in just 60 seconds! Ultra-portable, the Ooni’s leg’s fold flat and this version can easily connect to a propane take. Done and done.
Chappywrap Harborview Herringbone Navy Original Blanket ($135; chappywrap.com)
Meet Instagram’s most beloved blanket! Adored by influencers near and far, Chappywrap is that rare brand that is actually worth the hype. Made from a reversible, ultra-soft jacquard weave, the outdoor blankets — don’t worry, you’ll likely be using them indoors, too — are oversized to either a) completely swaddle you, or b) comfortably ensconce you and a friend (or two!).
We’re obsessed with the brand’s nautical and preppy patterns, and the fact that they can be machine washed and dried with zero fading or shrinking. Trust us, these are worth the splurge, and ensure you’ll be staying outside longer and later this winter.
Frontgate Commercial Patio Heater ($449.10; frontgate.com)
Follow in your favorite restaurant’s footsteps by purchasing a patio heater — nothing will keep you outside longer than a solid heat source from above. We love this one from Frontgate because it’s ultra-sturdy and stable, and because it’s got a whopping 46,000 BTUs output, meaning everyone is going to be toasty warm as they achieve peak friluftsliv goals this winter.