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Design Hunter

10 ways to embrace Hygge this winter

Helen Powell

French Connection sofa DFS

From 'How to Hygge' to 'The Little Book of Hygge' and a host of other titles, this autumn has seen the publication of a whole swathe of books on the subject of Hygge. It seems I can hardly open a magazine, check my inbox or even glance at my social feeds at the moment without coming across some mention of it.

It's a concept that has perhaps become a little faddish, but the truth is I pretty much live by the principles of hygge most days without even thinking about it. It's entwined in almost every element of my life at this time of year and the idea of the home as a restorative place is a theme that runs through many of the posts I write here on Design Hunter.

I am most definitely a homebody. When I worked in a job that made me miserable home was my sanctuary, it was the place I longed to retreat to at the end of the day. And now that I'm fortunate enough to be able to work from home, and to even write about homes and interiors for a living, it's still the place where I'm happiest. Much as I enjoy socialising and love meeting fellow bloggers I rarely suffer from fear of missing out if I have to turn down an invitation to a party or event. The truth is there's often nowhere I'd rather be than curled up on the sofa at home with Graham and Albert.

So as the clocks go back this weekend and the nights start to draw in towards winter I've teamed up with DFS to style this lovely Flint sofa and show how I bring hygge to life in our home.

Hygge to me is about inviting friends and family into my home and creating a warm and cosy environment in which they feel welcome and at ease. It's also about creating little moments of ritual and celebration that enrich our everyday lives and enhance our well-being - making time to set the table properly for dinner each night, and always eating by candlelight for example, or settling down to watch Netflix tucked under a soft, cosy throw with a sleeping whippet tucked under my arm.

Here are 10 ways to embrace hygge this winter.

French Connection DFS sofa | Design Hunter


Although Christmas is traditionally the time when we bring armfuls of greenery into our homes, I also like to bring a little scented foliage indoors during the autumn months. Nothing beats the scent of fresh eucalyptus and I often pick up a bunch from my local greengrocers at this time of year.

2. Eat dinner by candlelight

It's a simple ritual, but one that creates a sense of occasion. It also encourages us to be fully present, signalling that it's time to switch off the TV, put aside our phones and give our undivided attention to the people we are sitting down to eat with.

3.Invest in a new sofa

Hygge for me is all about putting my feet up and having a cosy night in, so a large comfortable sofa like the Flint 4 seater sofa from the French Connection range at DFS is a must. I love the soft shade of dusty blue - a close match for the 2017 colour of the year Denim Drift - and the elegant wooden legs which lend a lightness to the design. Pale blue isn't necessarily a practical option for everyone but it's available in other shades too. Or for a leather option the classic Danish mid-century style of this tan leather sofa also caught my eye.

Sofa and throw
French Connection DFS sofa | Design Hunter
Georg Jensen Urkiola candleholder

4. Take a lazy bath & then slip into your favourite pjs & cashmere bedsocks

Is there anything more hygge than cashmere?


The Swedes even have a word for it - fika.

6. Create a cosy atmosphere with layers of lighting

Use a combination of tea lights, table lamps, scented candles and soft mood lighting to build up different layers of lighting. As well as illuminating different areas of a space this will also add warmth and ambience.


Set aside some time to gather and feast with those closest to you. Sometimes life gets in the way and we forget what's most important. 

Hot chocolate and cashmere socks
French Connection sofa DFS
Pale blue sofa and vase of eucalyptus

8. Have a Netflix night in

We're half way through Narcos at the moment. Any tips on what we should watch next?

9. Enjoy a hot chocolate drink at bedtime

Choose a favourite mug and make it an occasional treat to look forward to.

10. Book a weekend away in the country

Late autumn is the perfect time for a short break in the country. It's low season so there are plenty of bargains to be snapped up and nothing beats the feeling of returning home from a country walk to settle down in front of a roaring fire.

How do you hygge?

Hot chocolate
Hay throw and pictures
Urkiola candleholder by Patricia Urquiola for Georg Jensen

Styling and photography by Design Hunter in collaboration with DFS.

Stylish kitchen solutions from Brabantia

Helen Powell

Brabantia kitchen styling by Design Hunter

Stylish storage solutions aren't just for treasured possessions and objects we keep long term - there's an abundance of them available for more transient everyday things like food and waste too. As an interiors obsessive I pay a lot of attention to the design details in our home right down to even the most basic and functional of products. Kitchen items like bins may not seem particularly glamorous, but products that both do the job effectively and look good can make household chores just that little bit easier. It's all about managing 'stuff' as it comes into and then goes out of our lives.

I've always really liked the style and quality of Brabantia products - I've used their bins for years - and today I wanted to share a few items from their current range that I've recently incorporated into our kitchen. 

Kitchen Shelves
Brabantia kitchen styling by Design Hunter

The first product I chose was this elegant white touch bin. It's a stylish and unobtrusive design that will fit easily into clean, minimal interiors. Brabantia make bins in a wide range of different colour options so you can choose one to colour co-ordinate with your home, which in my case of course means black and white! (It was a tough call to pass up on this lovely clay pink version though.) I love the contrast of the black 'piping' detail around the rim and the lid opens and closes with a lovely soft touch mechanism that is satisfying slow and silent - I can obsess about little things like that. Please tell me I'm not the only one!

It's really easy to fill, empty and clean and you can fix the liners neatly out of sight so that they don't spill out over the edge of the bin. Brabantia bin liners are great quality so if you hate struggling with cheap bags that have a tendency to split these are definitely worth paying a little more for. They fit perfectly and have an integrated tie tape, so it's easy to lift them out out and tie them up when you need to carry them outside.

Kitchen shelves | Design Hunter

I also chose a bread bin in the same white finish. It has a drop front which makes opening and closing it really quick and easy and the flat top effectively creates a shelf that you can use for storage jars or other kitchen items. I've discovered that it's also the perfect size for using as a cookbook rest if you want to keep your favourite cookbook open at a recipe while preparing food.

It's fair to say that when it comes to colour in the home I'm probably more restrained than most. This is particularly true in the kitchen where I'm mostly drawn to black and white. I've tried to break out of monochrome mode and introduce a few hints of colour though - just the tiniest touch of pink here and there and a splash of blue in the form of this compact and easily portable recycling bin for compostable waste. You don't always have to paint an entire wall to introduce colour into a space - a few accents here and there can be very satisfying. I've taken lots of inspiration from the gorgeous colour palettes and interior styling in the latest Brabantia lookbook which is full of beautiful images, many of which have already found their way onto my Pinterest boards, and you can view the Brabantia #LoveColour range here.

Brabantia recycling bin
The Kinfolk Table
Brabantia styling by Design Hunter

Styling & photography by Design Hunter in collaboration with Brabantia.

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Ding | A beautifully simple smart doorbell

Helen Powell

Ding Smart Doorbell | Design Hunter

Here's an interesting new design concept from husband and wife team John Nussey and Avril O'Neil. They recently got in touch to tell me about their new smart home product Ding which launches today on Kickstarter and I immediately thought it sounded like a really useful and seemingly simple idea that so many of us could benefit from.

Essentially it's a clever little doorbell, chime and app combo that turns your phone into an intercom wherever you are, ensuring that you never miss answering your front door again. It's made up of three key elements - a minimally styled doorbell button, a chime that sits within your home and a free smartphone app. When someone presses the doorbell the chime dings and also places a voice call through the Ding smartphone app, allowing you to talk to the person at the door from anywhere.

I can think of multiple reasons why this might be really useful. I receive lots of deliveries at home and it can be frustrating to have to wait in for them if I don't know what time they'll be arriving. It would be great to know that I could speak to the delivery driver and ask them to leave parcels in a safe place or with a neighbour if I've had to nip out on an errand as chasing up missed packages can be quite time consuming.

If you often spend time in the garden you could use the app to ensure that you don't miss any visitors who happen to pop round, and for those with young children I imagine it would be really useful to know that you can turn the doorbell chime off and choose to receive quieter alerts on your phone instead, ensuring that you are available to answer the door without having to worry about waking up sleeping little ones.

Designed to fit harmoniously into the home the chime is finished in a high quality fabric and can either be wall mounted or placed on any flat surface. The product is initially being offered in charcoal grey but Kickstarter backers can also vote on a limited edition colour option of teal, cobalt or salmon.

John and Avril are currently seeking backers to take Ding into production and you can view their Kickstarter campaign here.

Ding Smart Doorbell
Ding Smart Doorbell
Ding Smart Doorbell

Posted in collaboration with Ding

Function + Form at the Dean Street Café

Helen Powell

Dean Street Cafe | Nina and Co

A few weeks ago I joined a group of design bloggers and Instagram friends at the new Dean Street café in Soho for an inspiring gathering organised by We are Function and FormIt's a lovely space, nestled inside a building first designed in 1686 by Sir Christopher Wren and it's also where the homelessness charity Centrepoint first began its work 50 years ago.

Over a delicious breakfast we enjoyed an uplifting talk from the project's interior designer Nina Woodcroft and learned how she designed this flexible space to accommodate the charity's weekday functions and to neatly transform into a café on Saturdays and Sundays, allowing maximum use of this historic building. Sustainable materials have been used where possible - the joinery is reclaimed English oak or birch ply from sustainably managed forests - and the overall effect is light and soothing. I loved the pale aquamarine pegboard walls and the fun neons, and the sweet little terrace at the back is an oasis of calm in the heart of Soho.

The social café will provide training and experience for young people supported by Centrepoint, enabling them to gain skills that will help them into employment. Meanwhile Nina is currently working on another social enterprise project - the Luminary Bakery, a bakery and café project in Stoke Newington that will offer opportunities for vulnerable women to build a future for themselves and their families through baking. She also recently launched her debut tableware collection. The Breakfast Collection is available at Nina and Co and a beautiful special edition mug is available exclusively at At the Table.

Huge thanks to Annie and Tiffany for organising the event and to Centrepoint for hosting us.

Dean Street Cafe | Nina and Co
Dean Street Café | Nina and Co
Dean Street Café | Nina and Co
Dean Street Cafe | Nina and Co
Dean Street Café | Nina and Co
Dean Street Cafe | Nina and Co
Nina + Co | Dean Street Café

The Dean Street Café is open on Saturdays and Sundays at 54 Dean Street, London, W1D 6AE. The space is also available for event bookings. 

Photography © Anna Stathaki

Show and Tell | September

Helen Powell

Kensington & Chelsea magazien feature | Design Hunter

As we head further into autumn here's a quick look back at September and a round up of a few of the things I've been doing, enjoying and discovering over the past few weeks.


At home

Garmence Wine Studio

I love discovering and drinking good wine at home, but unless you are a real wine buff it's not always easy to know what to buy. I was recently introduced to Garmence Wine Studio, a new online store founded by father and daughter team Charlotte and Benoit Calvet that brings fine wine from Europe's small producers to the UK. Their first collection of just twelve limited edition wines is both crafted and curated in close partnership with local producers. Each one comes with a beautifully designed label and the company delivers direct to your home with stylish and secure packaging at your chosen hourly time slot.


In the kitchen

De Longhi Avvolta kettle

This sculptural kettle from the new Avvolta collection by De'Longhi has been making a statement in my kitchen this month. Featuring asymmetric horizontal layered bands the design takes its style cues from the Guggenheim Museum in New York. The collection also includes a futuristic toaster with chrome accents.


Out & About

Image courtesy of Petersham Nurseries

Image courtesy of Petersham Nurseries

I enjoyed a delightful evening at Petersham Nurseries last week for a preview of their new Christmas collections. This was the magical table setting we sat down to for a dinner by chef Damian Clisby and Culinary Director Lucy Boyd. Their 2016 Christmas collections will be available from the end of October.



Kensington and Chelsea magazine feature | Design Hunter

Vuelio got in touch to let me know that Design Hunter has again been featured in the latest update of their influential Top 10 UK Interiors Bloggers list (yay! thank you all for reading), and I was thrilled to be interviewed for a feature in the October edition of Kensington and Chelsea magazine alongside three amazing women who I really admire in the interiors world - Sophie Robinson, Abigail Ahern and Niki Brantmark of My Scandinavian Home. The interview is also online at Luxury London if you fancy a read.


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blanket  |  bed linen  |  wine*  |  wine glasses  |  kettle*  |  cupsmall ceramic bowl

*sample sent for review