The 'New' Hygge for 2021? Etsy Says It's the Year of Friluftsliv

The Norwegian concept is the opposite of the beloved Danish one—and we love it

View from inside a tent

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In 2020, we embraced open air life out of necessity. It allowed us to escape the four walls of our hygge-filled homes and visit with loved ones. And we loved it so much that we’re in no hurry to bring the party back to closed up indoor spaces. That’s why Etsy is predicting friluftsliv (pronounced free-loofts-liv) will be a top trend in 2021.

Friluftsliv is the Norwegian concept of embracing nature and the outdoors as a way of life. It roughly translates as open-air life.

It’s no surprise that we’re enjoying the great outdoors so much after a challenging year. Contact with nature is healing, studies show. Expect to spend more time outdoors in three ways in 2021.

Create Your Own Outdoor Space

Web searches for outdoor furniture and outdoor space heaters are double what they were over the last five years. Along with a desire to be outside comes increased interest in suburban homes for entertaining al fresco.

Homes sales in suburbs are outpacing urban homes, according to a release from Realtor.com

“Buyers are currently looking to bring the indoors to outdoor spaces,” said Century 21 Realtor Brittany Balog. “Meaning they are looking for comfortable seating with fire pits, TVs, etc. People want to bring the comforts that are typically meant for the inside of the home to their outdoor living spaces. This is becoming more common as we know people are staying at home more often and want more diversity in their living spaces.”

You might consider an outdoor space with seating, blankets for chilly evenings, and some yard games as The NPD Group is predicting a renewed desire to entertain—safely. 

Explore the Outdoors

With indoor activities restricted, we flocked to parks, campgrounds, and lakes in 2020. Bikes and camping gear flew off store shelves. The trend continues into 2021.

Outdoor retailer REI reported that winter gear sales were at an all-time high. Increased interest in entry-level gear indicates that some people are partaking in outdoor activities for the first time ever.

“Getting out into nature is one of the best ways to stay balanced during this stressful time, and our numbers are showing more Americans are doing just that,” Ben Johns, REI general merchandising manager for action sports, said in a news release. “We’ve expanded inventory and continue to pivot however we can, to help more people get outside.”

Whether you choose physical adventures or relaxing time in the yard, the key to enjoying outdoor activities in winter weather is layers of proper gear. Start with a base layer that wicks sweat away, then a mid-layer to keep you warm. Top it all off with the appropriate outer layer for the climate—like snow pants or a rain coat.

Bring the Outdoors In

If furnishing a welcoming front porch for impromptu gatherings with the neighbors isn’t in your plans for 2021, you can always bring the outdoors in.

With Color

Starting with paint, Etsy is predicting sky blue will be the color of 2021.

“I believe sky blue will be important in 2021 because it's a reassuring color that serves as a positive presence in darker times,” said color expert Jacob Olesen. “It offers tranquility and peace, which we can all use right now.

“The reason why it's so calming is because it reminds us of the bright blue sky that's left after the clouds are gone. This contributes positively to an optimistic view of the future. This is also why Pantone chose a bright yellow color called Illuminating as one of their colors for 2021. This sunny yellow is cheerful and warm and provides us with optimism.”

With Feng Shui

Feng shui consultant Nitu Patel of Phoenix & Rose Feng Shui recommends bringing natural elements and their healing energy into the home.

“Any type of living energy or representation of living energy is great to boost the entire home,” Patel said.

Plants, images of nature, and essential oils all do the trick, so choose whatever is inspiring to you.

“I like to bring in images of plants or trees or a shower curtain with palm leaves for a visual representation of nature,” she said, noting that bathrooms and water represent money.

The kitchen is a good place to bring in edible elements. Have an herb garden or images of apples, which represent peace and prosperity. 

Earth elements in the love corner of bedrooms will help replenish relationship energy. This makes flowers or images of flowers perfect for the far-right corner of your bedroom.

Essential oils are another way to bring nature inside. Patel especially likes cinnamon essential oil because it banishes negativity—something we could all do without this year!