Hygge ( pronounced hoo-ga) is Danish for cozy, but to Hygge & West founders Aimee (pictured left) and Christiana (pictured right), it means so much more. Curling up by the fireplace with a great book, long informal dinners with close friends, goodnight hugs with your children- that is 'hygge.' Started in 2008, Hygge & West quickly became known for their bold and beautiful wallpaper designs (chances are you have seen their products on your favorite design blog) and better yet, all their wallpapers are made in the US and screen printed by hand. Read on to find out Christiana and Aimee's thoughts on design trends and what makes them feel most at home.
Describe your aesthetic when it comes to design. What styles tend to draw you in most?
H&W: "Our aesthetic encompasses quite a range, but overall we’re drawn to playful, unique design - we love things that are colorful, eye catching, and unexpected."
Who are you influenced by and where do you look for inspiration for a collection or pattern?
H&W: "It may be a cliche, but we’re very much influenced by travel and getting out into the world. Exploring new places has provided more inspiration for collections than anything else. Even just visiting art exhibits, checking out new shops and restaurants or taking a day or weekend trip out of town seems to open our eyes and minds a bit more to new ideas. We’re also design book and magazine junkies and we’re endlessly inspired by flipping through pages of beautiful interiors."
What are your tips for picking a wallpaper for a particular space? What are your go-to recommendations?
H&W: "We encourage people to pick a pattern that truly resonates with them that they will be happy to see everyday. Color wise, we never shy away from a black/gold or white/gold combo. Ever. So we always recommend those to people if they are looking for something more “neutral" that still has a presence and personality."
Tell us a little about your process when it comes to designing wallpaper:
H&W: "When we collaborate with designers, we see our role more as a translator than a designer. We take existing concepts and designs that we love and then adjust them to work with the medium. Wallpaper can be tricky - things that look great on a screen may not translate to the wall well and vice versa. We screen print our papers, so there are challenges with bringing certain types of designs to life within that production method. We’ve gotten better at knowing what just won’t work, and what can be adapted to work with some creative problem solving and experimentation. Ultimately, our goal is to end up with a design that reflects and celebrates the aesthetic of the designer while also being a successful wallpaper pattern that will look fantastic in our customers’ homes."
Favorite projects or collaborations you’ve done:
H&W: "Every collaboration we’ve done, we can honestly say we’ve loved. We just finished development on a new collection with Kate Arends of Wit & Delight that’s been a fun and exciting process, but also our biggest challenge. We’re hoping to launch it this summer (think H&W patterns you can sleep with!)."
Favorite design trends or timeless looks that you love:
H&W: "Mixing materials, mixing old and new - we like combinations that create some tension and juxtaposition. Having grown up together in northern New Mexico, we’re both hoping that southwestern style stages a bigger comeback sometime in the near future."
Least favorite design trends:
H&W: "We believe that if you love something “trendy” then you love it and should just roll with it. Trends these days seem to come and go so fast that hating on a trend or avoiding something because it’s too trendy doesn’t seem worth it. Give it six months and hopefully no one will remember that we’re supposed to be over raw edge furniture or copper or ombre, etc. Having too many trends in the same space, well that’s probably something to avoid. And keeping your accents trendy while ensuring that your bigger pieces are more classic is an easy way to move through trends easily and inexpensively. But… Pineapples? Birds? If you love it, hold on to it! Or at least that’s what we plan to do…"
Favorite color palette or materials to work with:
Christiana: "I love red/pink, black/white, green/red, anything metallic and then anything with texture – cozy wool blankets, soft sheets, leather seating, etc."
Aimee: "I’m a bit more neutral in my palette preference - warm grays, whites, blues. That said, I’m a sucker for a pop of red. I love natural materials for their warmth and texture -- wood, leather, linen, wool."
What’s your top design trick to share?
H&W: "Wallpaper makes everything better :)"
What’s your dream design project?
H&W: "We’d LOVE to design a boutique hotel and go nuts with the wallpaper (of course)!"
Finally, what makes a house a home to you?
Christiana: "That’s a great question! I spend a lot of time at my boyfriend’s house these days who pretty much takes the opposite approach to design than me (he’s all about function, less about the rest). II feel just as comfortable and happy there. So, I’d say all it really takes for a house to feel like home is a cozy bed, some milk in the fridge and two very sweet dog faces that are always excited to see me. I think a house becomes a home when you feel you can be 100% yourself there."
Aimee: "First and foremost, the people (and fur people) who live there. We have a full house between my husband, our two teenaged sons and our menagerie of three dogs and a cat. It’s important to me that our home feels comfortable, and that it reflects who we are as a family - fun, casual, and a bit messy with occasional bouts of complete chaos! While I have to balance form and function pretty diligently in my design choices, we’ve managed to create a space that’s both beautiful and durable. We’ve made so many wonderful memories in our house - it’s where our boys grew up and we can’t imagine living anywhere else."
I Head over to Hygge & West to shop their full collection of wallpaper I
Images via: Hygge & West