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“The Dolce Far Niente”: How to Master the Art of Doing Nothing

 

The season’s first wisp of cool crisp air following the humid temperatures of the summer months, is an instantaneous reminder that not many pleasures compare to a cozy night in. You can elevate such a night by allocating time to setting the right atmosphere, where you are surrounded by relaxing accouterments, with a plan to do nothing but soak in your immediate environment. Studies show that activity free downtime has important soothing effects on our brains and our bodies and have benefits that mimic those of meditation. In other countries, such as Italy, this notion is reinforced with idiosyncratic phrases dedicated to the very concept of such leisure; “la dolce far niente” being of them, roughly translating to “the art of doing nothing”. To set the perfect atmosphere for such a night we compiled a list of hassle free items, to be thrown together and draped over, for lazy yet effortlessly chic nights in.

“Dolce Far Niente” in Italian art 
By John William Godward, 1904

The first area of focus is undoubtedly the making of a comfortable space, for which blankets are essential.  While the season doesn’t yet call for the heaviest blankets, you don’t have to invest in the transitional throws, if double investment is not in your interest. If you like to be generally on the warmer side, you can invest in the heavier piece for snuggling purposes this season and use it functionally during the next. The faux fur throws below are the perfect luxurious investments: 

 

Faux Fur Brown Chinchilla Australian Geelong Wool Throw
Faux Fur Plaid Silver Fox Australian Geelong Wool Throw

These rarefied faux fur pillows contribute to a soft center with comfortable items:

Faux Fur Beige Pillows

However if warm isn’t your usual preference, and you generally prefer staying cooler, a transitional throw might be necessary.  The upside to getting such pieces, despite the need to reinvest in a heavier piece, is that they last for a long time and can be used during this time of year, every year. The options below are the perfect transitional pieces: 

Plain Cashmere Throw
Pixel Cashmere Throw

The same applies to  the pillows, as the faux fur ones allow for heat retention:

Morris Flowers Tapestry Pillows

Once you have seating area arranged, the next step is to work in creating the atmosphere. The Danish and the Japanese believe so strongly in the mental effects of being in a certain atmosphere that the preparation practice is very commonplace in both regions. The most important part of their planning process, is making sure that everything within the range of sight and smell, is favored or fondly remembered by the person. For example, if you have fond memories of freshly cut grass, then the choice for a candle scent is freshly cut grass. Furthermore, in Danish culture, where there is an obsession around “hygge” or coziness, it is customary to place knickknacks or sentimental items that the person strongly associates with pleasure nearby. The point is to be surrounded by as many items that either instigate happy memories, or have a calming effect.

Danish Custom “Hygge”

The following accessories can help bring your picked items into a coherent style.

 

Lalique Votives
Brass Hurricane Lamp

Once you have the perfect mood lighting to go with your cherished items, you can some everyday china, meant for decades long use, to hold your favorite spreads.

Green Trellis with Scallions and Garlic Chip & Dip

 

Homely mugs add the cozy touch you need to complete the night:

Yellow Blue Flowers Mug

 

Royal Copenhagen Mug Set of 3

The items that you choose to accompany you for this recharging experience are secondary to the mindset that is required to make the night successful. The purpose is to let go of daily stresses and to practice mindfulness, in a time when much our routines are ingrained to be performed without much thought.  The familiarity of the items that you choose to be surrounded by add to a sense of belonging in a designated space, and can strengthen the bond between you and the place you call home.

 

Herend Home Sweet Home

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