The secret to happiness. Did the IKEA happiness hunters find the answer?

ikea happiness hunter

IKEA happiness hunters spent two weeks in Denmark looking for the hygge that seems so elusive to the rest of the world.

Danes seem to know, considering their consistent spot in the top 5 of the world’s happiest nations.

IKEA Denmark wanted to uncover where the Danes’ happiness originates from, and whether it is related to the way the Danes live and interact with each other. 

So, what better way to find out than sending out a happiness hunter to sniff out clues as to why the Danes are so dang happy?

To select the intrepid pursuer of happiness, last summer, IKEA Denmark ran a global search for someone who will fit the role of a happiness hunter for IKEA.

2,300 people from all over the world applied for it.

There were so many qualified applications that two winners were chosen instead of one – Yaya Ching from Hong Kong and Roy Torres from the USA.

For two weeks, they lived in an apartment in Copenhagen and studied the Danish culture by visiting the homes of different Danes – from students and mothers to a zero-waste blogger.

In addition, they get a token Danish salary and free meatballs at the IKEA restaurant. I don’t know about them, but that’s enough to make me happy.

And now, we have the exciting part. The results! Their findings are showcased in a six part mini-documentary. Watch Episode 1 below.

I binge watched all of them and liked Episode 3 the most. (Cute overload!)

Happiness hunter on the loose

“We know that Danes have a strong emotional connection to their homes which they perceive as a safe space for wellness and ‘hygge’. In our large “Life at Home” study in 2017 we asked more than 20,000 people from 22 different countries about their feelings for their home, and 9 out of 10 Danes said that they feel peace and happiness when they think about their homes. That lead us to think whether happiness in reality arises from the Danes’ authentic life at home” Anne Krogh, Country Marketing Communication Manager at IKEA Denmark, explains.  

And that’s the little secret IKEA Denmark hopes to uncover through happiness hunter Yaya and Roy.

Home is where happiness is

Yaya is a 29-year-old teacher from Hong Kong. During her time in this fairytale country, as she called it, Yaya was very fascinated by the home of the Danish-Pakistani Roxy family:

“I think their home makes them happy, because they have the opportunity to combine the beauty they find in both cultures and make it their own. Even though I don’t have a lot of room where I live in Hong Kong, I can still play with colors and make my room my own universe. That is definitely something I will take home with me.”

After her two-week stay in Denmark in September, she reflected on the following:

”I think how you live is very important, because the home is a safe space where you can re-energize and be yourself. The Danish homes are a reflection of the Danes. They live so personally and that is why it has been essential to visit them. It is in their homes and in homely surroundings that the Danes truly blossom and show who they are.”

Living large and beautifully

42-year old Roy from Chicago was, aside from the high taxes and government support, astonished by the small container home of Danish student, Katrine:

”The containers were the simplest and most minimalistic homes I have ever seen, but they were so homey. In Denmark, quality furniture is more affordable so even when you are a student, you can style your home beautifully”

The aspiring boxing instructor living in a one bedroom apartment added:

”The Danes spend a lot of time furnishing and decorating – not just their homes but in restaurants, cafes and businesses, it feels like a lot of time and energy is spent on furnishing and decorating – also with the whole wave of Nordic design. Perhaps you design your happiness when you design your home in Denmark, because it is so personal, prioritized and defining for the Danes, no matter if you are in a private sphere or out on the streets”

What are the Danes so happy about?

As they endured the bad weather and even a Viking dip in the ocean, Roy and Yaya experienced more and more factors to the Danes’ happiness by each visit in someone’s home. Finally, Yaya concluded:

”The Danes’ happiness is many little pieces that together make them a satisfied group of people – even though there is a lot of rain and darkness outside, the Danes’ homes are like little caves where they can hide from this and find calmness and joy.”

IKEA Denmark Happiness Hunter Roy Torres and Yaya Ching

To follow Roy and Yaya’s happiness journey, go to and see each episode from their visit to a unique Danish home.