They have mad interior design skills. Their pastries are delicious. And their country is one of the happiest in the world. We didn’t need any more evidence to show us that Danes do it best, but then came hygge.
Though hygge—pronounced “hoo-gah”—has no direct English translation, it comes pretty close to meaning “cozy.” Danes have practiced the concept for decades, but recently it’s gained momentum elsewhere. Celebrating comfort, contentment, and kinship, the hyggelifestyle has a lot to do with where you live and how you live there.
You know those fuzzy socks and that fleecy blanket you like to cuddle up with? That’s hygge. Or your favorite foamy latte from that cute little coffee shop down the street? Hygge. Most of us want to live in a soothing environment among things that bring us comfort and joy, but hygge puts a name and an action to those simple desires. So how do you bring even more hyggeinto your life? Read on.
In the bitter winter months, many of us prefer to stow away and sadly dream of summer. But since you already want to hibernate, you may as well make it the coziest hibernation possible. Winter is the most hygge time of year. In Scandinavia, they don’t complain about the cold, they just snuggle up in front of a fireplace with a hot cup of tea. To bring some of that cuddly winter spirit into your space, layer it with soft, ambient lighting, woven textiles, nubby woolen blankets and sheepskin throws — all staples of homey, Danish design.
Hyggeis all about being grateful for what you do have. Relish in your ability to come home after a long day and slip your feet into a pair of shearling slippers. Have some spare time? Make your favorite treat, savor the sweet scent of them baking in the oven and the warmth of your kitchen. Hygge is about bringing joy into the every day.
A hygge interior is neither stark and minimal nor hectic and busy. Think blond wood, warm textures, and soft, inviting seating. But no matter what style of space you have, try to carve out an area in your home that feels separate from your frenzied daily life. Whether it’s a spot in front of the fireplace or a chair topped with cozy throws, creating an area that’s designated just for relaxation will help you find joy in the every day.
You may not live in a chic log cabin with sweeping views of snow-capped mountains (typical hygge imagery), but you can bring a bit of that rustic, outdoors spirit in. Try to highlight any natural wood feature that your home has, like flooring or ceiling beams. Otherwise, use earth tones, add some cold weather-friendly plants, and opt for wood furniture in warm, blond tones.
Though it’s possible to hygge by yourself, the truest expression of the term is spending time with people you love in a laidback, intimate atmosphere. Meik Wiking, author of The Little Book of Hygge, writes of a time with friends in a woodsy cabin. They had just gone on a hike and were hanging around the fireplace wearing wool sweaters and warm socks, drinking mulled wine and listening to the fire crackle. One of his friends asked, “Could this be any more hygge?” Everyone nodded and another friend replied, “Yes, if a storm were raging outside.”
You don’t need a fireplace to escape the chaos. You don’t need a perfectly styled table, crystal and china or a six-course tasting menu. Focusing on creating simple gatherings that bring you joy will add more warmth to a space than any cashmere throw ever could.
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