You've probably seen the word hygge a lot lately, but never really bothered to find out just what it is. Is it a soup? A cocktail? Some sort of wintery Danish goulash? I was taking my boys to get their hair cut the other day and began to peruse the glossies in the waiting area when I picked one up and saw article of suggested readings for hygge. So whatever this is now has at least several books on it. I decided to investigate.
What is Hygge
Hygge (pronounced hue-gah) is a Danish word that expresses a feeling or mood that comes with taking pleasure in the ordinary. It is about making those every day moments more meaningful, beautiful or special. It's not about making a pot of coffee as much as it is the process of the coffee making itself - of lingering over it slowly in the morning as the sun slowly starts to rise, illuminating everything around. It's about lighting a candle, or ten, and luxuriating in the soft dim light and not rushing around. Hygge is about being aware of a moment whether it’s simple or special. It's is about taking time to slow down and enjoy.
Hygge is an integral part of Danish culture and is less about lifestyle and more about living, simply, happily. In 2016 the Brits caught on to this lifestyle trend of creating simple rituals without effort. It is making its way here in the US. In short, Hygge is about creating sanctuaries, and ordinary moments that feels extraordinary.
According to House of Hygge, the "Danes created hygge because they were trying to survive boredom, cold, dark and sameness and the undefinable feeling of Hygge was a way for them to find moments to celebrate or acknowledge and to break up the day, months or years. With so many cold, dark, days, the simple act of a candle glowing with a cup of coffee in the morning or a home cooked evening meal with friends can make a huge difference to one’s spirit.
How to Hygge your home
Less is more: Nordic interiors are minimalist and the end goal is to eliminate clutter by keeping only things that “spark joy.”
Go green: Bring nature indoors with a lush, green plant or beautiful flowers.
Create a sanctuary: Find a space, whether a room or an area of a room where calm is achieved easily and naturally.
Add personal touches: When decorating it's not just about how things look, but how they feel. It needn't be expensive - it's less about spending and more about creating memories or how something in your home evokes memories. Does an armoire evoke childhood memories? Perhaps a side table was purchased on vacation somewhere. Accessories and furnishings often have personal stories attached to them.
Use candles: Candles evoke a feeling of calm and serenity. Place candles in groups on tables, or place them on surfaces of varied heights. Do be careful with their placement and make sure that they're always being monitored.
Use light low lighting that evokes a warm, comforting glow. Lighting is very important in Hygge, due to the lack of natural resources for most of the year. The warm amber glow of low-lit bulbs will accent your home in a way that creates a perfect Hygge atmosphere. Remove all jarring light as much as is possible.
Amber lights from fireplaces and candles are Hygge...There's a feeling of comfort that is automatically created by candle-light and roaring fires. When the Danes look out into the darkness and see the warmth of the golden lights from surrounding homes, there's a sense of hygge.
Add texture: Create a mood at home that is warm and cozy, and adding textures does just this. A home that is relaxing and welcoming is filled with items that are lush and soft, and what comes to mind are textiles and fabrics such as chunky knits, faux furs, and warm soft wools like cashmere. Layering these different textures in your home in a stylized manner is not only beautiful but when combined with a warm lit fire, soft lights you've created the ultimate hygge setting.
Inexpensive accessories for a Hygge home
Add warm lighting twinke lights and candles. If you like scented candles opt for relaxing aromas such as lavender, honeysuckle, light citruses and woodsy varieties like pine and sandalwood.
Spruce up guest rooms and extra spaces: Add soft, fluffy rugs that feel good underfoot. Toss warm duvets and thick, soft chunky blankets on to beds.
Add some throw pillows to your couches and beds - plaids, chunky knits, faux furs.
Warm up living areas: In a large baskets or cabinets keep extra throw blankets and blankets to use when cozying up to warm fires or snuggling into on those lazy weekend days on the couch.
Pick up some pretty mugs and tea cups for sipping tea, coffee and cocoa. A pretty mug can be mood altering!
Grab some trays: Trays are perfect for bringing your tea and a biscuit to the couch or over to your bed before your afternoon nap or as you settle down after a long day at work.
Buy a sheepskin, faux fur, or animal print area rug to use by the fire.
Logs for the fireplace: Having a small pile ready for use evokes a feeling of warmth.