Hygge at home


The Danish notion of hygge – pronounced “hoo-gah” for those who aren’t quite fluent in the language – has been a bit of a buzzword over the last few years, particularly in the chillier months. There is no single translation, but the idea encompasses a feeling of cosiness, contentment and wellbeing, which is obtained from taking the time to enjoy simple, everyday things in life with those who are important to you. Although tricky to define, hygge is simple in practice and can be experienced in many different circumstances, whether it’s a walk with a friend or sitting around a fire on a cold winter’s night.

Although hygge has now become a widespread concept, it is far from a trend; derived from the Norwegian word for “wellbeing”, it has been a key part of Danish lifestyle and culture since the 1800s and remains so today. Despite their notoriously long and dark winters, Danes are some of the happiest people in the world; it is thought that hygge has a lot to do with this. So, how can you bring hygge into your life and home?

Light touches

Hygge is not about objects or possessions; it’s about living well. But there are plenty of things you can incorporate into your home which play into the practice. Whatever the season, candles are thought to be the most important; you just can’t have hygge without them. Candles are the perfect way to create a cosy, welcoming atmosphere that is so central to hygge. Choose a fresh, uplifting fragrance such as hyacinth for summer nights and warming spiced orange for the winter.

Play the host

Being present whilst enjoying good food and company is perhaps one of the best things about embracing hygge. Next time you’re meeting up with friends or family, have them round for homemade comfort food rather than going out; being able to relax and take your time will make all the difference to your state of mind. It can’t hurt to have your dining room in order whilst you do it; a round table is perfect for socialising and jugs and serving bowls lend themselves well to sharing.

Create cosy corners

Part of the beauty of hygge is that you may often be practicing it without realising. Taking some time to yourself to get lost in a book or switching off to watch a film without your phone are just as important as anything else. A particularly idyllic idea is the ‘hyggekrog’ which is essentially a nook where you can get cosy and take some time out. Layers of luxurious throws and pillows are essential here and anything knitted, such as socks and jumpers, gets extra hygge points—if you have a fireplace, even better.

Pay attention to your space

As hygge is so focused on paying attention to moments and appreciating surroundings, it makes sense that little changes to your home can make a huge positive difference. Although adding texture to create a cosy space is important, so is making sure that there is no clutter; Danish interior design is minimalistic and full of clean lines. Abide by the rule of “less is more”; if an item doesn’t make you feel calm or at home then it’s time to give it away. It’s not just about having an inviting sitting room; every room should be filled with things that make you happy and allow you to relax.

Hopefully you’re now taking note of the little things in your environment that can make a big difference.