What Is Hygge?
It’s a word with no literal English translation. Hygge (pronounced ‘hoo-ga’) is equal parts a design trend and a lifestyle choice for those living in Denmark and other Scandinavian countries.
Year after year, reports trickle back to the American rat race that the Scandinavian people are consistently the happiest people group in the world. In the last few years, the concept of hygge has become more prominent in North America as the foundation of the Danish lifestyle and the explanation behind their quality of life and source of happiness.
So what is hygge? Developed in the 18th century by the Norwegian culture, hygge was a word that described their incredible ability to endure long, harsh winters. Over time the word transformed into a lifestyle practice and is most commonly known as ‘coziness’ or ‘togetherness’ in the English language.
At its core, the concept embraces that which brings joy to life. It acknowledges that the source of joy may be different for individuals, but universally hygge says that being together with loved ones in a warm and comforting environment stimulates joyful and satisfied feelings. Interior designers embraced this concept immediately, and hygge has been cropping up in everything from design conventions to popular home-themed TV shows.
But the million dollar question with such a vague trend boils down to this: how do you hygge your home?
How to Hygge Your Manhattan Rental
Creating a cozy home environment is often difficult to achieve due to the surprising lack of time we actually spend in our homes. However, hygge is not always a matter of redesigning a home space or purchasing new items; it’s about taking time to appreciate the luxuries we already have and highlighting them in such a way that they bring us joy on a daily basis.
Use these simple tips to find peace, balance, and ultimately hygge in your home.
Lighting Is Essential
Lighting is one of the hallmarks of a hygge home. Cozy lamps, flickering candles, and peaceful hues all create the ambient light our bodies react well to. Overhead or fluorescent lights cast harsh shadows and create an agitated mood, so if you find yourself in a home or apartment with ugly lighting, rearrange your space to incorporate end table lamps and lots of candles.
Soft, glowing light sources is essential to achieve hygge. If candles are a no-no in your living space scoop up an extra string of white twinkle lights during the holiday season and place them around windows, mantles, or molding. The soft glow of the twinkle lights will set the hygge mood instantly.
Pull out the Textures and Layers
Think chunky knits, delicate crochets, and soft cashmeres thrown about your living space. There’s nothing more comforting than cozy throws and soft pillows to relax into. This peaceful, sensory experience will help you create a hygge home.
With fall right around the corner, it’s a great excuse to shop the latest in home decor trends that align perfectly with the hygge mindset. Look for neutral-hued throw pillows in quality fabric and knitted or wool blankets to leave on your bed, couch, or window seat for the chilly months ahead.
Embrace Your Inner Minimalist
Traditionally, the Scandinavian style of decor is minimalistic and simple which in American culture may sound like the opposite of cozy and inviting. But in many Danish homes, less clutter means a clearer, calmer mind. Keep the items that bring you joy, but if you can’t remember where the glass bowl on your coffee table came from it may be time to declutter and donate.
If you’re attached to every single one of your knick-knacks and decorations, try moving them around to different places in your home. Often a day of rearranging your home will bring you immense satisfaction. Keep in mind the togetherness factor of hygge. Push furniture pieces together to create a cozy and inviting seating arrangement and although minimalism is key, find your perfect balance between cozy and clutter.
Create a Calm, Beautiful Bathroom
There’s a reason all spas look and smell virtually the same. We love spas for their tranquil and soothing ambiance. Hygge says your bathroom should look and feel like a spa at all times. While this may be difficult to maintain in such a utilitarian room, a few simple tips will take your bathroom from blah to spa in no time.
- Invest in hidden storage compartments to hide the bathroom clutter and help relax your mind. If you can see the uncapped toothpaste chances are you’re going to be thinking about it the rest of your relaxation time.
- Keep candles, both aromatherapy and non-scented ones, readily available to pull out in the event of a soothing bath or luxurious shower.
- Cozy robes and plush towels add to a cozy after-bath experience. Create a spa-like experience with freshly laundered linens and tuck a sachet of dried lavender or chamomile in the pocket of your favorite robe for a beautiful scent.
Using your bathroom as more than just a functional room will incorporate some significant hygge vibes into your home and help set the mood for your entire day.
Think in Neutrals
While colors are shown to help increase appetite and creativity, a neutral color palette is traditionally hygge to help create a harmonious and cohesive atmosphere. In your decorating try using creams, light grays, and tans to produce a comfortable and classic environment. But know if color brings you joy go ahead and embrace that side of your mind. Keep your main pieces neutral and then add in pops of your favorite color in artwork, pillows, and throws.
Much like Marie Kondo’s “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” the trend of hygge is sweeping across the nation as a form of self-help for those looking for a better way of life. However, unlike the strict decluttering tactics in Kondo’s book, hygge is a much more forgiving trend.
It encourages indulging in that extra piece of cake and spending time doing the things that bring you joy. Adopting a hygge-like mentality won’t just transform your home, it will transform your way of life.