Hygge has been a defining characteristic of Danish lifestyles since the early 19th century, and considering Danes are regularly nominated the ‘happiest people in the world,’ they might be onto something!
Pronounced ‘huu-guh,’ the word doesn’t have a direct translation into English. It encompasses simplicity, togetherness, mindfulness, happiness, quality and self-care. While it’s frequently translated as ‘cosy,’ it means so much more! It’s about spending quality time with yourself, with your family, with your friends; savouring the pure pleasure of life; enjoying the outdoors; looking after yourself both emotionally and physically.
Hygge is expressed in the way you dress, the way you eat, the way you interact with others. It’s about being actively happy and positive, seeing the joy in the little, important things. It’s a mindset and a lifestyle.
Being a fundamental element of how people choose to live, hygge is also expressed in your interior design, of course! You live hygge, and you live in a hygge space. Hygge decor is all about creating a harmonious, simple, joyous home where the focus is on comfort, togetherness and pleasure. Let’s face it: we could all do with more hygge in our lives!
Since this philosophy is all about simplicity, there’s no need to go around rearranging your entire home – some simple little touches can go a long way to adding hygge to your space.
Without further ado, here are some tips and ideas for making your home more hygge.
One of the principal tenets of hygge decor is to create a space where nothing is triggering, overwhelming or too stimulating, so try and stick to a harmonious and relaxing neutral colour palette. Nudes and pastels are winners here! Keeping a neutral palette means nothing is jarring, and all the spaces flow with each other, creating a cohesive and immersive atmosphere.
Lighting is one of the most fundamental concepts and tools in hygge. Steer clear of cold, white floodlights and opt for warm, targetted lamps that create atmosphere rather than merely lighting up a room. Existing in your space should be a whole experience.
A fireplace is an essential element in a hygge home, both from a lighting and a socialising perspective. Firelight is a warm, evocative invitation to gather around and spend time actually being with each other. It comes with smells and sounds that we associate with togetherness, safety and comfort; gatherings and celebrations; simple, beautiful bare necessities.
Similar to firelight, candlelight is inviting, warm and cosy. So don’t be shy of turning off the lights and having fun with candles around the house! It’s good for morale and your electricity bill.
Fairly lights are an easy way to create atmosphere and playfulness, so hang them over beds, across coffee tables, over doorways, over the couch – wherever your imagination takes you!
Having different textures to play around with helps make your home an experience. Warm, natural materials like wood or wool bring the lovely glow of the great outdoors into your cosy minimalist design, while flowers and art create a dash of colour. Alternating soft textures with fluffy, chunky, knitted or furry features brings a great tactile element to your design. Indulge in the sense of touch!
Pillows, comforters, blankets and rugs are the perfect way to make cosiness the linchpin of your scheme. You can even change them out seasonally, keeping your chunky knits for winter and the linen pillows and blankets for spring and summer.
A crucial element to cosiness is size: small spaces lend themselves exceptionally well to hygge. Creating a little nook, ideally on a window seat facing the outdoors, is the perfect way to give yourself space for reading, thinking, sipping hot chocolate and enjoying life’s simple pleasures. There’s even a word for these little nooks in danish: hyggekrog.
Most of us start and end the day in the bathroom, so this space is actually super important to your hygge life! Rather than just be a room where you go to the toilet, shower and brush your teeth, it should be a spa-like retreat that makes you feel loved, cocooned and luxurious. Add a plush rug or a fluffy dressing gown, some elegant elements, candles and romantic lighting and enjoy this time that is all about you.