Hygge – a Danish concept, and now an increasingly popular trend worldwide – is better understood through inner-feeling than from written definition. It’s a philosophy of life, and can come from just about anything that triggers feelings of inner-peace, supreme contentment, or that generates that warm fuzzy feeling you’d usually only experience Christmas day.
Hygge (pronounced Hoo-ga) – ‘a quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being’
Winter is a great time to enjoy Hygge, as using techniques to remain physically warm and cosy can help to produce the same feeling internally. Recent trends in interior design have seen Hygge rise as a key contemporary influence with its simplistic Scandinavian style. But how exactly can you develop Hygge in your home this winter?
Keep it natural
Hygge is all about taking it back to basics. Don’t worry, you can still have your Netflix with your (literal) chill, but Nordic design is very simple, and Hygge works on the basis that people find peace within nature. Enjoying natural wooden furniture as opposed to harsh glass, metals, plastics or over-polished materials can be the first step in creating a Hygge-happy home, while decorating with plants further aids the natural element.
If you’re not up for completely redecorating, plants are a great way to bring nature into your home in a simple way. They don’t even have to be real – artificial bamboo will still bring the same sensation into your home as the real stuff. In other décor and on walls, stick to natural colors such as hues of beige, soft pastels and grays to create the ultimate Hygge-haven.
Keeping things natural isn’t just about nature when it comes to Hygge, but living your authentic life.
Although the Scandinavian style boasts crisp, clean and simple interiors, this is not to say that your home shouldn’t be littered with the things that you love. Dads old vinyls? Your favorite classic books? That quirky vintage find from a few years ago? Inner-cosiness is maintained by living within a physically calming interior, but more importantly by living among the things that you love and that make you, and specifically you, feel homely.
To maintain a Hygge-happy interior, it is important to consider uses and sources of light. Of course, having kept it natural with our interior design, it makes sense to let in the natural light of day with large open windows. But you shouldn’t forget that Hygge is all about cosiness, so be sure to dim the lights, especially on those dark winter afternoons.
Fight the darkness of the cruel winter nights with candles that create a warm, flickering glow that simply cannot be recreated by artificial lighting. It’s softer, creates an inviting atmosphere, and not to mention is much kinder to the environment. Keep candles white and unscented to encompass a natural aura – the Danes are purists!
Coming in just under fellow Nordic country, Norway, Denmark is the second happiest place in the world, according to the United Nation’s World Happiness Report – with such a focus on Hygge and home comforts, it’s no wonder!
Contentment is a huge part of Hygge, but you’re not going to feel truly in your happy place without the things that make you happy.
Hygge is about looking after yourself and indulging just as much as it is about keeping a simple mentality. Treat winter as the perfect opportunity to laze on faux fur rugs in your woolly socks and wrap yourself in woven blankets, but more importantly, to enjoy a slice of homemade cake while catching up on those Netflix series you have been too busy to watch, or to enjoy a full listen to your favorite record.
Positive people, positive vibes
Despite Hygge’s trend in interior design, a room is nothing without its people. Low-key get-togethers are the main draw here. Think less fancy dinner parties and more by-the-fire appetizers. Home-bake some cookies and enjoy conversations over a good bottle of wine.
A Hygge-filled evening is not about your hot-take! Enjoy interesting conversations but avoid any topics that may disrupt the calm. Instead discuss the positives of your life and your next big plan over some simplistic background music.
Switch off to switch on
It’s been a tough year: controversial politics, continuous terrorism and tragic natural disasters, but Hygge means turning off, acknowledging your position as an individual and learning to relax amongst the madness.
Your Hygge-paradise may be gloriously ‘grammable, but it’s going completely against the notion of Hygge to post a pic of your chilled-out set-up on Instagram!
Turning off also means taking time away from your devices – away from endlessly scrolling and needlessly swiping – and participating in the present. You’ll find it difficult to establish inner-peace if you are constantly reading about war, and you’ll struggle to truly feel contentment if you’re incessantly flicking through your colleague’s holiday photos or your old school friend’s relationship updates. Delete social media apps for periods you want to devote to down time; put your phone in a drawer for an evening to enjoy a good book.
Love the ways of Hygge and Hygge, in turn, will love you.