What is hygge? Hard to define as it is to pronounce, ‘hygge’ (pronounced HOO-gah) is a Danish word that refers to a feeling or mood that comes from taking genuine pleasure in turning ordinary, everyday moments, into moments that are more beautiful, meaningful, or unique. In English, this Norwegian term for ‘wellbeing’ is roughly translated as ‘coziness’. Simply put, hygge is the act of creating a warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with people we’re fond of. Perhaps this concept is what makes the Danes the happiest people on earth?
While hygge can be something as simple as an intimate chat with friends in a room full of candles and good food, there’s more to it than that. Hygge is a philosophy–a way of life that is meant to bring importance to the things or moments most people would consider insignificant or mundane.
But what, you may be asking, does this have to do with your home? A lot, actually–and thankfully, it’s something anyone can do. Here are our tips on how to embrace hygge in your home like a true Scandinavian.
1. Design for the good life. As much as we like a nod of approval, designing your home shouldn’t be about impressing the people in your life. Designing a home should be based on what works for you, which includes how the home’s interior makes you feel. Design from necessity, allowing form to follow function.
2. Enjoy a cozy sitting room. A welcoming room is a place that allows people, rather than things, to become the focal point. Stick with comfy chairs, nice lighting, and shelves full of books, games, and photos.
3. Light candles throughout the house. Candles don’t have to be restricted to special occasions. With hygge, every day is special, so get those wicks burning. To stay eco-friendly, ditch the paraffin candles and switch to something cleaner and greener, such as beeswax or organic soy wax scented with essential oils.
4. Surround yourself with sustainability. When we shop smartly, the things we surround ourselves with will be better. Instead of buying or using products that can be obtained easily, choose materials that can be obtained sustainably. In other words, buy as locally as possible from companies who are open about their production processes. Even a small step in this direction can bring about big changes.
5. Carve out a space for the kiddos. In the Scandinavian countries, children are to be seen and heard–and playtime is an important vessel for this to be achieved. In your home, make sure that the little ones in your life have ample space to spread their wings and let their imaginations soar.
6. Keep nature at arm’s reach. Life can get very busy and the height of luxury for many Scandinavians is solitude while on vacation. While it’s not always possible to escape the crowds of people we encounter as frequently as we’d like to, it is possible to bring that solitude or nature into your home. If all you can do is scatter a few potted plants around your home, it’s still a good start at keeping some of nature’s beauty close by.
Remember, hygge isn’t something you can buy. It’s a way of life you must embrace. Fill your spaces with light, well-loved items, the ones you love, or anything else that brings you joy, and you’ll soon have a hygge home.