Written by Vanessa K. Eccles Research assistance by Whitney Zahar
Hygge is pronounced “hoo-ga.”
Winter is a season of home. We’re all trying to survive the cold and hunkering down until the warmth of spring. Since we’re stuck indoors, why not make it cozy? It’s actually easy to hygge your home.
Home is central to who we are. It should be a reflection of what we love and who we love to share life with, but the reality is that we’re all so busy working and meeting all of life’s demands that our houses sometimes get neglected. We buy things that we need and fill our spaces with stuff that doesn’t reflect who we are or who we want to be.
Hygge is the Danish art of cozy, happiness in your life and in your space. The Danes consistently rank as some of the happiest people in the world, but why? What makes a person feel the warm fuzzies for life? After reading The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking, I’ve found that it doesn’t take much. In fact, simple is better.
Wiking describes hygge as:
“…an atmosphere and an experience, rather than about things. It is about being with the people we love. A feeling of home. A feeling that we are safe, that we are shielded from the world and allow ourselves to let our guards down. You may be having an endless conversation about the small or big things in life—or just be comfortable in each other’s company—or simply just be by yourself enjoying a cup of tea.”
Sounds absolutely lovely, right? I think so too, which is why I’ve started shifting my perspective and my home to create a more hygge vibe.
5 Simple Ways to Hygge Your Home
1. Let there be light, but don’t make it bright!
Hygge is all about dim, warm, cozy lighting. Instead of turning on your overhead lights, try only using lamps. Low light creates an intimate feeling that nurtures the coziness we all love. Bonus: It will also help with your electric bills. Nothing is more hygge than using candles or a fireplace. When I was growing up, my mom always had candles lit on our table at dinner. It’s a tradition I took with me in my own home.
2. Let there be food, and make it good!
One of my favorite parts of hygge is the yummy food. Hygge food is all about pastries, cakes, muffins, soups, stews, and more. Whatever you consider comfort food—that’s your hygge menu. Even though we can’t eat decadently every meal, we can plan a night every week to cook our favorite foods and cozy up for a night at home.
3. Let there be jammies, or clothes that feel like jammies!
Your hygge wear should be warm and comfortable. Bring on the sweaters, scarves, fuzzy socks, and leggings. If you’re spending the evening at home with your significant other, jammies are perfect. But even if you’re with friends, cozy and comfortable is always best.
4. Let there be woodsy, natural things, and make them beautiful!
The Danes value natural, vintage items. They prefer unscented candles to scented because of the artificial fragrance. They also use a lot of wood furniture and add plants to their spaces. It’s all about the harmony of the outdoors and the indoors. And it's more about simple beauty than manufactured elegance.
5. Let there be blankets and pillows, and lots of them!
I’ve got a total of four throw blankets on the furniture in my living room. We have really tall ceilings, so in the winter, things get a bit drafty. But even in the summer, I keep them close by. There’s something so comforting about wrapping up in a throw blanket and cozying up on the couch. Add a few throw pillows, and life is even better.
Hygge Cheatsheet / Things to add for instant hygge:
cozy couch or chair, candles, living plants, a fireplace, books, tea or coffee, blankets, antiques or vintage wood furniture
The Soul of Hygge?
People. Surrounding yourself with the people you love is the way to make anything hygge. Your family, your pets, your beloved friends make this life worth living. There’s nothing more cozy and enjoyable than sharing a movie, meal, or an evening of conversation with those who matter most. Small groups of friends or family are what hygge is all about. Yes, the atmosphere plays a part, but it isn’t the source of happiness. People are. It’s our relationships that fulfill us.
Hygge for Creatives
Hygge isn’t just for your home. It’s also for your office. Even if you work from home, it’s essential to make your workspace somewhere you’re comfortable and somewhere that makes you happy. You can hygge your office by simply adding indoor plants, cozy furnishings, photos of your loved ones, candles, and other mementos that bring you joy.
Hygge can best be summed up as “a state of mindfulness: how to make essential and mundane tasks dignified, joyful, and beautiful, how to live a life connected with loved ones,” as said by Louisa Thomsen Brits, a British-Danish author of Book of Hygge. My goal this year is to make my home and life feel cozy, comfortable, joyful, and completely hygge.