Create a Happy, Hygge Home
Indulge me with this exercise. Take a deep breath and look around your house – think about how it makes you feel. Don’t be shy, and be honest. I’m assuming that since you’re reading this blog, you’re interested in making a change to your space. Part of the exercise of redecorating or redefining your space is considering the atmosphere you’re creating for yourself and your family…and the word “comfort” may come to mind. Relaxation, decompression…or, well, destressification (Yes, really…It’s in the Urban Dictionary…look it up!). Let’s run with “comfort”, though…shall we?
There’s No Place Like…
In my opinion, the word “home” conveys just that – a place where family can live in comfort. This concept means safety and happiness. Even after family members leave, they enjoy the same familiar well-being and fellowship when they return. Americans are not alone in this relentless pursuit; the concept of making a safe and comfortable space is certainly not foreign and is internationally commercialized…you see it everywhere (in this blog, too!). Although people are more increasingly connected with technology, the world feels more impersonal, and in this detachment, joy and contentment seem even more elusive, so are therefore more desired.
Denmark, Home of Hygge
If we’re talking about joy, contentment and “happy places”, we must talk about Denmark. Denmark is known to hold the title of the Happiest Country in the World. In Denmark, they have a similar comfort word to our “home”. It’s now becoming increasingly more intriguing and globally influential, yet it’s been in Danish cultural use for over 200 years.
“Hygge” (pronounced like a soft “hue”-gah or “hoo”-gah with smoochy lips) is a rather complex word – more than a word, though – it’s a concept and a state of being. And actually, it’s a capacity – or practice – of cozy contentment. Cool, huh? That’s the best I can do to articulate the mood in twenty words or less, because hygge is best expressed in vignettes. Close your eyes again, we’re having another visual exercise!
Softly falling snow. Cracking fire, glowing embers. Quietude in flickering candlelight. Steaming hot chocolate (add the tiny marshmallows or fluff if you like) in your favorite mug with your kid’s picture printed on it. The joy of sharing a movie, a meal, or just great conversation with family or friends. The “puppy” smell and a kitten’s purr. Cozy slippers. Taking a brisk outdoor walk in the sunshine. Catching snowflakes on your tongue. Wriggling your toes into a soft plush rug. Curling up inside a wool blanket with your favorite read, while the rain trickles down the windowpane…
You get it, right? Things that make you feel cozy, comfortable, content…but the operative word is not “things”. I tricked you, didn’t I? You see what I did there?
It’s Not About the Stuff
All the hygge stuff in the world will not automatically result in hygge. The hygge coffee mug, the hygge furnishings…none of it. You can’t buy hygge. The vignettes I’d described included things, yes, but the acquisition of things just to try to evoke a state of mind is against the grain of hygge. Sure, there are some great hygge home decor ideas, but materialism itself is anti-hygge. It has to happen naturally. So how can you get your little slice of hygge?
A Little Slice of Hygge
You’re reading this blog because you want to update your space, make it feel authentic, like home. And if you’ve read my other posts, you may have already determined your design style. I’m here to inspire but not to dictate what you should have in your space…that you will decide, right? For instance, a heavy wool blanket might feel weighty and warm to one, while at the same time be scratchy and hot to another. Keep it personal – find what you love and run with it…but here are some key ideas from the Danes.
Simplicity: Hygge is singularly uncomplicated and uncluttered. Take a cue from Scandinavian design and decor. Generally, the foundation colors are white or gray, with organic and rustic elements blended with punches of color. Limit furnishings to a few, and display those precious to you (keep it simple). Remember, it’s not about the things. Choose carefully and really enjoy your choices.
Ambiance: Natural light, firelight, soft-dimmed and candlelight all create a sense of warmth and well-being. Eliminate the unnecessary and artificial. Decorate with softer, more natural lighting in mind. Open the blinds if you can to let in natural light.
Togetherness: Spend quality time with friends and family. Although watching a movie or sharing the latest tech news counts as social time, try to put away the phones and TV. Enjoy and be present. So…plan you space with conversational seating around the fireplace rather than the TV. Create a space for reading with your child, or an area to play cards or a board game.
Handmade comfort: Perhaps you may be well on your way to hygge living spaces. Comfortable seating, lofty pillows, soft textiles – there are a lot of options to make your space look and feel snug and inviting. You might enjoy handmades – like hand knit blankets, crochet afghans or chenille throws. Perhaps you’d prefer to sink into leather or faux fur. Just be true to your style.
Bring the Outdoors-in: Think organic and natural. There is nothing fake or plastic in a hygge space. Natural woods, stone, found objects, plants – the closer we are to nature, the more complete and content we feel.
Think about how you can enjoy your life and family, simply. Complete your space with items that evoke comfort and contentment, not clutter and detachment. Set aside time and spaces to self-reflect and commune with nature, whether indoors or out. Don your favorite pair of fleece jammies, clutch that cup of warm cocoa and sip it slowly. Do these things and you will have mastered the hygge lifestyle. Simple, isn’t it?
Do you already live the hygge lifestyle? What is your favorite thing (raindrops on roses, whiskers on kittens?) that puts you in the hygge state of mind? Share below!
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”