WTF IS HYGGE?
You would have to be living under a rock to not have heard Hygge before – after all, it was Collins runner-up ‘Word of the Year’ in 2016. Well, in the past five years, Hygge has become extremely popular, with an explosion of books published on the subject in 2016; to everyone reaching for huge jumpers and big mugs filled with hot chocolate. So, what exactly is Hygge? First of all, it’s pronounced “hoo-gah” – commonly known as Danish, the word Hygge originated from Norwegian or Old Norse, meaning ‘well-being; then appeared in Danish literature in the 18th century.
Hygge can be loosely translated to mean ‘cosiness’ – however, it is not just a word: it’s a concept. For many ‘cosiness’ conjures up images of log burning fires, wrapping up in blankets and sipping hot drinks, and the weather being miserable outside. But Hygge is so much more – you can even experience Hygge in the summer! In essence, it is all about feeling good about yourself, being together with loved ones and enjoying life. Hygge can be:
- sitting with family an enjoying a film under a big duvet
- Taking up a new hobby
- Reading a book with a glass of wine
- Going for a picnic with friends
- Hiking in the hills
- Eating all the pastries
In other words: Hygge is about happiness – what makes you happy and takes the stress away. It is not about over-indulgence, but at the same, do not deny yourself anything either. With this mind, that there is no surprise that Denmark frequently tops the list of the ‘Happiest Country in the Word’.
HYGGE AT HOME
So how can we make our homes feel Hygge? Well, it is all about emphasising that cosy feeling:
KEEP IT NATURAL– light, natural or neutral colours in your home can emphasise feelings of relaxation. Colours such as: pale greys, light browns and pastels. Overly bright colours are not recommended for Hygge as they can be distracting.
COMFORT IS KEY– bring out the big cushions! Dress up windows or window seats with throws and pillows. Favour big comfy chairs and sofas – modern looking furniture can take away from the comfortable feel. Do the same in your bedroom, because Hygge gives a big thumbs up to lie-ins.
CANDLES– they are not just for romantic evenings or if you have a power cut. You can never have enough candles for a Hygge home. The soft lighting that candles create is perfect for a warm and relaxing atmosphere – although maybe avoid the scented variety.
FAIRY LIGHTS– if the candles pose to much of a fire risk for you, then why not try fairy lights. There are plenty on the market that produce soft lighting like a candle. Perfect for hanging up high, stringing them around beams or a tropical indoor plant.
FIRE – if you have a fireplace in your home – use it! What could be more relaxing than a crackling wood fire? Take advantage (especially in the winter) if you have an open fire or a wood burner. This does not need to be indoor only. Garden firepits are great for Hygge outdoors– go out with big blankets, and sit with friends or family round the fire, and a few drinks under the stars.
TEXTURES – mix it up and play with different textures. Look for wooden furniture or décor -driftwood would be perfect. Lots of plants – feel closer to nature with various houseplants. Succulents or cacti are ideal if perhaps you do not have the best track record for keeping plants alive. You can never go wrong with blankets and throws – fluffy ones, bobbly ones, chenille – the options are endless!
RECYCLE – upcycling has become popular, which is great because with Hygge, nothing has to be perfect! Rather than throw something out, take the opportunity to be creative: repurpose an item or completely change how it looks.
PHOTO DISPLAYS – it is important to cherish memories; after all, Hygge is about being happy. Be creative and make a feature when displaying photos, souvenirs, children’s drawings in your home.