The Danish concept Hygge (pronounced hoo-gah) has been the talk of the industry in recent years in both the realms of home design and lifestyle. At its simplest, Hygge can be translated to “a safe haven”. It’s about being comfortable, happy, unpressured and surrounded by a feeling of homeyness. Connecting to nature, disconnecting from social media and the internet, and emphasizing face-to-face interactions are its root elements.
As the world’s most homey feeling, what better place to incorporate Hygge than inside the home? Our houses are meant to be our own personal safe havens and adding touches of warmth, nostalgia and love can make each one perfect.
The basics of Hygge home design are about getting rid of distraction and clutter, incorporating calming and cozy elements, connecting with nature, and creating personal spaces you love to be in.
Textiles like wool and fur, monochrome and harmonious color palettes, wood, leather and stone pieces, live plants, and recycled antiques are all easy additions. Just think mountain lodge in the Colorado Rockies and you’ll be on the right track.
Light your favorite candle and let’s get started!
Because one of the most important aspects of Hygge is togetherness, the living room is a great location for the feeling to flourish. As the natural gathering place in any house, it’s easy to make the space even more welcoming and joyful with just a few homey touches.
The first and easiest step is to add candles. More than just a peaceful light and calming atmosphere, scented candles can add subtle psychological effects associated with Hygge. Because the olfactory bulb is part of the brain’s limbic system, an area closely associated with memory and emotion, smell can call up memories and powerful responses instantaneously. These nostalgic elements will create a comfortable mood — and just like that, you’re on your way to Hygge!
To cater even more to nostalgia, add a gallery wall. Using natural elements like wood, leather and soft textiles, you can feature your favorite things and treasured memories. Just be sure to keep the color palette and the design simple, cool toned and tidy.
One of the most important aspects of Hygge is to keep screens and media out of the picture. Because the idea is centered around shutting out the distracting and the negative parts of our world, it emphasizes the face-to-face connections we can make when the electronics are turned off. For optimal effect, we suggest removing computers, televisions, cell phones and their chargers from the living room entirely. Instead of centering furniture around a TV, circle your pieces around the hearth where you’ll find warmth, characteristic coziness and plenty of connection!
We know what you’re thinking: I can’t get rid of my television completely! If you host too many football watch parties to remove the TV from the main living space, consider creating a statement furniture piece that hides the TV when it’s not in use. Antiques and handmade items are classic Hygge! Or, put the screen in an inconspicuous location so it’s not the center of attention.
One of our favorite mottos associated with Hygge is, “Stay in bed for an extra hour.” I think we can all get on board with that, right? So, in the bedroom, we’re going to add elements that make you want to curl up in bed even longer — as if you didn’t already.
The easiest way to add warmth, in regards to both temperature and atmosphere, is to throw another blanket on your bed or a rug on the floor. Wool is a favorite fabric of Danish culture, but you can also opt for fur or the always trendy wide knit options. With a few extra throw pillows as well, you’re on your way to snoozing. But, as always, make sure not to clutter the space with too many elements or loud colors.
There’s nothing cozier than pajamas, sweatpants and soft hoodies. A minimalist and neutral-colored clothing display will add more textiles in the space and may even encourage you to slip into pajamas at every opportunity.
One traditional example of Hygge is to cook a meal and eat it together as a family or a group. Without screens in the mix, the focus is on connecting, interacting and creating memories. There’s no better place for this to flourish than around the dining table.
To make the most of your Hygge home design, the first step is to get a table made of a natural material like wood. If you can get an antique, a farmhouse-style table or a live edge piece, you’ll have the perfect base!
We suggest either keeping the table clear completely or adding a simple centerpiece that doesn’t distract from the meal and the interactions. Live plants are especially great options! Then, to wrap up the room, add a simple, hearty meal of your favorite comfort foods, a few friends and family members, hot drinks like coffee, tea and hot chocolate. Remember, homemade is an essential element of Hygge so the more farm-to-table and scratch-made dishes on your table, the better!
All the design brought inside the home to create Hygge is inspired by elements found in nature. So the best place to celebrate the cozy atmosphere is outside with friends and family circled around a firepit!
Take advantage of one of 2017’s most popular design trends by bringing interior furniture outdoors. With large, soft chairs, a couch or a wood bench, you’ll encourage cuddles and conversation while the fire blazes. Then, throw a few simple blankets and pillows on the furniture for added warmth. Add a s’more or two and you’re all set!
For easy bonuses in this space, decorate with lanterns, an organized stack of logs for the fire, baskets for blanket storage, or string lights for a starry atmosphere.
To fully embrace Hygge, we encourage you to make time for the things you love doing — whether it’s writing, reading, knitting, eating or even sleeping. To cultivate this, why not design a space just for those activities?
In your home’s extra areas, build reading nooks and warm workspaces filled with the inspirational and cozy tools and decor that motivate your hobbies. Love reading? Design a bookshelf and a snug seat. Love writing? Design a desk complete with succulents and a coaster for your hot tea. Even something as basic as adding a basket filled with fur, wool and knit blankets can help promote Hygge!
In the end, these Hygge spaces are all about what you love. Design a space that makes you feel content, comfortable and inspired to epitomize the Danish passion for warmth and happiness.
Share the things that make you happy in the comments below! How are you adding them to your home design and incorporating Hygge?