If you love curling up with a good book, wrapping yourself in a soft blanket, and sipping on your favorite tea, you’re already a fan of hygge. Hygge has been a tradition in Denmark for many years, though it is just starting to catch on in the US. It’s hard to exactly pin down a definition, as there is no direct correlation in English. It’s frequently described as “coziness,” but it is more defined as a feeling or mood rather than a physical sensation.
Pronounced “heurgha” (like the sound you make clearing your throat), it comes from a sixteenth-century Norwegian term, hugga, meaning “to comfort” or “to console,” which is related to the English word “hug.” It’s associated with all things relaxing, indulgent, and being grateful.
Hygge can be anything from filling your home with lit candles, to having friends over for an intimate dinner. It’s enjoying an afternoon coffee with a loved one, or baking a cake and inviting someone over to share it. It’s cashmere socks and chunky knit sweaters and curling up in a blanket to watch the dreary outdoors. Slipping into a hot bubble bath after a long walk. An ultimate hygge moment could involve friends sitting around a fire, wearing warm clothes and sipping mulled wine. Ah, that’s hygge.
Hygge has migrated across the world in the last year or so. The Oxford Dictionaries’ 2016 “word of the year” shortlist included “hygge.” Numerous books and blogs have been written, and Americans can be seen stocking up on candles to get their hygge on. We’ve embraced Hygge so wholeheartedly that we haven’t even come up with our own name for it.
If you really want to get into the hygge lifestyle, make some tweaks to your home. To start, lighting is key. A well-lit home can make you forget the dreary winter happening just outside your window. Of course, you need a plethora of candles. Lamps should be artfully positioned to create soothing pools of light. Investing in a good reading lamp or creating a well-lit dining space can encourage added coziness. Warm-white LED and incandescent lights can also create a soft look when installed with a dimmer.
Your couch or armchairs should be covered in plush, textured fabrics. Your seating should be comfortable and supportive to encourage leisurely conversation and hours of lounging. A mix of pieces (a sofa, fluffy ottoman and mismatched lounge chairs) adds to the intimacy of your space. Everything should be upholstered and soft.
Continue to create various atmospheres with small nesting tables instead of a large coffee table to complete your living room, especially if it is small. Move them around to achieve the perfect space for long conversations by the fire.
Taking time to allow yourself to sink into these cozy times of day and creating an environment that encourages relaxation will turn you into a hygge expert.