The Danish concept of “hygge” means cozy, warm and comfortable. Pronounced “hoo-gah,” it’s an idea, culture and mood, and it’s been exported around the world as people seek to embrace cold weather.
Hygge offers a way to create a space all your own if you’re renting, add stability and structure to a busy life or simply help you relax and feel good. We’ll take you through some of the ways to incorporate it into your home, ranging from decoration tips to daily habits. Once you embrace hygge, you’ll wonder what you were doing without it.
There are three specific areas that should be emphasized when it comes to hygge: the bedroom, the bathroom and any outdoor space.
Create ambience through scents
In tandem with light, scent can be used to create a variety of moods. Aromatherapy offers a host of scents for any mood, and an essential oil diffuser can create aromas that may inspire, focus or relax. For example, lavender scents are known to help soothe and aid in sleep, while lemongrass may alleviate anxiety, and peppermint can help mental acuity. Essential oil diffusers are diverse in design, allowing you to find a style that matches the decor. Some may also glow, change colors and gently hum. Look for high-quality oils made from natural ingredients.
Candles offer both pleasant sights and smells, creating a calming ambience. They can be used almost anywhere in your home, from the living room to the bathroom.
Neutral and natural
When it comes to colors, try to avoid cold, harsh tones. You can use neutral colors to emphasize simplicity. If you like, you can choose lighter pastels or warm options for calming and peaceful vibes.
For appliances and cabinets, opt for natural woods or rustic exteriors if possible rather than cold stainless steel and metal finishes.
Hygge is also about resourcefulness and finding value in the old, so don’t be afraid to repurpose items or keep antiques in circulation. Display pieces, pictures or trinkets that bring you joy and recall happy memories.
Add simple decorations
Less is more when it comes to hygge. Space can be decorated, but avoid creating a space that feels cluttered or overwhelming. A few rustic items work well, especially when paired with textures that are soft or cozy.
Blankets, throw pillows and rugs can be strewn about — faux fur is also particularly hygge. Allow room to cozy up on the floor just as you would on a couch.
Hygge in the bathroom
With the right touches, your bathroom can feel like a spa. It’s another place you should actually want to spend time.
If you have a bathtub, regularly draw baths as a means to decompress, opting for bath bombs and employing candles, calming music and perhaps a good book.
A bath caddy can help you get your accessories in order, including perhaps a nice glass of wine.
If you don’t have a tub, shower bombs can help you relax, as well.
Create a calming bedroom
Through hygge, the bedroom can be a place where you can retreat to relax and enjoy a comfortable, restful night’s sleep. You may even create a space so inviting you want to read, nap, meditate or simply escape from the workday in your bedroom. Of course, breakfast in bed and sleeping in are very in line with a hygge lifestyle. Avoid putting a TV or other screen in the bedroom if you can.
A weighted blanket, though, is a great addition to help you feel warm, cozy and restful.
Embrace outdoor spaces
Consider your outdoor space if you have one. Remember that hygge isn’t an escape of winter weather but an embrace of it. Create an outside space that’s functional and fun in the colder weather.
A firepit or heater allows people to gather outside, and large, comfortable chairs make for a perfect place to enjoy fresh air and a hot drink.
Use lighting to create moods
Lighting is especially important in hygge. It should match your mood and needs, which means you’re likely to want refreshing light in the morning and relaxing light at night. Smart lighting systems offer complete control when it comes to brightness and timing, allowing you to effortlessly create the environment you need throughout the day.
Don’t be shy about exploring color either. Strip lights can be useful to enhance various moods, particularly in places like the kitchen that tend to be fixed when it comes to lighting. We also like sunrise lights to help invigorate as you get moving in the morning. Warm glow string lights can provide a special feeling for the evening.
- Opt for natural candles. Natural candles like beeswax and soy candles are better for a hygge environment. Paraffin wax candles often produce too powerful an aroma, and they don’t burn as clean as other types of wax.
- Create social spaces. Part of hygge is spending time with friends and loved ones, so as you decorate and design, be sure you have spaces for guests to feel comfortable and relaxed, as well.
- Stay organized. Spaces should be tidy and simple. Get into the habit of regularly disposing of things you don’t want or need and embracing what you cherish.
- Avoid screens. Engage with your home and the ones you share it with by putting down your phone and avoiding screens. Crafts, books, yoga, meditation, puzzles and board games are a terrific way to escape electronic devices and soothe your mind.
- Socialize! Enjoy evenings with lively conversation, natural or calming lighting, and of course, a warm drink or two. Good drinks, sumptuous meals, and even outdoor picnics are part of the hygge spirit.
Three books, available on Amazon.com, to guide your hygge-style journey:
‘Hygge: Unlock the Danish Art of Coziness and Happiness’
‘How to Hygge: The Nordic Secrets to a Happy Life’
‘American Cozy: Hygge-Inspired Ways to Create Comfort & Happiness’
Anthony Marcusa is a writer for BestReviews, a product-review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.