How to Hygge: Re-imagining your Home the Danish Way
What do you want from your home? A sense of comfort and peace as you enter the house, or a feeling of coziness that encompasses you the moment you walk in, or is it an almost-instant impression of contentment, a wave of happiness; if you were nodding along as you read each of the aforementioned options, then ‘hygge’ maybe something you want to embrace in your house.
A Danish word which captures the ‘quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being’, hygge (pronounced ‘hoo-guh’) cannot be directly translated in English, coming closest to cozy. As per Meik Wiking of the Happiness Research Institute, hygge is perhaps the key yet often overlooked ingredient of Danish culture that makes Denmark one of the happiest countries in the world.
Why Should I have in a Hygge Home?
A valid enough question. You truly don’t have to. There is no higher lord of interior decoration and design sitting somewhere and passing a law making hyggellig homes a mandate. But knowingly or unknowingly you have already probably experienced hygge. Think back to the time you spent a rainy Saturday afternoon, reading your favourite book, drinking a hot cup of tea or when you spent an extra, lazy hour in bed on a Sunday morning. That feeling is hygge. So why not create an ambience in your house that allows that feeling to linger?
Hygge is a state of mindfulness. It is a way to recognize the importance of the mundane and the joy in the everyday; it is a way to create intimacy with those you love or even with yourself. And to create that sense of cozy, comfortable conviviality, The Little Book of Hygge suggests what it calls the Hygge Manifesto.
The Hygge Manifesto
The manifesto isn’t a list of what to buy and where to get it. It is more a plan of action to achieve everyday happiness. The ten-point manifesto focuses on Atmosphere, Presence, Pleasure, Equality, Gratitude, Harmony, Comfort, Truce, Togetherness, and Shelter, and calls on people to be present in the moment. It emphasizes on achieving mental well being through physical comfort, forging connections, and creating a beautiful atmosphere, which is where creating a hygge-friendly home comes into the picture.
How Do I Make My House Hygge Hyggellig
So what are those things that will make your house an abode of happiness and well being? What are the hygge design ideas that you should think about incorporating?
The Right Light
No recipe for hygge is complete without candles. While you may be tempted to buy scented candles, try and opt for natural and organic products. Second comes lighting. Select lamps carefully and place them strategically to create soothing pools of light. It’s almost an art form. The rule of thumb is the lower the temperature of light, the more hygge the space.
A Snuggle-worthy Space
Danes love their comfy spaces and a nook; a place to snuggle up in a blanket with a book and a cup of tea is right on top of their list of things they must have in their homes. Create a similar space in your house. It could be by the window, with a view of the rains if you live in a tropical country, or by the fireplace, to cozy up on winter days if you live in a cold country. Make the place your own with cushions, blankets, and throws.
When you are creating a hyggellig ambience, it’s not just about how things look but also how they feel. The feel of a wooden table, a warm ceramic cup, or a soft fur is distinctly different from the cold surface of something metallic or glass. Think about how you feel when you touch an object and add texture to your house. Think about it; is there anything better than leaning your head against a nice, soft cushion with soft details, like our Svenska cushion, while reading your favourite book.
Bring Nature Inside
Maybe it’s because we all hanker after our roots or because it’s about keeping things natural and organic, hygge is also about bringing a slice of the outdoors, indoors. Leaves, nuts, twigs; thing about how our ancestors would dress up their homes, if interior decor was huge then. Make wooden furniture and knick-knacks a huge part of our decor. Think a wooden tray filled with your favourite chocolates placed on your center table. Like Wiking puts it in his book, “Wood makes us feel closer to nature; it is simple and natural, just like the concept of hygge.”
Embracing hygge in your lifestyle could be a driver for not just happiness but contentment in day-to-day life. After all, where better to start that journey towards a more conscious lifestyle than where you spend most of your life, your home.