It may only have exploded in global popularity in recent years, influencing everything from interior design to lifestyle, but the concept of hygge has ensured that Danish people have remained the happiest people on Earth since the 18th century.
Hygge (pronounced hoo-ga or hue-gah) has no literal English translation, the closest being ‘togetherness’ or ‘cosiness’, so it’s almost impossible to define what it means. Instead, think of hygge as a mental state or feeling rather than a specific word or object. It’s become synonymous curling up in front of the fire with a hot cup of cocoa and a pair of woolly socks on a cold winter’s night, but it’s also something you can even enjoy at the height of summer. You can ‘hygge’ no matter what time of year it is, as every season provides different opportunities to get back in touch with the present and yourself.
Hygge is Personal
The first thing to remember when trying to create that feeling of year-round Hygge in your home is that there’s no right or wrong way of doing it. The great thing about this concept is that it’s completely personal, so that ‘at home’ feeling of cosiness looks different for everyone. What’s your favourite hobby or what are you so passionate about that you want your home to reflect? You can customise the interior design of your home according to your interests. Bookworms, for example, are all about that super comfy armchair and well-designed lighting. Film and TV lovers will likely look towards creating a home cinema while avid gamers want to create a welcoming, relaxed space for the ultimate night in by inviting all their friends over.
The Simplest Things Can Have the Biggest Impact
Before you rush out and start planning multiple design ideas to completely hygge your home, it’s worth bearing in mind that making the simplest of changes can indeed have the biggest effect. One of the key ideas in this concept is to enjoy your surroundings, so applying this to the home means that each room should be its own sanctuary. You don’t need to completely redecorate or switch rooms around to achieve this, as a few well-chosen key items will immediately bring that wholesome sense of comfort and cosiness.
Choose enveloping, textured materials like cashmere, faux fur and merino wool for soft furnishing items like cushions, throws and rugs. These kinds of additions can make any lounge, sitting room or bedroom feel all that warmer and inviting. Candlelight creates the perfect hygge setting, adding more warmth and dimension to a room in the winter while providing the right amount of additional light during golden evenings in the summer.
Lead a Hygge Lifestyle
If you want to enjoy year-round hygge, however, you will need to extend the approach beyond your home and apply it to your daily life. No matter how busy your day is, set some simple daily routines for yourself that will create those all-important moments of connection and ‘togetherness’. We are all leading such manic lifestyles, rushing from one thing to the next, without even completing the first thing in some cases. Applying hygge to your lifestyle means slowing down to take every moment in, always connecting back to your senses wherever possible.
As with all things hygge, how you integrate it into your lifestyle is also entirely personal and completely up to you. Maybe a candlelit bubble bath once a week is enough, or it’s treating yourself to a cup of your favourite coffee, or some heart-warming food and conversation with friends and loved ones. Your hygge rituals can even change with the seasons, especially if you want to get back to nature (another key component of hygge!). A wintery hike taking in the scenery and enjoying the crisp air can be as soul-nourishing as soaking up the sun with a good book and an ice cream. Choose whatever it is that nourishes you and allows you to luxuriate in the moment, even if it’s only for five or 10 minutes a day.