Hygge, pronounced hue-gah, is a Danish term that stems from the Norwegian word for “well-being.” There’s no direct English translation, but broadly speaking, the word hygge embodies the feelings of warmth and contentment that come from enjoying life’s simple pleasures. From sipping a warm cup of tea to a snuggling up with a good book, hygge is about slowing down and finding joy in the little things. It is not something that can be bought in stores; rather, it is a way of life.
While hygge is most often associated with cold weather and winter, the coziness of it can be felt year-round no matter the location or the weather. Thoughtful details in design and décor are an essential part of achieving hygge within the home, so we have rounded up some easy ideas for creating it in your home.
To learn more about the concept, check out Meik Wiking’s The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living.
Get Cozy with Candles
There are few things more hygge than relaxing by the light of a flickering candle. Candles create a warm and intimate setting that is impossible to replicate with artificial lighting.
Scented candles are especially great: aromatherapy has been empirically proven to enhance positive emotions and relaxation. Check out Apartment Therapy’s list of the best scented candles for achieving instant hygge on any budget.
Relax in a Spa-Like Bathroom
Your bathroom has so much more potential than a place for a quick shower. It should be the epicenter of self-care in the home. A few renovations and additions could transform your washroom into a hygge-worthy oasis perfect for at-home spa days and relaxation.
You might consider installing new tiles on the floor or in the shower, investing in a jetted tub or giving the room a serene new paint color. But in the bathroom, you don’t have to go big to go hygge: Small details such as soft towels, a new shower head, humidity-happy plants, scented candles and wall art can dramatically improve the atmosphere. For more inspiration on creating a luxurious spa-like bathroom, check out these 65 calming bathroom retreats from Southern Living.
Keep it Calm with Balanced Neutrals
While we are all for the occasional burst of color, overstimulation of the eyes can be tiring and get old quickly. The Danes typically avoid loud colors and stick with monochromatic color schemes with subtle tonal incorporation. You can’t go wrong with a neutral color palette when trying to achieve a serene environment at home. Soothing tones like creams, browns, pale blues and light grays promote relaxation. Pastel colors such as lavender or sage green are also great for achieving mellow hygge vibes.
This being said, if you are a big fan of vibrant colors in the home, don’t worry. You can still incorporate strong color while maintaining a relaxing feel, but balance is key. Posh Coloring Studio has some great hygge-inspired color schemes that will fit a variety of styles.
Bring Warmth Through Textures
Fill your home with things you like to touch. No matter what your climate, soft and plush blankets and pillows inspire feelings of comfort and warmth. Faux fur throws, pillows and rugs add a luxurious coziness to any space, especially during the colder winter months. Pairing a furry throw with the sleek, smooth surface of a leather couch or crisp cotton sheets will enliven your senses, providing feelings of essential comfort that we sometimes take for granted.
Energize with Fresh Flowers & Houseplants
Houseplants and fresh flower bouquets can instantly brighten and energize the home. Besides enhancing the atmosphere of your home, indoor plants offer a wide array of benefits. In general, plants release oxygen and absorb the carbon dioxide we exhale, working to enhance and purify the air we breathe. Many indoor plants take it a step further and actually remove harmful toxins from the air. Check out HGTV’s list of 10 plants that look great and purify your home’s air at the same time.
You don’t need a green thumb to feel hygge from greenery in the home. Fresh-cut flower bouquets are a great option for those not looking to take on the responsibility of caring for a houseplant. They’re equally beautiful and offer some unexpected benefits as well: One interesting study has shown that investing in fresh flowers throughout the home actually encouraged homeowners to keep a tidier home.
Feelings of hygge can be found not only from the appearance of lovely bouquets but also from the process of preparing and arranging the bouquets. The ancient Japanese art of flower arranging, Ikebana, offers some insights into why this activity can feel so replenishing.
Declutter the Danish Way
A clean and tidy home can do wonders for the soul. Visibly decluttering your home is a great way of achieving hygge, but we know that can be easier said than done. That’s where storage systems come in: The right interior door can help you beautifully conceal the trinkets and treasures you’re just not ready to part with, providing you with the best of both worlds. Stylish cabinetry and shelving are another great way of maintaining an orderly aesthetic.
If you haven’t already, check out our post on using interior doors to conceal the areas of organization in your home.