Although there is no literal translation, hygge (pronounced hoo-ga) alludes to a feeling of cosy intimacy and contentment. Hygge was created as a concept and lifestyle by the Danish in the 18th century and is now a fundamental part of their cultural activities, home decor, and food.
It’s about finding deeper meaning within the everyday life and having a meaningful, mindful connection with the world. Rather than being about the grand gestures, it’s about fostering a sense of familiarity, comfort, and kinship through mundane activities.
Here are some ideas you can incorporate this Scandinavian way of life, that spreads warmth and calm, into your life.
1. Surround yourself with friends and family
“Togetherness” is associated with a feeling of warmth and comfort. Imagine being sat with your nearest and dearests, and sharing stories and laughs. That feeling of contentment when you are laughing and joking with your loved ones, when life feels awesome, is hygge!
Danish cherish this concept of spending time with your close friends and family so much that they came up with a word for that: hyggeligt!
2. Be present and thankful
Gratitude is the key to hygge, and I cannot emphasise it enough! You will only be able to embrace the little luxuries if you allow yourself to acknowledge and appreciate how grand they actually are!
3. Stay an extra hour in bed
Again, as hygge is all about comfort and cosiness, Danish encourage you not to be hard on yourself, and instead spend an extra hour in bed if you feel like it. Hygge is all about indulging in the good things in life, the things that make us truly happy – and yes, that includes sleeping in.
4. Barbeque outside
Don’t be fooled, it may be chilly outside but there’s more to hygge than staying cooped up indoors. Barbequing outside just has a certain vibe to it that says hygge!
5. Enjoy a good book
Although hygge encompasses a feeling of familiarity and togetherness, you can still achieve it alone. There are few things more hygge than cuddling up under a blanket and getting stuck into a proper, paper book – rather than the electronic kind.
Personally, I associate hygge very strongly with the smell of a new book! (Worry not if you are not a book person, you can entertain yourself in a cosy movie!)
6. Reduce, Reuse and Recycle
While the word is meant to encompass the Danish way of life, it also embodies their decor. The main idea of hygge decor is to create a peaceful, serene space that is free of clutter. Mess causes stress, and that’s a big no-no when it comes to a hygge lifestyle.
So, give away what you don’t need and keep life simple! Change your lookbook, as well as the look of your house!
7. Decorate with candles, twinkly lights and fire
Few things evoke feelings of cosiness and warmth more than a roaring fire during the coldest months. If you can’t use real wood, dim the lights, and use candles and twinkly lights instead!
They give off a warmer and softer light and add a pleasant touch to your house without being too overwhelming. In my opinion, candles alone encompass the entire concept of hygge!
8. Decorate the inside with the outside
Danish believe that a happy, healthy life is one lived within nature. But sometimes it’s just too chilly to go outside. Danes are big fans of bringing the outdoors inside to counteract this through exposed stone walls, wooden floors, huge tables made from great trees and, of course, big piles of logs ready to be thrown on a roaring open fire.
9. Heart-warming soups
Like their lifestyle, Danish keep their foods simple and effortless. They opt for cooking something delicious that can be cooked with minimum fuss, like soups.
10. Simple roast chicken
You would expect a classic Scandi comfort food to be more high maintenance than a simple roast chicken, but Danish are true to their invented cosy style of life. A cosy roast chicken will stick to your ribs all winter long!