I first heard about Hygge a few years ago, and loved the idea immediately. Hygge comes from a Danish word. Pronounced Hue-gah, it’s sometimes defined as the Danish art of enjoying life, and life’s simple pleasures.
What Does Hygge Mean?
I’ve heard it called the art of cozy. It’s become a popular decorating term. But it’s even more than pretty candles and twinkle lights (although those can be part of it), it’s a feeling, a way of life even. I think it’s about being wholly present, and really living where you are. It’s about taking time to enjoy the pleasures of life in order to see the beauty in everyday and escape what can be the drudgery of everyday.
Hygge is not just a winter concept.
Although you hear about it more in the winter because the idea of cozy is so appealing then, it’s really more of a year round outlook. The Danish do face long, grey winter days -and I as a Canadian can relate. And although you will hear lots about cozying up with sheep skins and candles, and hot chocolate, it’s also about getting outside and enjoying the snow and cold and grey too. There’s a certain acceptance that Hygge embraces -we live in the snow so let’s live in the snow. Let’s snowshoe, and ski, and embrace all that winter has to offer. And then let’s return to our warm houses and get warm and cozy, and be with friends and family and enjoy life. Have you heard the expression before “there’s no such think as too cold to go outside, there’s only not being dressed for the weather.”? Layer on the cold weather woolies and get outside, and enjoy it. Then come in for a drink by the fire, and a laugh, and cozy night together.
Perhaps it’s because Danish weather and Canadian winters have a little in common. Perhaps it’s because in my own personal life I’ve been trying to learn over the last few years how to be more present. I’ve been trying to show up for my own life more and more. I’ve been trying to live and not just survive. Perhaps it’s for those reasons that the whole idea of Hygge seems so right to me. It’s fashionable and lovely, but it’s a whole lot more than just a few steps and a few things to buy. Having said that though, our homes are a window into our hearts. And the environment we create can serve to create an environment in our own hearts. There is something to be said for making a cozy home to create a cozy life. So here are some of the ways I’ve tried to embrace a Hygge Living Room, that might inspire you.
Add Lots of Cozy Materials
You can create a sense of warmth and softness and coziness by using sheep skins (real or faux), lot of comfy knits, and warm snuggly blankets. Add softness to a space by including lots of soft things. It’s especially nice in these winter days to have lots of layers of warmth to curl up in.
Keep It Neutral
One of the beauties of Scandinavian design is the neutral palette. Whites, greys, and creams are all I’ve used in this space. Keep it interesting and not boring by adding lots of textures. There’s the cozy textures of our pillows, blankets, and sheep skins, but also the macrame adds to that feeling. Baskets, and patterned rugs add interest. Other materials also keep it interesting like wood, paper, and metals.
Add in Lots of Nature
We’re not only embracing getting out into the environment we live in, but bringing the outdoors in. Include natural elements like birch poles, and pinecones this time of year. There’s also nothing more scandi than antlers. Plants help create that feeling too.
Include some Plants
Plants add green and create a sense of life. Especially this time of year after Christmas when the house can feel bare, and it’s still frozen and snow outside, indoor plants help create a sense of health and add some much needed green to the space. Plants also help with texture -think about the leaves, smooth, feathery, picky, fine, large.
Add some Light
This time of year when the days are short, and the night is long, it can feel so grey and dark and gloomy. Even in the day time it seems like some days the sun is hiding. Add some light to your dull space with lots of pretty candles and twinkle lights. Candles and twinkle lights aren’t just for Christmas, and they have a way of instantly making you feel cozy.
Embrace Hearty Seasonal Comfort Food
Winter calls for the foods of the season -warm and hearty stews and soups, oatmeal, fresh bread, and pasta. Rediscover the joy of good seasonal food. It’s part of embracing where you live. It’s old fashioned because it works. And while you’re at it, don’t forget warm and soothing drinks like the perfect cup of tea, a beautifully brewed cup of coffee, or a mug of hot chocolate with a marshmallow. Embrace seasonal food and rediscover the joy of cooking, hosting, and eating.
Rediscover An Indoor Hobby this Winter Too
It might be as simple as watching movies, or reading. It might be knitting, or doing a puzzle, or a crossword. How about building computers, or hand lettering? The sky really is the limit here. But it is about really enjoying it, setting time aside for it, and doing that lazy just for fun thing just for the fun of it. Relax with your whole heart. Binge watch Netflix like a pro, and then do something else -work, sleep, see friends and family, ski, walk the dog. Show up for it all, even your hobby, and really enjoy it -all the pleasure none of the guilt. It’s winter, time for some relaxing indoor fun too.
Reconect with Friends and Family
Part of the art of Hygge is to enjoy the company of family and friends. Life is richer when it’s shared. Make time to see family and friends over the winter. It’s the perfect time to host a get together -think of a sledding party at a local hill and warming up at your house over a big pot of chilli. These things have a way of never actually happening unless they’re on the calendar so be intentional about really connecting with family and friends.
With the art of Hygge, life really is a party!
How are you adding the art of Hygge to your life?