Hygge’s been a design and lifestyle buzzword for a few years now, but it’s still trending and showing absolutely no signs of going away. Hygge even made it into the Oxford Dictionary last year, as one of 2016’s ‘words of the year’ – but if you’ve never heard of it till now, then hygge (pronounced hoo-gah) is a Danish concept that’s usually described as ‘conscious coziness’.
It’s something that’s evolved out of how the Danes spend their winters – a way of combatting the long dark nights with firelight and candles by inviting friends over for food and mulled wine and conversation or board games. Or else you can shut the world outside, and just snuggle up under a blanket with the one you love. Whatever you do, it’s about being in the moment and turning your phone off – or even throwing it away.
Hygge as a World View
Hygge is by definition about taking a small and personal approach to life, although – as the New Yorker magazine rather cynically commented – perhaps it’s easier for Scandinavians to appreciate “the small, hygge things in life because they already have all the big ones nailed down: free university education, social security, universal health care, efficient infrastructure, paid family leave, and at least a month of vacation a year.”
Even so, it’s hard to deny that there is a simple joy to be found in the small things and in aiming for a harmonious approach to life. There’s also nothing wrong with wearing homemade woolen socks, or curling up in a quiet corner with a cup of coffee and a good book. There’s also another way of looking at this, as the POPSUGAR website observed: “Now, in times of stress and unrest, more Americans are turning to hygge as a way to find happiness from within.” Sounds entirely reasonable.
Hygge in the Home
As far as home décor is concerned, the hygge emphasis is on comfort to the absolute max, with scatter rugs on the floor and scatter cushions on the sofa to soften it, as well as that think blanket to climb under.
Paste magazine has some helpful hygge décor tips, but since the accent is on the personal, it’s really up to you. That means that transforming your home the hygge way doesn’t have to be a major task. Minimalism can be hygge, but so can clutter as well, as long as it feels cozy. Soft lights and warm colors are the key – and good books, good wine and good friends.
If you wanted to make one major purchase to make your life and home cozier, here’s one that might – and appropriately enough it’s also Scandinavian (from Norway rather than Denmark). The furniture design company called Ekornes has a range of sofas called Stressless which includes some two-seater low back loveseat that also recline. Where better to snuggle up with your loved one and that blanket?
And that’s what a hygge lifestyle is all about.